Technology is worthwhile only if it solves a problem or makes a solution better, faster or less costly. Wireless access-control equipment can solve problems for schools and universities.
Wireless access control is an integrated reader lock at the door and a panel interface module at the control panel, a combination that brings several benefits.
One integrated reader lock takes the place of everything needed at the door for “online” real-time access control. So only one device has to be installed. No one needs to spend hours installing an electric strike, hand-wiring up to six separate devices at the door, then wiring those back to a main control panel. Because the integrated reader lock has the electric door lock, card reader, door-position switch, power supply, request-to-exit and request-to-enter functions built in, the installer has only to remove the old lock, drill a few holes and install the new integrated reader lock. It's done in about 30 minutes. In addition to all of these functions being built into the integrated lock, there is a spread-spectrum transceiver built in as well. This eliminates the need for any wiring from the door to the main control panel. Any door-control sub-panel can now be mounted next to the main panel.
Integrators can install everything needed for access control at the door in less than an hour per door. It can be done by one technician or can be subcontracted to a locksmith. Installers no longer need to place the door-control modules near the door; they can be installed right next to the main panel.
To communicate wirelessly to the integrated reader lock, a panel interface module is needed. This panel interface module is mounted next to the door-control module and then wired to it. The main control panel, the door-control modules and the panel interface modules can be in the same equipment closet.
Wireless access equipment can be used with every brand of main control panel. Each panel interface module can control from two to 16 doors. The panel interface modules come with Weigand, mag-stripe or RS485 connections. With an RS485 connection, only four wires need to be connected to the panel interface modules. These RS485 panel interface modules can control up to 16 doors each. If the brand of control panel selected does not have an RS485 connection for wireless access, the panel interface module wires to the main panel or door-control sub-panel just as if it were a door using the Weigand or mag-stripe protocol. Only two doors can be controlled per panel interface module using the Weigand or mag-stripe approach.
In university residence halls, a system can be installed between semesters or over holiday breaks. In a recent installation at a university, each of 40 suites in a four-story residence hall was outfitted using wireless integrated reader locks. The installation manager estimated that using wireless access equipment saved the university $80,000 to $100,00. Integrators who have run the numbers usually find that there are typically total savings of 20 to 25 percent.