Re-posted with permission from Campus Safety Magazine and edited.
This is the second part on a primer of proximity, smart card, smart phone credentials, readers and long-range solutions for campus access control.
13.56 MHz Smart Cards & Readers
Contactless smart cards are becoming the new standard. At often a cost comparable to proximity card systems, smart card systems often are more secure and can be used for applications beyond access control, such as library privileges, the campus cafeteria and so on.
All the leading smart card providers conform to ISO standards. ISO 14443 cards operate from zero to four inches, while ISO 15693 cards may provide longer ranges, something comfortable for the user and assuring a positive read. It should be noted, however, that there are proprietary, non-standard-based smart card technologies that could bind you to a single-supplier dependency and potentially restrictive pricing and delivery structures. Only in certain circumstances do you want to consider them.
The next term you must look for is “MIFARE DESFire EV1.” We could go into a deep technological explanation but, suffice it to say, MIFARE DESFire EV1 has become the contactless digital RFID technology benchmark for smart cards. MIFARE is the gateway to a series of security levels. Ask your manufacturer for a quick run-through so you pick the right level of security for your facility.
There are two main types of smart cards. The clamshell contactless smartcard is an ISO14443-compliant card with a 1K-byte memory. More memory can be added. The ISO contactless smartcard is an ISO14443-compliant card with a 1K-byte memory. It, too, can be ordered with more memory. Manufactured from glossy PVC, it is appropriate for dye sublimation imaging.
Keyfobs are also available in both proximity and smartcard technologies. They are often used in place of cards, being designed to be carried on a key ring. The most durable typically include a brass reinforcing eyelet.
As with proximity cards, you will also want to assure that the readers comply with the Wiegand communication standard. Review what to look for in proximity cards again. Basically, it’s the same list: potted, different sizes, card plus keypad and so on.
Vandal-Proofing the Card Reader
Vandal-resistant and bullet-resistant contactless card readers are ideal for installations where more durability is required than with a standard reader. They are becoming big hits at schools, universities, correctional institutions, housing authorities, factories, hospitals and other locales where RFID proximity and smart card readers can take a beating.
In both types of hazard-resistant readers, protection is greatly enhanced because the electronics are sealed in weather-and tamper-resistant epoxy potting for both indoor and outdoor operations, providing an IP67 rating that assures the electronics are protected from water, steam, detergents, dust, sand, tools and other elements, which could be used to impede data collection. In addition, the vandal-resistant readers are manufactured from thick polycarbonate material and feature tamperproof screws. An anti-tamper mode is also available, providing supervision of both the reader and its cabling.
Bullet-resistant proximity card readers can provide the highest level of vandal resistance by featuring a virtually indestructible exterior. These readers are milled from a solid block of stainless steel and reinforced with a bullet-resistant insert that is compliant with UL752 performance level standards of ballistic protection.
Discuss Your Needs With a Local ISG Dealer
Before your read our conclusion of this article next week, please consider talking with your local ISG expert about ID badging and access control solutions for your school, university, healthcare or corporate campus. Your local ISG dealer offers a wide variety of cards, readers, software, printers and more to help you build your own complete campus security solution.
Come back next week for the final, Part 3!