Going Wireless With the Alarm Lock NetworxPanel

The Alarm Lock Trilogy and wireless Networx comprise a comprehensive product group which offers a unique set of solutions to the access control installer. Alarm Lock introduced a viable electronic standalone decades ago, and has been constantly evolving the product to new levels of performance and features.

The latest introduction, Networx Panel, allows the locksmith to integrate a door with electric locking hardware to the wireless Networx platform and DL windows security management software suite.

The NETDK and NETPDK (with proximity card reader) are secured single-door or double-door digital keypads for use within the wireless Networx™ system. These keypads are wired to the dedicated Networx Panel control panel and provide controlled access to a door by releasing a locking device (such as a magnetic lock or electric door strike) when a proper user code or proximity credential is presented.

The Networx Panel is capable of controlling two doors using up to two of any combination NETDK or NETPDK keypads or two Wiegand devices.

In addition, the panel is equipped with two relays that can be independently assigned to either or both keypads. Thus the Networx Panel can be configured to allow a user to pass in both directions -- or in only one direction -- through a controlled door. For example, a door can be configured to allow everyone to exit, but only a select few to enter. Log entries indicate the specific keypad used.

The Networx Panel dedicated control panel contains:

  • Circuit board with onboard flash memory.
  • 12V power supply, with transformer and rechargeable back-up battery.
  • Inputs supporting two of any combination of NETDK or NETPDK keypads, PLUS up to two Wiegand devices.
  • Special "Two Door Mode" that allows two keypads and/or two Wiegand devices to separately control two doors, with one keypad is designated as the "primary" keypad controlling door number 1, and the other as the "secondary" keypad controlling door number 2.
  • Two Form-C relays.
  • Inputs for door position contact to indicate the status of the door, open or closed.
  • Inputs for a remote release button or sensor.
  • Onboard bi-directional Networx radio.
  • Wiegand interface supports Wiegand device data, red LED, green LED, and sounder.

One of Alarm Lock’s sister companies is Continental Instruments, a pioneer n enterprise grade Electronic Access Control, and the plan is to integrate Networx Panel and Continental platform. This collaboration will empower both AlarmLock and Continental with a remarkably scalable product bridging hard-wired, wireless and standalone solutions which can mount on virtually any opening.

Q & A: Alarm Lock’s Bob Swoope

Locksmith Ledger contacted AlarmLock’s Bob Swoope for the details. Following are the Ledger’s questions and Swoope’s answers.

Can you provide a brief history of Alarm Lock?

Alarm Lock Systems, Inc. is a respected leader in the design and manufacture of commercial door technologies for over four decades, specializing in access and egress solutions for healthcare, education, government, airports, corporations and mixed -use environments

Can you provide a brief history of Alarm Lock’s history in standalone access control?

Trilogy® electronic access control locks, include original standalone digital and Prox models, with built-in HID® Prox reader, and the wireless networking Trilogy Networx™ access locks, feature global lockdown in seconds and eliminate door-to-door programming and audit trail event queries by communicating wirelessly via Ethernet or 802.11.

All Trilogy products feature the same rugged dependability, tool-free keypad programming and long battery life. The cylindrical models are Grade 1 BHMA certified.

The New Alarm Lock Networx ™ Prox ID and PIN Code Keypads and NetPanel 2-Door Access Controller provide a wireless keypad solution for use with magnetic locks, strikes and electrified exit devices. All programmable Alarm Lock models share the same database, programming, scheduling and functionality and use Alarm Lock’s Free Windows-based software.

What is the roster of Networx devices?

Cylindrical, mortise, Exit Trim and keypad readers.  We are working to offer in the future Networx locks with HID iClass Readers and FIPS readers for government use.

Many locksmiths are feeling a pinch with the soft economy. What markets are showing the most action, and how would you suggest the locksmith/ security dealer could benefit from Alarm Lock's success?

Alarm Lock is doing well and growing in the double digits this year.  We're a retrofit solution and not tied to new construction, and as the need arises for access control, time and again, our advanced technology has proven ideal for applications that lack the time or budget to deploy a hardwired solution. We are a great alternative to hardwire access with a much better ROI; and both Alarm Lock locksmiths and customers profit from it. We have created sales and marketing programs for the locksmith/dealer, The Profit Center Program teaches the dealer "How to Sell", as well as how to install standalone Trilogy’s and wireless Trilogy Networx. As part of this program, we even routinely go on field sales calls, across the country, to support PC-Program Locksmiths and help them present to and “close” their end user customers.

We're constantly encouraging and empowering the Locksmith/ Dealer to be proactive in their marketplace and have created some 15+ Marketing pieces for them to use as their marketing vehicles to promote Alarm Lock in their business.  These FREE marketing pieces are themed towards an application, solution or business vertical and can be personalized by the dealer with their company contact information, etc., and they are FREE for all our customers, large and small.  The dealers can go to the Alarm Lock website and look for Tech Support, Marketing Support http://alarmlock.com/marketing_library_brochures.asp to download and use as their own sales tools, broaden their market reach and application arsenal - because Alarm Lock’s line is so wide, there’s really a Trilogy for every door! 

Many systems start as a single door, then expand as the customer learns to accept the system and recognize the ROI enhanced security management brings. What is a basic Networx deployment consist of?

That's the best part of a Trilogy system, scalability. With Networx all you need to start is a Networx Access Lock, Gateway and FREE DL Windows software, all connected to a customer's existing network. Since we're a true standalone wireless access control system, Networx does not need a panel or a wired access control system to plug into.  In fact, most locksmiths are not in that business. Networx is simply a Trilogy with a radio on board so you can remotely and wirelessly program locks without going to each door individually.  Since we use DL Windows Software, there really isn't much of a learning curve because they are already using it to program stand alone Trilogy locks…just go to our web site and download the upgraded version for free. Plus, if they’d rather, locksmiths can even do all the installing and programming of a Networx lock, just as if they were installing a basic Trilogy. They can get them up and functioning and controlling access, and let their IT Network personnel do the networking later, if they or their employer would like.

