Access Controller Comparison

The Best Door Access Controller

Access Controller Comparison
Access Controller Comparison

The brain of a door access control system is the Controller or Access Control Panel. One or more door readers connect to a controller. The access controller receives the person’s ID number from the door reader, matches the credential to the list of approved users, and then opens the electric lock.

This article compares the different types of access controllers or control panels.

The access control management software manages the list of people who can use the system. It also provides a user interface that allows entry and management of the people who are registered. Some controllers also hold the list of users provided by the management software. The software defines when, where, and who can enter a door. The management software usually resides in a Windows PC but is sometimes embedded in the controller or a Cloud server.

The Access Controller Box

The earliest access control panels or controllers controlled a set of door readers. They included electronics that maintained the list of users and provided a simple user interface that allowed entry and management of users. These controllers were not easy to install because of the large number of wires connected to each door.

access control central box concept illustration

New door access controllers are more sophisticated and are modular controllers that can be located near the doors they control. They attach to the network and include general-purpose computers that add much more functionality to the access system. Some of these controllers are powered using PoE. They support one, two, or four-door readers, and several controllers can be distributed around the organization, making installation easier.

There are several controllers available. For example, Hub-Controller is a simple network-attached controller that supports a small number of doors. The Pro-Bio Controller supports many proximity and biometric readers, while the Enterprise controller supports proximity and smartphone readers. It also supports IP camera system integration. The reader-controller systems do not require a separate controller since everything is combined into one device. These are good for small applications and are the easiest to install.

Here are the pros and cons of the different controllers.

Isonas Reader-Controller

Isonas Reader-Controller Access System
Reader-Controller Access Control System

The Isonas reader-controllers is an innovative solution that combines the reader and the controller. It makes it very easy to install. It is supported by cloud-based management software and supports proximity readers and simple smartphone credentials.


  • This is the easiest system to install
  • Supports simple mobile credentials from your smartphone
  • Uses PoE


  • It doesn’t support biometric readers
  • Requires a separate internal box for outdoor applications that require added security
  • It doesn’t support elevators and camera integration
  • It requires cloud-based management software license.

Network-Attached Hub-Controller

The built-in Access Control Management Software makes this system easy to install. There are Hub controller models that support up to four door-readers. Multiple Hub-Controllers can be connected to the network to support up to 84 doors.

Hub-Controller Access Control
Hub-Controller Access Control


  • This simple system includes built-in software that makes it easy to install.
  • The box incorporates a web interface that allows the user to enter the credentials and manage the system.
  • This access system controller includes User Enrollment & Management, Door Control & Monitoring, individual grouping, and easy setup.
  • It uses PoE for power, and it can communicate using WiFi.


  • It doesn’t include some of the advanced features such as Active directory support, elevator control, integration with IP cameras, and anti-passback.

Pro Controller

The Pro controller is a more advanced access control panel requiring TVIP-TIRsoft management software. A large number of doors can be supported by connecting multiple controllers to the network. Multiple panels can be connected to the network to support a large number of proximity or biometric readers.

Pro-Controller Access Control
Pro-Controller Access Control

Pros: This is a feature-rich panel with support for many door readers, including HID prox, HID iClass, HID Seos, Fingerprint, Face, Palm, Bluetooth, and QR Code.

  • There are similar panels that can be used to control an elevator.
  • The management software includes user enrollment & management, Door Control & Monitoring, Lockdown, Reporting, Maps, Anti-Passback, First-Card Opening, Multi-Card Opening, Card Design, and Duress PINs. The panel supports a wide range of door readers, including biometric and mobile smartphone readers.
  • The system also provides visitor management and badging software options.


  • The panel requires a separate power supply rather than PoE, but it is possible to use a PoE adapter for power.
  • It requires a TVIP-TIRsoft management software license.

Enterprise Controller

Enterprise IP Door Access Control System
Enterprise IP Door Access Control System

These small modular controllers are located at each door and connect to the network. They are tied together on the network to create an excellent enterprise solution for small to large applications. Each controller maintains a list of the users that are entered using the Enterprise Management Software.


  • The controllers are powered using PoE, making them very easy to install and expand. Each controller supports a single reader or back-to-back readers and is also available as a two-door system.
  • The small controllers make adding just one door very easy and incrementally adding other doors as required.
  • Supports advanced smartphone readers that include hand-wave to enter, tap the mobile phone to enter, and long-range entry.
  • The security person can administer the management system from any Browser-Enabled Device: Tablet, Smartphone, laptop, or PC.
  • An optional cloud-based management system provides optional control for simple applications.
  • Advanced logic functions provide complex branching action plans to meet your business needs. Over 40 customizable actions, Including HTTP requests, door overrides, SMS messaging, and emails actions
  • A flexible trigger engine allows you to trigger action plans from the door, input, output state changes, or trigger action plans upon scheduled times
  • Elevator Control allows you to control what floor people can go to
  • Active Directory support, on both the administrator levels as well as cardholder/user levels
  • Easy Video integration into many video management software systems (VMS).


Summary of Controller Comparison

The controller is the brain of the access control system. It determines if the person with a credential can enter the door. There are several versions of controllers, from reader-controllers to sophisticated multi-door control systems. It is essential to match the controller to each application.

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