Designing Access Control Systems

Sept. 2, 2019
Components to keep networked access control systems operating smoothly

Access control can be defined as a security technique that regulates who or what can view or use resources in a computing environment. It is a fundamental concept in security that minimizes risk to the business or organization.

There are two types of access control: physical and logical. Physical access control limits access to campuses, buildings, rooms and physical IT assets. Logical access control limits connections to computer networks, system files and data.

Security technology continues to rapidly evolve rendering some traditional categories and definitions less relevant than they once were.

We will cover the topic in two articles, but in reality, all the access control techniques are more or less joined at the hip sharing functionalities and features to work together to achieve the desired result.  Networked access control and standalone access control are not in competition.

Reasons for using access control:

Security: Ensuring the security of a site and its occupants is the primary mission, but what is meant by the word security depends on the situation;

Containment: preventing unauthorized egress.

Life Safety: ensuring safe escape and protection from hazards such as fire.

Time & Attendance: Providing reliable tracking of the entry and egress times of individuals.

Muster: The ability to determine quickly who is inside a facility. This is critical during emergencies so that first responders and other emergency services can direct their efforts to the greatest efficiacy.

Billing: Many commercial enterprises use access control to calculate charges associated with services.

Control admission/egress: Allow and preclude entry or egress based on a variety of owner selected criteria.

A networkd access control system require accessories in addition to the core keypad/reader, and this includes a vast array of products. For many situations, a self-contained solution doesn’t provide the best solution for a particular door.

Dormakaba Options

I’ve come along way since I installed my first Simplex Lock, which was arguably the first self-contained access control device. It is still on the market, and you are likely to get service calls to repair these robust and reliable security devices.

Many doors need security and a convenient means to open, but the facility manager does not want to hand out keys, or have to worry about dead batteries. I can recall situations where the Simplex actually outlasted the door it was installed on!

Fortunately for those of use to like to sell new equipment, dormkaba introduced electronic self-contained devices which had prices and features that were hard for even the old school managers to resist.

 With a streamlined design, this cost-effective, heavy duty E-Plex 7900  electronic lockset is built for performance. The most versatile E-Plex model to date, it functions in standalone or wireless modes for cylindrical, mortise, and exit trim applications. With variable models each designed to function with a host of 125kHz and 13.56MHz credential types, E-Plex 7900 can be trusted in many access control environments.

Accountability is essential to the integrity of any security system. dormakaba E-Plex® 5600 (13.56MHz) and 5700 (125kHz) access control locking systems manages and monitors multiple access points across varying levels of authority from a central location. Its detailed audit reports user activity by door and credential – validating every event at every access point. Also available in narrowstile models (3600 & 3700 series).

Based on the PowerStar Technology the PowerPlex Series generates its own power and utilizes new capacitor technology to store power longer and more efficiently. There is no handle pumping required to wake up the lock and the built-in super capacitors will hold a full charge for up to 10 weeks with no activity at the lock. The lock is perfect for small to mid-sized facilities, rarely visited remote locations, retail & Employees Only  areas and military facilities.

dormakaba’s Keyscan networked access control systems provide design flexibility and control for door, gate, office or residential floor or physical access entrance systems by prompting credential-holders to present their assigned credential when moving throughout a facility.

The CA series door controllers can be used for virtually any door where you want to regulate and monitor access. Interior or exterior doors can easily be fitted with readers, contacts, and an array of locking devices that suit your needs. 

Keyscan’s EC series elevator floor control units are designed to secure office or residential floors when using elevators.The door and elevator control units leverage the same architecture and software allowing them to be mixed and matched to suit any installation.  In many retrofit cases, the controllers utilize existing infrastructure, including credentials, to increase cross system security functionality and minimize costs.

The Keyscan product also integrate seamlessly with E-Plex and other top brand wireless or standalone electronic and keyless locks as well as a wide array of electric strikes, electromagnetic locks, exit devices and other electronic access controls.

dormakaba also offers RCI brand electromagnetic locks and electric strikes. An electromagnetic lock securely prevents a door from opening without proper access credentials. Maglocks can be paired with switches to release the lock remotely and/or credential accessories that grant access at the door. These flexible solutions can easily fit the access procedures of new or retrofit security situations. When access is granted, the electrical current connected to the lock is paused and immediately releases the lock.

The magnetic strength of dormakaba’s RCI electromagnetic locks creates a holding force of up to 1200 lbs. These features make RCI electromagnetic locks an ideal solution for low-risk security applications such as interior doors, rooms with specified access, storage closets, and staffed areas.

RCI electric strikes, when paired with access control credential accessories, grant access at the door or can release the lock remotely with switches. This creates an integrated access control solution with the advantages of credential managed entry and the convenience of remote activation. When the electric release is activated, a hinge inside the electric strike will pivot to allow the door to be opened without operating the mechanical lock or turning the door handle. After the door is opened past the strike plate, it returns to the standard position and re-locks once the door closes.

