What are the main components of an Access Control System?

Electronic Access Control Systems (EAC) can be classified in different ways. Based on the connection schema, they can be divided into two main types: analogue and IP-based. Analogue EAC systems use RS485/RS232 serial communication, while IP-based systems communicate over the IP network. Below is a description of a typical. IP-based EAC system.

System Architecture

Main Components of an Access Control System

Main Components

1. Door Controller

The door controller is the brain of the EAC system. It connects the readers, door locks, I/Os, and other components of the system. It has a built-in Network Interface Card (NIC) that communicates with the server and other controller boards over the network. Door controllers can be wired or wireless. Some types of wired controllers can be powered over PoE. They are also classified as per the number of doors they control (1-door, 2-door, 4-door). In some applications, a main controller is used along with several slave controllers. The slave controllers interface the door readers and connect to the main controller.

2. Readers

Readers provide the interface between users and the access control system. The door readers confirm the credentials of the user, and trigger the controller to take action based on the credentials. There are multiple types of door readers, ranging from keypads to proximity and biometric readers.

3. Door Locks

From its name, the door lock’s main function is to control the opening and closing of the door. It is controlled by the controller; and in most cases, needs a power supply to provide it with the necessary power. The type of the door, where the locks are installed, plays the biggest role in determining the type of lock to use.

4. Access Control Server

Access control applications usually use a centralized server to manage the Access Control system. The server contains the management dashboard and the database where permissions are stored. A decentralized topology is possible where the database is stored on the main controller. Accessing the dashboard will be done over he web in this case.

The above 4 components  are the basic components of an IP-based Electronic Access Control System. Other components like power supplies, egress devices, proximity cards,  lift controllers, and I/O boards are common in many applications.

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