A Locksmith has options on deployment of a Networx system, to start with one lock, and as budgets increase, they can add on to the system, one or more locks at a time, up to 2,000 per system.  They could also set up the Networx system and manage it from their place of business. To do so, they’ll use the Remote Desktop feature and connect to the local on site PC thru a secured connection; they can program a customer's Networx locks, update employee codes and access privileges, change schedules, etc., and never leave their office.  This is a new revenue stream they can tap into using Networx – it is sometimes called Remote Systems Management or hosted services.  

Is Networx reliable, and what tech support and training resources are available to the 'Networx Novice'

Networx is very reliable and was introduced to the marketplace more than two years ago, after a year in-field beta testing and two years alpha testing in our labs-- so roughly five years of work have gone into field-proving this product.  And, again, the platform is Trilogy, which has been produced and field-proven since 1994. Also our parent company, Napco, has been using and developing wireless RF technology for the last 15-20 years, so we have tremendous experience in this field, too. Plus, Networx uses DL-Windows software, and Alarm Lock and Trilogy Lock dealers have been using that since 1998. So, not only is the platform backwards compatible to all Trilogy3 platform locks, it also manages Networx --so, it’s not new to those who are already familiar with Trilogy and DL Windows, it’s a breeze.

For those new to it, or just in need of a refresher course, we have a FREE full factory-training on our website at http://www.alarmlock.com/trainingvideos-list.asp. We basically videotaped a field software training seminar and divided it into 4 logical sections.  The classroom comes to your shop, and is available 24/7. We developed tests for each of the 4 segments that you can take and receive a certificate of completion. My blog is another source of Frequently Asked Questions, and locksmiths/dealers can subscribe to that Free and get FAQs and my latest top tips: http://alarmlock.typepad.com/my_weblog.

Bottom line, Alarm Lock prides itself on being a very market responsive company dedicated to customer service, we are not a huge bureaucratic behemoth like some of our competitors, and our customers know we are always here to help. I don’t do corporate-speak: I was a locksmith myself, many years ago and know exactly where my customers are coming from first hand.

Besides the two door controller, what else is new, and is there anything else forthcoming you care to divulge?

Networx is our latest addition to the Alarm Lock Trilogy family, and with the wireless keypad series, you have an extension of the Networx line for narrow stile doors, magnets, electric strikes and EL exit devices.Another way to sell the Networx wireless keypads is as a single- or two-door wireless access control system.  The only wiring is localized at the opening from the Networx control panel to the keypad, to the electric strike.  The control panel contains all of the electronic firmware, the radio communicator and power, so it's wireless from the control panel to the gateway, with an average range of 200 feet in any direction on a horizontal plane.  So, for a locksmith/dealer, not typically in the electronic access control business, they can very easily get into this business, offering access control of a door or so, using a product they are very familiar with and know is reliable, that also minimizes wiring and GUI complexity. As far as new products coming to market, we are also working on introducing both the HID iClass and FIPS Prox card solutions to the Alarm Lock line.

Are there any restrictions regarding proximity credentials used? 

We currently use an HID standard 125k reader, so we can read all 125k cards from 26 - 48 bit formats.  Multiple bit formats can be used in the same lock/system, multiple facility codes can also be used in the same lock/system

What types of readers are supported? 

With Networx, we have our own DK and PDK readers plus we can also utilize readers with a standard Weigand output as we have Weigand inputs inside the NETWORX NetPanel Control Panel.  We offer the HID Pin Prox narrow stile reader for those applications with aluminum glass doors.

What is the total number of doors in a system?

We support 2,000 locks across 50 gateways in one system.  DL Windows V4.1.96 (free software) can manage 200 of these systems.

Can doors be hardwired?

For power sure, but we specialize in standalone access, so there is no hardwire between the locks and gateway…it's all RF technology

Does Networx integrate with any Continental Instruments products or vice versa? 

Yes, we are working on that integration now and should be available soon with Continental’s next software release CardAccess v.2.8. It will provide seamless integration of Alarm Lock Networx Wireless Access Locks in an enterprise-class Continental software environment. This will provide real time event reporting of networked PIN/Prox Alarm Lock access locks included among controller, door and security activity etc. It will give the end-user the best of all worlds by offering global lockdowns initiated from the Alarm Lock lock, a card reader, and/or the Continental server. Plus the server running CardAccess® v.2.8 will house a singular robust database with standard Continental access devices and functions, as well as Alarm Lock’s Networx locks, Networx Gateways and lock users and schedules seamlessly combined.

What are applications for the NetPanel 2-door controller? 

This is our wireless keypad series in both PIN Code and PIN/Prox.  So anywhere you want to control an electronic locking device such as a magnetic lock, strike, EL Exit device, you can use the Networx Wireless keypads.  The product consists of a keypad and control panel and can be purchased in a number of configurations, as a complete pak, control panel only and keypads only.  By allowing the end user to pick and choose, they can design this as an extension to the Networx wireless system for the one door they have a magnet/strike or as a wireless access control system, for one or two doors.  Since you can have 2,000 Networx NetPanel control panels in one system, you can control 4,000 openings.

How can the wireless range be extended?

Our gateway cost is extremely low and when need to extend the range, just add another gateway.

 To read additional Locksmith Ledger articles about Alarm Lock products, visit http://tinyurl.com/trilogy0811.