Proximity cards can play a vital role in improving the security in a company. They can be used to effectively limit parking access, building access, and can even restrict which floors an individual can reach with an elevator. Simply wave the card in front of the reader, and the appropriate access is granted. However, though proximity cards can significantly bolster security without the need to hire more security personnel, they have historically been fairly expensive, until recently.
The exciting news for many organizations is that now these cards are available through several brands, because some of the original patents on this technology have expired. This enabled more competition in this sector, and drove the price of proximity cards down. These cards are known as HID Compatible or Generic Proximity Cards. But how do you ensure that proximity cards from other brands will be compatible?
How Proximity Cards Work
First, let’s take a quick look at how proximity cards work.
At the very core, a proximity card contains encoded information which can be read by a contactless card reader. Inside the card, there are several components, including an antenna and a chip that holds the card’s ID number.
The idea with this technology is for the card and the card reader to use radiofrequency to communicate with each other. The communication process will work slightly differently based on whether you’re using an active or a passive proximity card, but the basic idea is for the reader to obtain the card’s ID number, check that number against a database to see which areas the holder is authorized to access, and to then grant or deny access based on the credentials.
Passive vs. Active Cards
There are currently two types of proximity cards; active and passive.
Active cards are less likely to be used in conventional settings. They have a power source built into the card, and can send the ID number to the card reader from as far as 150 feet away.
A passive proximity card, on the other hand, has no power source and relies on the card reader for the energy source. When placed in front of a card reader, the antenna picks up radiofrequencies emitted by the reader, and uses it to power the chip, which in turns sends the ID number back to the card reader. If the ID number is authorized, then the card reader will take further steps to grant the holder physical access to a restricted area, or perform whatever function it was programmed to do.
Passive proximity cards are used more commonly, but need to be much closer to the card reader to work, because of a lack of a power source. A typical passive card needs to be 1″-15″ away from the card reader to work.
Non HID Cards
Many ID Edge clients who choose to invest in a proximity card system will often choose the non HID Prox cards like BradyPROX, Identive, UltraSecure or Allegion Xceed ID cards, especially if they are looking to save some money.
You can print images and text on these these cards by using an ID card printer, and then issuing them to employees.
To help customers save money and future expense, many proximity card manufacturers even offer full compatibility guarantees that the cards will work with your current system. This makes switching to a new manufacturer simpler, since you’re no longer taking a chance that a card won’t work with your current security technology.
Further, some manufacturers will even offer a lifetime guarantee on these products.
Choosing the Best Card
Here at ID Edge, we can help you choose the best proximity cards for your budget. We’ve been helping secure American organizations for 35 years, and can help you assess your security system needs effectively, while adhering to your budget.