Exploring the Difference: Wired and Wireless Access Control Systems
Access control systems are important security tools for a wide range of reasons. At the most basic level, they help businesses to control who gains access to the building. More advanced network systems also record data about entry traffic which is valuable information for organizations.
Many business owners are looking to take advantage of the benefits of keyless entry. But, first, they should understand the difference is between wired and wireless access control systems. For those beginning the search for the right commercial security hardware product for their activity, this is a common question.
What Is an Access Control System?
Before diving into the features of online and offline systems, however, it’s important to understand what access control systems are. This type of electronic hardware ranges from simple proximity or keypad-controlled door locks to access card readers and advanced biometric scanners.
The goal of access control is to provide organizations with an additional layer of security by managing user permissions at entry points and entry time frames. For example, companies can block entry during non-business hours. Business facilities can also permit visitors and staff to access main entrances, while restricting access to certain areas that require special authorization. Generally, they are a great way to boost commercial security and increase accountability.
Learn more: Access Control Systems.
Wireless Access Control Systems
These types of systems feature standalone, wireless locks and proximity readers or keypads that are not wired into a centralized control panel. True offline access control systems are recommended for medium traffic levels and managing only a few doors, because programming is manual.
Online wireless systems can work for larger facilities, providing real-time access control, traffic records, and management of access permissions through a unified software platform. Wireless locks are battery operated and connected to the system via WIFI. The latest technology enables online, cloud-based access management. Further, smartphone entry replaces access cards, fobs, and security key codes by granting access permission via a mobile app.
Wireless access control systems are recommended for smaller operations. This can include single-story small businesses, residential structures, and retail shops.
- Setup & Installation Flexibility – Without a doubt, wireless installations offer a greater level of flexibility when it comes to installing and setting up the system throughout commercial structures. They install easier and faster than wired control implements.
- Inexpensive Installation – When retrofitting an office, wireless locksets and access control devices are less expensive to install. There should be no need to tear up walls or flooring in order to run wires.
- Small Range of Connectivity – Wireless access control devices have a limited range of connectivity. They can’t cover the same distance as a wired system. For this reason, a wireless system is generally not the optimal choice for a large office, educational campus, or business facility.
- Maintenance Costs – The main disadvantage of a wireless access control system is the cost of maintenance. Some clients have complained about the extended expense of battery replacement and updating hardware and proximity components over time. This can vary widely depending on the quality of the products purchased and the manufacturing brand.
Wired Access Control Systems
This type of online access control system is connected via intranet or internet for a larger connectivity range and greater security. A unified management platform connects the various locks and proximity devices for streamlined programming and management. Like the newer generation wireless systems, wired systems can still be remotely controlled, allowing users to log into the app from a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. This provides real-time information about who is entering which locations and when, who has been denied access, and more – all without ever setting foot in the building.
The main difference is the type of locks and hardware operated by the access control system. Most wired access control systems work with electric strikes and electromagnetic locks which can be connected directly to a power source.
Wired, online access control is ideal for large corporate buildings, offices, commercial facilities, and college campuses.
- Wide Range of Connectivity – Wired access control systems can be used in larger buildings that span multiple floors, multiple buildings on the same campus, and even multiple buildings in different locations. The range of operation is virtually unlimited. Thanks to the wired infrastructure, communications between remote locking mechanisms, access readers, and the management hub is reliable and uninterrupted.
- Scalability – With this type of system, it’s easy to add additional components and reconfigure the system to manage more doors. It can be upgraded to grow with the company as its needs change.
- Continual Power Supply – Wired systems don’t rely on battery power. The hard-wire electrical supply ensures 24/7 operations without needing to worry about battery life running out.
- Expensive Installation & Upgrades – This type of access control system can be installed in a new building during the construction phase or during extensive renovations without much difference. When retrofitting an office, however, wired locksets and access control devices can be more expensive to install. The cost of running cable is one main factor, both for installation and repairs.
Hybrid Electronic Access Control Systems
Now that we’ve evaluated the pros and cons of wired and wireless systems, let’s talk about what hybrid electronic access system entail. This installation utilizes a combination of both wired and wireless locks and readers to provide full, customized security coverage.
More helpful information: 10 Questions for Selecting the Right Access Control System and Key Ways to Enhance an Access Control System.
Looking for Professional Security Access Solutions?
If you are trying to select the best electronic access system, contact Great Valley Lockshop. We’ll help you explore all the options for the building’s design, your budget, and individual security needs. Our professional installation experts have the knowledge and expertise to help you keep your business secure at all times.