How the Door Reader, credential and access control software work

Door access control has become a very essential part of our security structure. The door readers control the electric lock and choose who enters the building.

The access control readers use credentials which can be cards that fit in your wallet, or thick lanyard cards with holes that can be worn around your neck, or keyfobs that apply to your keyring. The latest door readers can also use your smartphone to open the door. The most secure credentials are your biometric attribute. Your face or fingerprint delivers accurate identification of you rather than the credential you carry. This article shows how door access control systems work.


The Door Reader for Door Access

The RFID door readers use credentials that have embedded circuits and an antenna. The reader broadcasts a signal that is received by the credential antenna. The broadcasted electrical signal from the door reader contains enough power to energize the circuit in the credential. When the electric circuit in the credential receives the power it sends back a signal to the access control reader that contains its identification (ID) number.

Card reader concept: How the Card Reader Works

The latest door readers are smart devices that connect to the network and are powered by using Power over Ethernet (PoE). They connect directly to the network and maintain the identification codes for all the people assigned to the system. They can work even if the organization’s network is down and the central management software is unavailable. They can operate by themselves as long as backup power is provided to the network switch that connects and powers (using PoE) all the readers.

The door reader transfers the ID number it receives to the controller portion of the door access control system. The controller compares the ID number to the list in its memory. If the ID is admissible it will unlock the door.

The door reader controls the electric lock on the door. The new readers provide the power to control the lock. They also have sensors to detect if the door is opened and Request to Exit connections to open the door using a button.


Door Reader Credentials for Door Access Control Systems

The credentials come with a unique internal number that identifies the card credential. You can select the type of RFID credential you would like.  For instance, you can have a thin card, thick card or a keyfob as your chosen format. Every credential has a unique number. There are also credentials that use different data formats and frequency between the credential and the door reader. There are Wiegand 26-bit, HID that use 125 KHz frequency, and Smart-cards that use 13.56 MHz frequency.


Hand card door reader

As there are many different formats, It is best to order your credentials from the same vendor as the door reader and to order additional credentials from the same vendor.

This will ensure that you receive the next batch of numbered credentials with unique numbers. The packages of door credentials are determined and sold based on their starting and ending ID number.


Smartphone Bluetooth Credential

The latest readers can also read a unique number delivered by your smartphone. In this respect, an app running on your phone connects to the reader using a Bluetooth connection. Most Bluetooth enabled door readers will need you to enable the app when you are near the door reader.


Biometric Readers and Credentials for Door Access

These special biometric readers are designed to read biometric information rather than a card that you carry. There are fingerprint readers, facial readers, finger vein readers, and other readers that read a characteristic of the person instead of a card that they carry. This is a much more  secure form of access control, but costs more per door.


Door Access Control Management

Modern door access systems use door access management software that runs on your Windows PC or in a cloud server. The door control management system can be controlled by means of your PC or an app on your smartphone. The registration data is held in a database in the computer and this information is broadcast over the network to all the readers on the network.


Door Access Control Management Software

The software keeps the database of all the registered users. It lets new added, deleted or edited. The software associates a person to an assigned credential. Each person is given a credential, and the ID number of the card (credential) is either entered manually or automatically by scanning the credential. Many systems let a picture of the user so that it is easy to confirm the right person has the credential. This is helpful when the system is integrated with an IP camera system. The access control management systems let you to finalize the time and day a person can enter, as well as the door they can use.


the software also lets you assign personal to manage access, and add new people to the list. In some cases, you can add additional information like the department the person is in, and other data that  may be helpful. To boost operating the system, some management systems include maps of the premises that can help you monitor alarm situations. You can also establish alerts such as doors being opened for too long, or even if an unauthorized person tries to open a door.


Access Control Systems

How does a door access control system work?

In the fields of physical security and information security, access control (AC) is the selective restriction of access to a place or other resource while access management describes the process. The act of accessing may mean consuming, entering, or using. Permission to access a resource is called authorization.

Locks and login credentials are two analogous mechanisms of access control.

The Key elements of the system are The Tag, The Reader, The Controller and The Lock.


The Tag Each user has a Tag which will be authorized on certain doors at specific times by the system administrator.

The Reader – Is on the controlled side of the door (both sides if control is in and out). The Tag is presented in the proximity of the reader and, if authorised at that time on that door, the door lock will be opened.

The Controller – This is the core of the system, it stores all the authorisation information, which it receives from a PC. When it receives a Tag ID from a reader, it  releases the door lock if that Tag is authorised at that door.

