Integrating Wireless Locks with Access Control

by Vanessa Ho
Feb 24, 2016

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Allegion

A recent ASIS survey indicates that 57 percent of U.S. businesses will increase their access control spending through 2016. IHS, a leading global research and information company, forecasted in 2015 that the global market for wireless locks would exceed $1 billion USD.  

As the adoption of electronic wireless locks continues to grow, more providers are integrating them into access control systems.

Wireless locks provide the same key benefits of wired systems, such as real-time monitoring, audit trails, centralized lockdown, and instant access control management, without extra wires and cable.

Wireless locks can provide diverse verticals with an electronic access solution that’s not only cost-effective, but enables more flexibility as it’s easier to implement and manage. Ideal verticals include education, healthcare, commercial and property management. In education and healthcare specifically, many facilities are older, often historic buildings with limitations on where drilling and laying wire can happen. Across all verticals, wireless locks are becoming the desired solution for covering more doors and extending current access control systems. Wireless locks are especially useful when a facility requires something non-invasive that can be easily installed.

Types of wireless locks

    • Electronic cylindrical locks: As the name suggests, a lock constructed with a cylinder that operates by means of an electric current. 
    • Electronic mortise locks: These locks require a pocket (the mortise) to be cut into a door into which the lock can be fitted. Mortise locks are dual-action, working as both a doorknob and a deadbolt.
    • Electronic exit trim locks: These locks are horizontal bars or crash bars that appear on the interior of a door that is pushed in order to exit.

Wireless Locks Communication

Before installing a wireless lock as part of an access control solution, it is recommended to do a wireless survey to determine the access point, as there are some distance limitations.

Wireless locks have three communication standards: Wi-Fi, 900 MHz and 2.4GHz. The Allegion wireless locks available from Avigilon use the 900 MHz frequency, while the ASSA ABLOY wireless locks use IEEE 802.15.4 (2.4GHz).

Allegion solutions have a communication range of up to 200 feet (61m) with obstructions, up to 1,000 feet (305m) clear line of sight, and up to 2,000 feet (609m) line of sight with high-gain antenna (hga) on PIM400.

Benefits of Wireless Lock Integration with Access Control 

    • Reduce Hardware Costs: Wireless locks eliminate the need to run wires direct to each door, which can help you extend the reach of your access control system.
    • Affordable to install and run: Wireless locks are battery operated and only “wake up” when prompted by digital credentials. Wired doors need to be permanently connected to the main power, making them expensive.
    • Electrical Savings: Wireless locks are battery operated, reducing the electrical load a building will require to support an access control system. This offers energy savings and better energy efficiency.
    • Modular Design: Wireless locks are modular and offer flexibility to customize the lock based on the needs of the end user, application, or changing security and technology requirements.
    • Increased Security: Wireless locks provide the ability to secure out-of-reach areas. Any keyed door can be turned into a monitored access solution. For securing sensitive areas such as built-in cabinets, a wireless solution eliminates the need to run wires to every cabinet. When integrated with an access control system, wireless locks can be used for area awareness or mustering. For example, if there is a fire in a building, the readers can determine who has escaped and who still remains inside. Another benefit of mustering is the ability to determine occupancy levels, or how many people are in your facility at any given time.
    • Flexible Lock Configurations:Wireless locks can be customized in a variety of ways including:
      • Reader type
      • Chassis type
      • Locking functions
      • Power options lever styles
      • Finishes (all according to the needs of the application)

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