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Access Control - Card Entry Systems

Card entry systems allow access control to be taken into many levels. Whereas with a keypad you are controlling a group of people with a single keypad code, card entry allows you to control the individual as each person that wants to gain entry to a door needs their own card to do so.

As with keypads, card access systems can be supplied stand alone or with a separate control unit but the added advantage that it is becoming more popular is to link a card access system to a PC. In this way, card readers can be installed on multiple doors and large amounts of people can be controlled from a single point.

There are 2 common forms of card access, magnetic swipe cards and proximity cards.

Where magnetic swipe cards are used, the user carries a card (similar to a credit card) and swipes the card through the reader to gain access through a door.

Where a proximity card is used, the user presents their card to the reader and a radio signal from the reader reads the card. This is becalming more popular and is seen as being more practical than a magnetic card as because their is no contact between the card and reader both the card and the reader tend to have a longer life than that of their magnetic counterparts. Also, it is possible to offer proximity cards in keyfob format making them small, easy to carry and less likely to be lost.

Please take a look at the features of a card access system listed below -

Magnetic swipe readers work on the principle that a card is swiped through the reader to gain access through a door. These card systems can cope with in excess of 10,000 users and are robust and suitable for internal and external use.

Card readers can be dedicated to a single door or multiple readers can be located around a building. All doors can be stand alone and programmed at the door or they can be linked back to a PC for ease of administration.

Magnetic cards can be supplied in plain printed credit card size cards or they can be custom printed to include a company logo, card holder photo and card holder information.


Proximity readers work on the principle that a card is held in the proximity of the reader (thus the name) and a radio signal within the reader picks up the coding on the card and lets the user through the door.

Because the reader and the card do not come into contact, they are seen as long lasting. Add to this that the reader can also read through most building materials except metal and you have a reader that can be sunk into a wall, behind a plastic sign or on the inside of a glass door. These properties make proximity the most popular reading format in the market today. These readers can become truly vandal resistant.

The other use for this type of reader is its reading range. Proximity readers can be supplied with read ranges in excess of 1.5 Mtrs. This is useful in an office environment where employees are carrying lots of equipment and cannot physically swipe a card and also where a car park barrier is in use and the driver does not have to wind the window down to open the barrier.

PC based access control systems offer great flexibility in what you can achieve in an access control system. As there are so many features on offer, we have built a separate page acting as a glossary for anyone interested in what can be achieve, please click on the image to the left to access this page.

SLS Contracts, Concept House, Larchfield Road, Leeds, LS10 1QP

Phone - 0113 271 5665 Fax - 0113 271 5664 Email - enquiries@slsservices.co.uk