The Lock This can be any electro-mechanical locking device, fail safe or fail secure.

The access control system is an electronic system which utilizes electronic keys (the tags) to open door locks. The tag, which can be carried by the user on their key ring, is presented in the Proximity of a reader, located adjacent to a door and communicates with that reader utilizing encoded radio waves.

There is no need for any contact between the Tag and the Reader. Anytime a tag is recognized by the reader, if it is authorized on that door, a signal is transmitted to release an electrically to release the lock.Each tag has a unique number stored on an electronic chip encased in plastic. There is no power source (battery) within the tag.

The reader is essentially an antenna which is hard wired to a control unit.

The reader on the door is powered, via the control unit. It produces radio waves via its antenna.

The tag also has an antenna which gains the radio waves from the reader. When the tag is within approximately 75mm of the transmitter, the power contained within the transmitted radio waves is significant to induce a small current in the chip contained in the tag. This current powers and operates the chip which is “programmed” to send an encrypted unique ID number back to the reader.


The reader sends this unique number back to the controller, which holds a digital decoder, memory and an IC (integrated circuit). The IC controls the operation and “decides” what to do with any information that the reader sends to it.


Via the decoder the unique identification number is extracted from the signal that the tag sent.

The controller compares the ID number against stored tag numbers that the administrator has already loaded to the unit. If the number received has been stored in the unit, and has been authorised to have access to that door at that time, the IC is programmed to send an electrical signal to unlock the lock. The duration of this signal is programmed by the administrator.

The signal sent by the control unit operates the electrical door lock which releases a physical stop on a door lock allowing it to be opened by the tag owner.

Instead of using a Tag, biometric information can be used, this is sent from the biometric reader to the controller in the same way as the Tag ID. This can be fingerprint, hand print, iris recognition or face recognition.


Access control system components

  • Components of an access control system include:
  • An access control panel (also known as a controller)
  • An access-controlled entry, such as a door, turnstile, parking gate, elevator, or other physical barrier
  • A reader installed near the entry 
  • Locking hardware, such as electric door strikes and electromagnetic locks
  • A magnetic door switch for monitoring door position

Request-to-exit (RTE) devices for allowing egress. When a RTE button is pushed, or the motion detector discovers motion at the door, the door alarm is temporarily ignored while the door is opened. Exiting a door without having to electrically unlock the door is called mechanical free egress. This is an important safety feature. In cases where the lock must be electrically unlocked on exit, the request-to-exit device also unlocks the door


3 Keys to Efficient Access Control

  • Access control systems should work comprehensively.

The term “access control” implies management of entries and exits. The best access control systems, consequently, let the most comprehensive management of entries and exits.

The foundation to this is physical control: access control should allow admins to determine who can enter and exit a space, and who can’t.


Further, part of controlling access includes understanding how access is happening – are certain areas or times busier than others? Are certain users accessing areas more frequently? Are entries or exits happening at suspicious times?

Efficient access control systems should generate the data behind access. That way, administrators can not only physically dictate who can enter and exit – they can also detect how entries and exits are happening, allowing them to recognize any suspicious activity and maintain security.

  • Access control systems should work easily.

Comprehensive access control is important. It assists effective security. But if access control systems are difficult to manage, administrators will struggle to use them correctly, and building security will suffer.

That’s why access control systems should work easily. 

  • Access control systems should work with other systems.

Conclusively, access control systems should also be easy to integrate. The most effective systems work well with other systems. For instance, an access control solution that easily integrates with a video surveillance solution can help admins to view entries and exits in real-time and with customizable alerts tied in, can speed up reactions to any security issues that may happen. This is something ProLux also offer.

An access control system that integrates with an alarm system could go a long way in stopping theft.

An access control system integrated with HVAC systems could help to increase efficiency in energy usage by ensuring that buildings aren’t unnecessarily climate-controlled when there’s nobody in them.

If access control systems can integrate with other systems, the possibilities of usefulness are nearly limitless.


Pin Pad/keypad door entry systems, can they be hacked?

Smart and easy-access locks are boosting in popularity, totally transforming home and office security. There are a number of new electronic and keyless door locks available for a property, but as they are still new systems, people stay uncertain over whether they are more secure than their traditional counterparts.

Do key entry door systems make your property secure?

Digital or smart locks are marmite-level divisive in the security community. Some love them, some hate them, and both sides are pretty much right. Good-quality, professionally-fitted keyless entry door locks are safe, but will they make your property safer than the locks you already have? High quality locks are essential to securing your property, and anything inside it, but whether a smart lock is right for you, is dependent on the property and your user needs.

