Scalable Door Access Control

One Door at a Time Access Control

Scalable Access Control
Scalable Access Control

One of the nice things about technology is that devices generally do more things and become easier to use as time goes by.  This has certainly been true with access control systems. The first door access control systems required a skilled technician to install the system. There was quite a lot of complex wiring from each door reader to the main controller box. The new IP Reader-Controllers connect to the network and are intelligent. One of the most significant advantages is the ability to install one door at a time.

This article reviews the incremental capability of these new IP access control systems.

Evolution of Access Control

The older access control systems had several door readers connected to a central controller. The wiring was more complicated than the new IP systems since individual signal and control wires were required to read the ID number, open the door lock, control the Request to Exit (REX) signals, and monitor the door open condition. These systems usually required several readers connected to the controller to be economical.

Today IP access control systems have become popular. These systems don’t use central controllers but instead, have all the electronics at the door. They use proximity or RFID credentials, Bluetooth smartphone connections, or use biometrics for the key. Access control management software makes it easy to enter and manage the credential and people database. To learn more about the history of access control, see our video, How Biometric Readers Work.

access control central box concept illustration

One Door at a Time Installation of Access Control

  The advantage of IP door access control is its ability to install one door at a time. You can start with a single door and then grow incrementally to hundreds of doors.  The installation and software allow you to install a single door and incrementally add additional doors as required. Here are the installation steps.

Select the IP Reader-Controller

There are three types of IP door readers.

  • Reader-Controllers that connect to the network
  • IP Controllers with separate readers
  • Biometric reader-controllers
IP reader-controllers
IP reader-controllers

Reader-Controllers: The Isonas reader-controllers connect directly to the network. These IP door readers are the simplest to install and are best used for small to mid-sized applications that don’t require advanced features. They use a card or keyfob, or mobile smartphone credential for entry control. Each credential has a unique number, which allows the security personnel to track who has entered the building. The readers can also include a keypad for entering a PIN code.

IP Controller with a separate reader: This system is the most flexible solution and provides additional functionality. The controller connects to the network and is powered using PoE. The IP controller is located at the door and has a connection to a slave door reader. It supports a single reader or back-to-back readers. Several types of door readers can connect to the IP controller, such as smartphone Bluetooth readers that can open a door with the swipe of your hand. To learn more, please look at the Enterprise access control system from Hartmann.

Biometric Reader-Controllers: These IP readers provide the highest security level because they use a person’s fingerprint or other biometric information to gain access. Face recognition systems have become more reliable and can even identify a person wearing a protective mask. Some of these panels include temperature measurement capability.  There are also multi-modal systems that include card credentials.

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

Select the Electric Lock

The electric lock is an essential part of your door access control system. You can select either a magnetic lock or an electric strike to secure a door. The maglock is simpler to install but requires special exit hardware that is defined by local fire ordinances. The electric lock is wired to the pigtails attached to the reader-controller.

Please read Access Control Locks FAQ – Fail-Secure or Fail-Safe, to learn more about selecting the electric lock

Electric Lock
Electric Lock

Wire the Reader-Controller

The IP door access control systems are straightforward to install. The reader-controllers are located near the door and use a network drop with PoE. You don’t have to worry about running a complex wire harness back to a controller since everything is located at the door.

The wiring diagram shows an example that uses the Isonas reader-control. The reader controller connects to your network. You can use a network switch that includes PoE or add PoE injectors.  The pigtail on the back of the reader-controller provides all the connections to the strike, REX, motion detector, door open sensor, and any other equipment required at the door.

All these IP Reader-Controllers can be installed on one door at a time. You can grow your door access control system incrementally without having to add an expensive central controller.

Access Control with Electric Strike
Access Control with Electric Strike

Read our article to learn more about How to Wire Your Door Access Control System.

Door Access Control Summary

The latest door access control systems attach directly to the network. This makes them very easy to install at one door at a time. They can be incrementally expanded by simply adding additional reader-controllers at each door.  The access control management software is designed to enable easy expansion. 


For help selecting your door access control system, contact us at 800-431-1658 in the USA, or 914-944-3425 everywhere else, or use our contact form.