Switches are another component of a networked access control system. Switches deliver effortless operation for access control, door automation, alerts, and handicap accessibility.

There are three aspects to selecting an RCI switch for your application: function, style, and location. dormakaba’s RCI switches provide functional control with a selection of options for momentary release, maintained release, time- delay, or emergency release. The extensive style selection includes push buttons, touchless activators, illuminated buttons, mushroom buttons, stainless steel push plates, alert sounders, key compatible switches, and specialty switches. Each switch style carries various sizes and colors for nearly unlimited configuration options that can match any décor. For increased operator flexibility switches can be mounted as a remote switch and/or located at the door.

dormakaba provides a large selection of RCI specialty locks to protect cabinets, lockers, glass doors without frames, access hatches, medical storage, data racks, and other small enclosures. The wide selection of RCI low-profile locks offers easy installation with the capability for surface, side, top, front, and track mounting.

Designed for flexibility, dormakaba’s RCI specialty locks can be fit to most material applications including steel, wood, glass, and plastic. RCI specialty electric locks are available with optional supervisory monitoring or audit capability.

Power supplies are a crucial, but often unnoticed, aspect of electromechanical access control. RCI power supplies offer reliable power to convert electric current from a source to the correct voltage, current, and frequency. dormakaba offers RCI power supplies that are easy to install with field selectable voltages that filter and regulate DC output with AC fail output relay. dormakaba also carries RCI power supply options such as bridge rectifiers to change AC to DC for silent operation, day timers for scheduled access, and distribution boards for when flexible power distribution is required. These RCI power supplies have been specifically designed to support high performance and longevity in access control, alarm, CCTV, and electric locking systems. RCI power supply products are designed for reliability and safety so that these crucial access control features remain unnoticed for operators.

Note: RCI power supplies can offer a secure backup battery option for electromagnetic locks and other fail-safe access control products when power fails.

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ASSA ABLOY Accessories

ASSA ABLOY’s Aperio products enable seamless integration for extending access control to all-glass openings. 

The Adams Rite G100 wireless digital lock makes extending access control to all-glass doors easy and affordable while maintaining aesthetics. This surface-mounted digital glass door locking solution provides greater flexiblity and control for interior office space areas without the need to make costly modifications. 

The surface-mounted lock features two options for credential actuation on the secure side of the door: either by entering a user code using the touch-screen or by using a compatible high frequency credential which provides added security of dual factor authentication and fully encrypted wireless communication to the host access control system. The lock features two modes of unlock from the inside of the door: either with the accessibility lever or by using the override button.

The 7800 Electric Strike is designed for use with Adams Rite rim exit devices with a Starwheel/Interlocking latchbolt (8800 & 8700 Series, EX88). This non-handed, low-profile, surface mounted electric strike features anultra-compact design and adjustable stainless steel keepers with over 1,500 lbs [680.4 kg] of holding force in fail secure mode. Internally mounted dual solenoid operates on 12 or 24 VDC power. Provides electrical remote control, allowing door to open without actuation of the exit device.

The EX88 Interlocking Rim Exit Device is designed for narrow stile aluminum applications that require a life-safety exit device. The EX88 features a unique bolt design that interlocks the door to the frame for enhanced strength and durability.

When the door closes, the bolt guard and interlocking bolt close around the strike. The deadlocking slide springs over, which interlocks the bolt to the strike. When the active pushbar is depressed, the deadlocking slide moves back, which allows the door to open by unlocking from the strike. This unique interlocking bolt design provides unique strength and solid security, and prevents jamb spreading. Exit device capable of opening under 20 lbs preload.

An interesting feature is noise reduction. Impact bumpers reduce noise from the initial device activation. Return control dampens the sound and control the device returning to its resting state. Horizontal and vertical guides decrease the scraping sound of the active push bar on the static back bar.

The EX76 CVR Exit Device is designed for narrow stile aluminum applications that require a life-safety exit device with concealed vertical rods for two-point locking. The EX76 design features easily adjustable concealed rods and latching assembly designed for easy installation, maintenance, and adjustment.

When the door closes, the latching assemblies extend into the header and threshold, locking the door at two points. When the active pushbar is depressed, both the top and bottom latching assemblies are retracted, allowing the door to open.

The HES 9600 Series is a windstorm rated, surface mounted electric strike designed to accommodate rim exit devices with a 3/4" throw latch. All components are completely encased within its 3/4" thick stainless steel housing, so no cutting on the frame is required for installation. Simply place the electric strike on the surface of the frame, align it with the exit latchbolt and install. It is field selectable for fail secure and fail safe operation, and for 12 or 24VDC.

The Securitron AQD1 Series of switching power supplies are dual voltage, UL listed, supervised units. These units are field selectable with an integrated battery charger. They provide 1 Amp at 12VDC or 24VDC continuous, with up to 16 independently controlled power limited outputs.