There  are a wide range of door entry systems that will make your property safe and secure. It’s important to remember that the main flaw in a properties security system isn’t the lock, but the user. Most burglars are opportunists, and will usually enter your home through an unlocked door or by forcing open an entry point, this could be your door or your window. In spite of the fact that good quality locks can be a critical security measure, this is only the case if you actually use good quality locks. 

Can Keypad Locks Be Hacked?

Are you tired of lugging around your keys? What about worrying about losing your keys? Currently, keypad locks give a magnificent solution to all of those inconveniences.

Keypad locks will deliver keyless entry to your home. “That sounds great,” you might say, meanwhile, one question remains, how safe are they?

Can keypad locks be hacked? Keypad locks can be hacked if the wireless network they are working over has not been set up and secured correctly. Keypad locks that do not use any wireless signals cannot be hacked but are generally not a lot safer than standard locks as an experienced locksmith can pick them.

How to Prevent Your Keypad Lock from Being Hacked

Everything may be hackable to a certain extent. Much like how any lock is pickable if the thief has the experience, the right tools, and, most notably, enough time.

Nevertheless, there are some things that we can do to increase the security and decrease the odds of a keypad lock being hacked.

Setup a Separate LAN Network

Make a separate wireless network that will be used only for your smart home security devices. That way, you will decrease the collateral damage.

Regularly Change Your Passcode

Do not forget to update the passcode of your keypad lock repeatedly. That way, you can reduce the wear and tear to only a few of the numbered keys. 

Use Difficult to Guess Passwords

Always use a long, random password. The password should not follow any particular patterns or have any words. The best passwords are longer ones (more than six characters) with varying combinations of digits, lowercase and uppercase letters, and symbols.

Secure Your Wireless Network

Often homeowners do not recognize how vulnerable to hackers their wireless networks are.

Start by changing the SSID broadcasting and default SSID of your wireless network and make sure the wireless network is encrypted by a hard to hack network encryption like the WPA2-PSK.

Keep the App Firmware up to Date

If your keypad is net-connected and you can also use an app to control it, make sure it is kept up to date every time. Smart home security devices and the subsequent apps are not perfect.

Setup a Second Layer of Security

It is recommended never to rely simply on one layer of security. Make sure you have a second layer of security. This will involve security cameras, door and window sensors, and motion sensors.

How to know if a smart entry system is for you

Although keyless door entry systems are easy to operate, if you are forgetful, or don’t like these sorts of modern technologies, smart locks may not be for you; while a smart key doesn’t need to fit the lock, a smart lock still needs to fit the user. These security systems are highly beneficial to apartment blocks; debate rages within the security community around whether audio or video entry systems make for the best entry systems for flats, over a conventional lock and key. 

Keyless door locks are also useful for workspaces and large properties, where workers may be based a long walk away from the front door. For instance, door entry systems with facial recognition let you control who enters the building without the inconvenience of walking to the front door.

Here are the pros and cons to consider before you choose to go with a keyless entry door lock for your home or business:

Advantages of using keyless door entry systems

  • They’re keyless. This is, certainly an obvious one but keys can be easily lost, which is both a nuisance to the holder and a potential security issue as well.
  • Keyless door locks provide easy access for authorized personnel. If anyone without a passcode requires access to your property immediately, they can contact you to receive the code.
  • You will know exactly who has and who hasn’t entered your property.
  • They can be easier for people with certain disabilities who may struggle with keys
  • They can be aesthetically pleasing, with a pick of different styles and colors to suit your property. Keyless locks could also make the property more attractive to potential buyers when or if you look to sell.

Disadvantages of using keyless door entry systems

If the lock gets used commonly and is left uncleaned or without being dusted. The PIN may be easier to guess as the buttons used will be obvious.

If the digital door locks are powered by electricity, it could stop working as a result of a power failure. In this respect, it’s best to find digital door entry systems with backup batteries.

It’s only safe if only trusted people know the PIN. Make sure you change it from the default code when you install the door entry system. And make sure only people you want to give access to your property know what the PIN is.

If you, or any of your team, are especially forgetful, having to remember a PIN could lead to some degree of inconvenience.

One thing is for certain, they must be fitted by someone who knows what they’re doing. There is no reason why you shouldn’t get a keyless entry door lock for your property, nevertheless you should make sure it is fitted by a professional.