Door Access Control – Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

Door Access Questions and Answers

Door access control questions

Door access control systems provide security for business, school, government organizations. Access control has become more important as the need for improved safety has increased.

How does door access control work, what is the most secure access control system, and why do I need door access control management software are some of the questions and answers provided.

The following list of frequently asked questions is provided to help you learn more about the technology.

Click on the questions to see the answer.

How does door access control work?

Are smart IP Door Readers better than door readers that use control boxes?

What is the most secure door access system?

Do you need to add an identification number to each new credential?

Why do I need door access management software?

Can fire alarm systems be integrated into a door access system?

Should you use on-premises or cloud-based access control software?

Can you control an elevator with door access control?

What are biometric door readers?

How do I install an IP Door Access System?

Can I use my smartphone for door access?

Answers to Your Questions about Door Access Control

How does door access work?

access control gear illustration

Door access systems consist of door readers, a control unit, and door access control software. Some door access systems have the control unit function built into the reader. This simplifies the wiring and makes installation much easier.

Door readers can use PINs, proximity RFID cards, or biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition. Some of the door readers can also use Bluetooth connection from a smartphone. All these things are called “credentials,” and they are used by the door reader to identify the person who would like to open the door.

Door access control software is used to manage the door access control system. It helps you enter all the people who will be using the system and the credential they will use. It also controls where, when and who can enter certain doors.

For more information, take a look at our article, How Door Access Control Works.

Are smart IP Door Readers better than door readers that use control boxes?

The smart IP door readers provide significant advantages over the older dumb door readers and central control box. The most obvious advantage is the simplicity of installation. The IP door readers connect to your network infrastructure so they require less wiring. These readers are powered by Power over Ethernet (PoE), so you usually don’t have to run separate power to each door.

The simple door readers connect to a centralized control box using a multi-wire Wiegand cable connection while the IP door readers use a standard network cable.  The readers and control box access control systems are less expensive, but since they require special installation, they can be more expensive to install. The IP door readers are easier to install, and In many cases, they can be self-installed. For more detail about what is the better access control system is, take a look at our article, “How to Install an IP Door Access Control System.”

What is the most secure door access system?

Access control covers a range of door control readers. There are readers that use a PIN to gain entry. The next level uses a credential such as a card. The most secure level uses biometrics such as facial recognition or fingerprints.

The door readers that use PIN system can be used on a single door, but they are not very secure. What happens if the PIN gets out? Or if one of the people leaves your organization. You will constantly have to change the PIN to keep the door secure.

The most popular door readers use credentials. Using a card is more secure, but what happens if someone loses the card or gives it to someone else.

Biometric readers capture the physiological characteristics of a person and make them the most secure form of door access control.

To learn more about security provided look at our article, Comparison of Security Provided by Door Access Systems.

Do you need to enter an identification number to each new credential?

No, all forms of credentials such as lanyard type cards (thick cards or clamshell type), thin cards (that can go in the wallet), and keyfobs come with identification numbers already embedded. There is no need to add ID numbers to the credentials. A person is registered into the door access control system by entering the number of the credential along with the person’s information. The credential can be swiped using a reader at the computer, or manually entered. The additional information can include the person name, contact information, picture, and whatever else is important for reference.

To learn more about door access control credentials and how they work, take a look at our article, How Door Access Control Works.

Why do I need door access management software?

In most cases, door access management software is required. There are some simple door access systems that allow you to enter the credential and user information into the reader, but these are minimal systems.

Door access control software makes it easy to manage many door readers. The software provides a central management system that allows you to enter all the members of your organization. With the access control software, you can enter new members, delete and edit all the information. 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. The software also keeps a record of who has entered, a specific door, at a specific time.

Some door access control systems include the option for cloud management while others are on-site or on-premises software. See the discussion below about the difference between cloud subscription and on-site licensing.

For more about door access software look at our article, Advanced Door Access Control.

Can fire alarm systems be integrated into a door access system?

Yes, there are a number of ways to integrate fire alarm systems into access control systems.

