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RFID devices key to access control migration projects

Posted: 07 Mar 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:multi-standard module  Elatec  NFC  RFID  access control 

Simultaneous use of chip cards and NFC telephones is also possible. It is not yet clear whether users will embrace the idea of using their mobile phone as a key, but simply being able to offer this nifty extra shows just how open the solution is. The multi-standard modules will free system manufacturers from having to grapple with the variety and dynamics of using several different RFID standards.

TWN4 LEGIC NFC core with Ethernet interface

Suitable for access control migration scenarios: TWN4 LEGIC NFC core with Ethernet interface for wall mounting. Image source: Elatec

They enable a continuous exchange of reader devices and the step-by-step implementation of new transponders. Scenarios, in which a wide variety of cards are constantly in use are also conceivable, for example, if company share the same site or building. The incremental costs are negligible when you consider the added value of a reading device with this kind of flexibility. Even if you ignore the subject of NFC, the cheapest alternative to a TWN4 would be to integrate two reading modules into one terminal, one for the old RFID standard and one for the new standard. The price of individual modules varies according to the standard, but the cost of a TWN4 is currently no more than 30 to 40 per cent higher than what would be spent on one TWN3 modules. Furthermore, this price difference is constantly shifting in favour of the TWN4 multi-standard solution.

It is possible that the customer will have access to 'inherited' cabling as well as the conditions already mentioned. Magnet-card based solutions were often in place where RFID access solutions now exist. A reader module such as the one described above would provide a number of different interfaces. SPI and CAN will also soon be available, in addition to USB, RS232 and serial TTL, I2C. Certain older and very specialised interfaces are also still being used in the field of access control. Providers who want to establish a modern RFIS access system in their company are not only confronted with RS-485 and RS-422, but also with the Wiegand interface from the 1980s, clock/data or even Omron. Just as they did back then, these standards still have their benefits.

For example, a twisted-pair cord based on RS-422 can be 1,200 metres long and strong enough to protect against electromagnetic interference. Changing anything with the cord would not usually be necessary or even allowed. However, access control solution providers have to prepared for these traditional interfaces. Elatec has resolved this problem on a modular basis, insofar as TWN4 reader adapter boards are now available for these interfaces. The design of the access control terminals does not have to be changed, since they all have the same slim form factor. It is only necessary to add a suitable adapter board if the new RFID solution needs to be adjusted for one of the old interface standards.

Access control migration projects affect everyone entering and leaving a company. Cut-off day regulations and complete exchanges can be difficult or indeed impossible to implement when dealing with large numbers of users. Solution providers who use reading devices to adapt to every situation in a flexible manner and enable the use of a variety of transponders make it easier for their customers to modernise an access solution. The modern electronics used in RFID reading devices can provide this flexibility, so that users are no longer held back by the question of standards.

- Klaus Nagel
  EE Times Europe


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