There are various type of Access Control Systems including those that are accessible via a remote access application, RF card and fob key accessible systems and then there are facial recognition systems, to name a few. One of the most up and coming, efficient and popular access control systems are those that are controlled via Bluetooth technology. This article will provide a basic overview of how access control systems utilize bluetooth to deliver accessibility and protection to your premises and an explanation of the technology in play.

Access control systems with Bluetooth enable users to access a facility via their mobile devices. Bluetooth access control systems can reduce the number of keycards and key fobs a business needs to maintain and program, and they also allow employees to use their existing mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets, conveniently with minimal hassle. In addition, bluetooth enabled access control systems are more secure than those that utilize Wi-fi.

NFC and RFID Technology

Near Field Communication (NFC) technology allows users to connect their smartphone to an access control reader, enabling frictionless and keyless door access. It is becoming a standard part of security setups, and is available in many smartphone models. The technology works by allowing a user to simply tap his or her phone against an NFC reader. The phone will then authenticate the user and grant them access to the building.

Interestingly enough, every model of the iPhone since 2014 has the requisite hardware for NFC. Most Android phones also support the technology. Radio-frequency identification commonly referred to as RFID, uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. RFID and NFC work through the inductive coupling principle. A radio wave from the reader’s device induces a magnetic field within the tag. An RFID reader and tag can interact up to a few feet pr even centimeters away. NFC uses similar principles, though it has a shorter transmission range. The advantage of NFC is its ability to handle more data and more complex credentials.

Bluetooth Security and Protection

Bluetooth is generally more secure than WIFI and is based on two separate keys, one for authentication and one for encryption. Both keys are regenerated with each new session, and each transaction generates a unique random number. The Bluetooth specification outlines a basic cipher and authentication mechanism for data protection. Moreover, many vendors offer complete Bluetooth solutions, allowing the security to be implemented in hardware.

In addition to these features, Bluetooth security also protects the services that the devices offer. Bluetooth security enforces exclusivity using the security troika – authentication, authorization, and encryption. These three security components are discussed in the context of three security modes: Mode 1, Mode 2, and Mode 3. Mode 1 is the least secure mode, with no security at all, while Mode 2 imposes the security troika at the protocol layer and link manager level. Mode 3 enforces authentication and encryption at the Link Manager level.

Access Control Readers

Semi-intelligent readers make no access decisions while non-intelligent readers are the most basic type of access control reader, meaning they read user input but make no access decisions. For example, an access control system with a number pad or swipe card is a non-intelligent reader. This type of device is the most common type of access control reader.

An intelligent reader can be either an intelligent door lock or a semi-intelligent reader. The main difference is that an intelligent reader can be connected directly to the door hardware. Semi-intelligent readers, on the other hand, make no access decisions, and they must communicate with the control panel to perform their functions. They cannot function without the main controller, which usually supports 16 to 64 readers.

Basic card readers read card numbers and PIN codes, and forward these numbers to a central control panel. Semi-intelligent readers make no decisions, but they can control the hardware at the access point and the door lock. Intelligent readers are more complex, with processing power and memory.

Biometric Readers and Devices

Biometric systems are incredibly secure and are often used in combination with other security measures. These systems use unique biological characteristics to verify who a person is, making them much more secure than passwords or physical access tokens. Some systems even include built-in testing mechanisms to ensure that the biometric data is real. This helps ensure that only authorized users are granted access to certain areas or locks.

Biometric devices are typically used for high-security environments. Touchless biometric systems offer contactless entry and may include iris scans, facial recognition, or voice recognition. Some biometric readers may also incorporate temperature sensors to detect COVID-19 infections. Biometric readers also provide a high level of convenience, making it easier for employees and visitors to access a building without a key. Touchless entry also eliminates concerns about losing keys for example.

Basic biometric readers read a person’s PIN or card number, then transmit the data to an access control panel. The software will then output the ID number of the user. Typically, the data is transmitted through the Wiegand protocol, although other options are available. Some examples of such readers include the RF Tiny by RFLOGICS, ProxPoint by HID, and the P300 by Farpointe Data.

Summary

When choosing an access control system strong consideration should be given to utilizing a Bluetooth enabled system given bluetooth’s security, efficiency and convenience.

Let Academy Intercom, a leading expert in access control systems assist with all of your access control system needs from working with you hand-in-hand to figuring out the right solution to installing and providing support post-installation, Academy Intercom has you covered. Contact us @ 1 (212) 539-1000 by phone or click here to contact us via our sales inquiry form – we look forward to helping with all of your intercom system needs.

 

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