Product Features

  • All combinations of AQ power supplies and distribution boards are UL listed
  • Dual voltage 12 or 24 VDC field selectable continuous output
  • Up to 82% efficiency which results in decreased operating costs and lengthens the lifespan of electronics
  • Tolerates brownout or overvoltage input ± 15% of nominal voltage
  • Thermal shutdown protection with auto restart
  • Circuit breaker protects against overcurrent and reverse battery faults
  • Integrated battery charging circuit prevents overvoltage on locking devices
  • Available with a single relay fire trigger or individually triggered relayed outputs

With integrated features such as built-in smart voltage sensing, tamper sensor and an updated strike plate mounting template, the Securitron M380E joins the Securitron M680E in the family of sustainable magnalocks.

The Securitron M380EBD and M380EBDX models offer additional integrations, such as Securitron’s patented BondSTAT lock sensor, Door Position Switch, built-in door prop sensing (which allows the magnet to de-energize the coil when the door is held open for extended periods), and a passive infrared request to exit (PIR REX).

The HES K20 Series Cabinet Locks are a cost effective solution for stand-alone RFID access control to secure drawers or doors.The battery operated K20 is the flexible, low cost cabinet locking solution for low to medium security applications with 150 lbs of holding force.

Also from ASSA ABLOY ESH, The Securitron R100 surface mounted wireless card reader offers a cost effective, aesthetically pleasing way to extend access control to glass, metal or stone surfaces without the need for cutting or drilling.

A retrofit solution capable of being installed in minutes that compliments virtually any ASSA ABLOY electrified locking device.  Provides flexible, robust retrofit options for entryways unlike any the industry has seen before.

Note: The Securitron R100 card reader is available as either a pre-paired reader and hub kit (no certification required) or as a field configurable component (requires Aperio® Certified Integrator certification). Pre-paired kits support limited features, field configured devices are required in order to support all options.  Visit to learn more.

Security Door Controls

It’s one thing to design and manufacture Locking Devices for door access and egress control, it’s another thing to tie them all together with Physical Access Control components and systems to both protect people and assets while ensuring code compliance. Security Door Controls’ digital and card access control systems are engineered to provide real-world door control of a single opening up to 100 doors, from indoor and stand-alone applications, to outdoor and PC-based systems.

The SDC EntryCheck™ Series includes indoor and outdoor standalone digital keypads designed to control access of a single entry point for facilities with up to 500 users. The SDC EntryCheck™ IPRW Wiegand proximity reader is a sleek, sophisticated reader that will interface with most access control systems. It combines a 125KHz HID-compatible proximity reader and standard 26-bit Wiegand output with compact design for surface or mullion mounting. An IP67 rated housing makes the IPRW suitable for use in indoor or outdoor environments. When paired with SDC's IP Pro® Single Door Controller, compatibility is guaranteed.

DC’s IP Pro™ IP-based Single Door Access Controllers – now available with Free PLUS PC Client Software - allow expansion from one Standalone door up to a 100-door “Grid.” Configure and manage every door from a single interface that grows with you and eliminates the headaches of costlier, more complicated enterprise solutions. Every IP Pro™ Controller comes with secure, built-in software to manage up to 32 doors from any standard web browser to allow for real-time monitoring, user management and audit trail up to 5,000 events.

The Security Door Controls 295 Battery Powered Keyless Cabinet Lock provides an easy, economical solution for security and keyless access control for a wide variety of cabinet doors, drawers, storage lockers and more. Quickly and easily add/delete up to 30 individual user PIN codes with programmable keypad. Powered by 2 x AAA batteries, the need for low voltage wiring is eliminated.

SDC’s line of Door Control Relay Modules ensure compatibility of access hardware components and simplify system installation and troubleshooting. Different modules may be specified for one power supply. The isolated relay design allows small gauge cable runs of 22 gauge wire up to 500 feet from the trigger device to the module.

All SDC power supplies are equipped with a high performance transformer and highly reliable electronic components. Filtering and output voltage regulation provide protection and ensure the longevity of all system components. With the addition of SDC programmable controllers or relay modules, the user-friendly modular designs ensure versatility, interface capability and easy installation of electric locking devices, access controls and related safety equipment.

MLR Mortise Locksets are designed for the access control of openings in commercial, industrial and institutional facilities where code compliance, dependable operation and resistance to physical abuse is required.

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The KL1100 is the latest addition to the KitLock by Codelocks range of locker locks. The lock has two functions: private function allows repeated use with the same card client, public function is suitable for short term use by different users, supporting up to 50 card clients. Program individual or multiple locks using the Codelocks Cloud Portal, alternatively program locally using our plug-in programmer. The slimline front plate and integrated handle adds a touch of style giving any locker or environment a contemporary feel. Easy to install, program and operate with the full support and advice from the Codelocks team.

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About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.