Door Access Control Definitions

Access Card - A card is used in conjunction with a access reader to grant or deny access. These cards are usually the same size as a credit card. Technologies can vary from encoded magnetic strips, Weigand, proximity, barium ferrite and smart cards. A photo can also be placed on the card for additional identification purposes.
Access Control - A term used to describe a method of controlling or restricting the entrance and/or exit of a premise or area. These methods can be electrical or non-electrical, depending on the type of equipment used.
Access Level - Also known as "Authority Level". An access level is either a single entrance or combination of entrance points that a user is allowed to enter or exit.
Access Point - A specific entrance point of an access control system. This can consist of a card reader, monitor switches and/or latches. Access points are wired to an access control panel.
Alarm Input - This is a security device that is tied into and monitored by the access control panel.
Alarm Mask - Electronic alarm masking suppresses the annunciation of an alarm condition that would have been reported in the "secure" mode of operation. Masking does not block the reporting ability of tamper or fault conditions that may not be seen when alarm shunting is used.
Anti-Passback - Also known as Anti-Tailgating. This feature is designed to protect against more than one person using the same access card or number. It defines each system card reader and card I.D. number as In, Out, or Other. Once a access card is granted access to a In card reader, it must be presented to a Out card reader before another In card reader access is granted. Access cards will continue to have access to all authorized Other card readers.
Bar codes - This type of access card uses a pattern of bars and spaces of varying widths to represent specific information. This same technology is used by stores for inventory control and check out counters. The bar code easy to duplicate since it is visible and is not considered to be a good choice for systems where security is a major concern.
Biometric - These are systems that measure the physical property of the user such as hand geometry, retina pattern, or voice pattern. These types of systems are very high in security but they are also the most expensive and require that the user be present in order to be enrolled into the system.
Buffer Capacity - This term refers to the amount of information the system can store, this may include user information with time of day and the specific door.
Device Address - This is the value that is set on an access control device in order to determine its unique identity.
Distributed Processing - This type of access control system stores some of the systems information in readers and/or controllers. If the main system goes down or if communication is lost, the individual readers can still operate.
Door Forced Open - This signal indicates that a door was opened without the validation or a access card or a request to exit device. In order to do this a status switch and a request-to-exit device is needed.
Door Held Open - This signal indicates that a door was open longer than allowed based upon a preset time period. The advantage of this feature is to prevent someone from using a card to gain access and then propping the door open for others to gain access also. In order to utilize this feature a status switch on the door is required.
Door Open Time - This is a preset time period that is allowed for a access door to be open after a valid entry. At the end of this time period, if the door is not closed, the access system will make a transaction of this occurrence as a "door held open" and may also sound an alarm.
Exit Button - Also known as a request to exit device or button. This is a button that must be pushed in order to release the locking mechanism on the door.
Facility Code - A numeric code programmed into a card reader and encoded on the access card/token which is unique to the one card access systems facility. In a distributed or semi-distributed intelligent card reader system, the facility code will allow access to cardholders with the proper facility code when communications are lost with the CPU.
Fail Safe - Upon a loss of power, the access points will unlock automatically and allow free access. A signal will be sent to access system of a malfunctioning device or a power loss.
Fail Secure - The opposite of "fail safe". This is a type of locking device that requires that power be applied before unlocking. Therefore during a power outage the door would remain locked. This type of locking device is generally used only for internal door, not exit door, since they they cannot be unlocked during a power outage.
Global Linking - This is when the input at one access control panel effects the output at another access control panel.
History - This is a memory of the activity of the access system which can be recalled later for reporting and logging purposes. Most access system will notify the user if the memory begins to reach full capacity in order to prevent loss of data. This information can usually be saved to diskette or printed.
Keypads - This type of device utilizes a numeric pad. The user would simply enter a set of numbers into the keypad to gain entery. This type of system is less secure than a card reader type system since it would be possible for a user to be seen entering a accessnumber. Some types of access systems require the use of a keypad in conjunction with a card reader higher security requirments.
Magnetic Stripe - This technology is commonly used in banking credit cards. It is required that the magnetic stripe on the card come in direct contact with the reader head, therefore causing wear and a shorter life span of the card. Some types of access systems are capable of utilizing a users own credit cards. This not only lowers the cost of replacing old cards, but can be more convenient for the user since they wouldn't need to carry an additional card with them. Magnetic readers are best used indoors since they are sensitive to dirt and debris that might interfere with the reader element. There is also a possibility that a magnetic card could be duplicated.
Output Relays - These are the auxiliary relays found in access control panels that control external devices.
PIN - This a the Personal Identification Number that is assigned to each user. It is either used by itself or in conjunction with an access card.

Proximity - This is one of the most secure and best types of reader technologies. No direct contact is required between the card and the reader, therefore reducing wear and tear on the access card. The card must only come within a certain proximity to the reader. Depending on the type equipment used, the reader's range can be over 30 feet (this type of long range reader capability is generally used with automated highway turnpike systems). Most installations generally require a reliable read range of about 2 inches. In this technology the reader generates a RF field which causes specially designed wires in the card to resonate, transferring the card information to the reader. These types of cards are immune to electromagnetic and RF interference, and they can offer "hands free" operation. Althought the upfront cost of these cards is higher, the long term expense of replacing cards is lower. Also this type of reader is suitable for outdoor use and it is nearly impossible to duplicate a access card.

Reader - Refers to the "front end" that a user must interact with to allow access. Readers can be keypads, card readers, proximity readers.
Remote Host - A system where the main computer that controls the system is remotely located. It allows a single computer to control multiple systems.
Shunt Time - When a door is released the status switch is automatically "shunted" for a period of time to allow the person to enter/exit. If the time is exceeded a door held open signal will occur.
Stand Alone - A system where the entire system is contained in the card reader.
Status Switch - A magnetic contact mounted on the controlled door. It is used to detect door held or door forced.
Strike- A plate mortised into or mounted on the door jamb to accept and restrain a bolt when the door is closed. In some metal installations or with a deadlock, the strike may simply be an opening cut into the jamb.
Time and Attendance - The ability to utilize the time in and time out information per user, for the purpose of keeping track of employee's hours at a facility. Many time and attendance packages work as stand-alone systems, and interface with most payroll software.
Time Schedules - Allows for Access based on time of day, date and user. Also allows for holidays, etc.
Time Zones - "Schedules" that allow cards to function or not function depending on the time of day. This is used to limit access to the facility. The schedule may include not only time but which days of the week a card is valid.
Transaction - A record created that contains pertinent information about an occurrence in the access control and monitoring system.
Wiegand - These cards are essentially magnetic field effect devices. As the card is inserted or swiped through the reader an electromagnetic field generated by the reader induces a voltage in the card causing it to transmit its code. Unlike some insertion type systems, Wiegand readers are completely sealed against weather conditions and as a result have a long live span. These cards are difficult to duplicate, highly damage resistant, and offer a high level of security, but as with proximity cards expensive, and generally can only be programmed by the manufacturer.