Integrated door access and Fire Alarms

The simplest system uses a relay controlled by the fire alarm control system. The relay drops power to the electric door lock and allows people to exit.

There is also a system that uses the network to control power to the electric lock. This simplifies the wiring since it uses the existing network infrastructure.

The third method uses a controlled power supply that is turned off by using a signal from the fire control box. A fourth method uses a smart door reader that can provide a signal to all the other door readers. A wire from the fire control is connected to one of the input connections of a door reader. The door access control software is used to communicate with all the other door readers so an enterprise control can occur. This only works if the door reader has this intelligence. For more details about how to connect fire control systems to door access systems take a look at our article,  Access Control and Fire Alarm System Integration.

Should you use on-premises or cloud-based access control software?

door access cloud control management

It depends on your requirements. If you would like to be able to manage your door access from anywhere including a mobile app, then the cloud solution is a good choice. The cloud access control management service is only available from Isonas. The Kintronics door access management solution is an on-site license solution, but it does include a mobile app that can be used to remotely manage the door access system. An on-premises door access management solution is better if you are concerned about sending your personal information off-site. 

The on-site license is a one-time license, but there can be optional support fees. The cloud management service is a subscription that you pay for each month, or yearly. This is a continuous cost that covers usage and upgrades.

The total cost for cloud versus on-site solutions depends on the number of doors and the manufacturer of the door access system. For example, the on-site license from Isonas costs less when you have many doors. The biometric access control management software from Kintronics is only available as an on-site solution.

For a more complete discussion of cloud versus on-site licenses, take a look at our article, Access Control Software.

Can you control an elevator with door access control?

Yes, but you do need some specialized equipment. The elevator control system consists of a door access reader and a special control box that contains a set of relays. The relays are used to control the buttons that can be pressed. The elevator control box integrates with the buttons inside the elevator and the electronics in the elevator machine room. The reader in the elevator determines what floors the person can reach. The reader can be a simple RFID type reader or a biometric reader.  When a floor button is pressed in the elevator, the signal goes through the elevator control panel, and then to the elevator system that moves the elevator.

For more details about elevator control take a look at our article, Elevator Control Using Door Access Control.

What are biometric door readers?

Biometric door access control readers use fingerprints, facial recognition or some other biometric that can identify a person. These readers are more secure than a reader that uses a card credential because they identify the person rather than the item that they carry. Those physiological characteristics can include biometrics such as fingerprints, finger veins, palms, retinas, irises, faces, and voice.  A person’s biometric attributes are registered and collected in a templet database, so they can be used for comparison when the person tries to enter the door.

The systems can be compared based on the speed of verification, and most importantly, their accuracy.  For more information about Biometric door access control, take a look at our article Fingerprint and Facial Recognition Access Control.

How do I install an IP Door Access System?

IP Door Readers installation

IP Door Access Control Systems are easy to install and provide excellent flexibility. There are RFID proximity IP readers and biometric door readers such as a fingerprint or facial recognition readers, that connect to the network. In many cases, you can use PoE to power the reader and the electric lock.

An IP door access control reader is different from the older Wiegand door readers. Instead of connecting to a control panel, the door reader attaches to the network. All the intelligence is inside the reader. It maintains the rules and holds the database of users who can access the door. This means that even if the network is down, the reader will still operate (if it has power). The door access software is used to manage and edit the information that’s stored in the readers. It only communicates with the readers when there is a change in the information.

For more details about installation, take a look at our article, How to Install IP Door Readers.

Can I use my smartphone for door access control?

There are some door access control systems that use the Bluetooth connection to your smartphone for the credential. Isonas is one of the door access control companies that include a built-in Bluetooth capability. The door reader can connect to an app running in your IOS or Android smartphone. In most cases, you enable the app when you are near the door, and by holding close to the door it will be identified by the door reader.

For more details about using your smartphone, take a look at our article, Smartphone Door Access Using Bluetooth Reader.

If you have more questions, please contact us at 800-431-1658 in the USA, or at 914-944-3425 anywhere else, or by using our contact form.