The importance of building access cannot be overstated when it comes to the security of your property. Cameras are a good start, but they are better as a hindsight measure. A card access system is how you monitor who comes and goes and keep out anyone who is not permitted to be there. There are different kinds of systems that each have their pros and cons. We at Affordable Lock & Security Solutions have many services, which include various types of access systems. Allow us to tell you the solutions we have found best for Tampa.


Why Card Access Systems Are the Most Common


For a business or complex with a large number of people who need access, key cards are ideal because they are cost-effective and easy to manage access in the case of personnel changes or keycard loss. Of course, these less expensive cards are known to break frequently, which is why we recommend opting for a heavier-duty material or card wallets. 


Traditional Cards

Wiegand Cards was developed as one of the first protective key card systems introduced in the 1970s. Wiegard showed how a natural combination of metals like iron, cobalt, and vanadium could be used to transfer data via their magnetic waves. You are not likely to see these in any new buildings as they have been phased out, but you might recognize this classic key card system in any old access control system Tampa landmark that used to be under strict supervision.


A strength of the Wiegand system was that the cards were virtually unerasable or reprogrammable by magnetic fields — no need to fear those metal detectors. They are not comprised of anything delicate or breakable, which is part of why they are still used today, albeit in old buildings where they were first installed. 


The not too distant cousin to the Wiegand card is the Swipe Card. Much like a credit card, you can use the stripes to tell your access system who is coming in, out, and who they are. These stripes are not an aesthetic paint job; rather, they are polarized magnets that can hold a surprising amount of data — so much so that it dwarfs the Wiegand card. Also, unlike the Wiegand card, the data contained in the magnetic strip can be rewritten as needed.


Touchless Access Cards


The two kinds of cards that do not rely on having to be physically read by a card reader are a PROX CARD (also called an RFID for Radio Frequency Identification ) and Smart Cards. Both of these cards rely on frequencies transmitted from microchips stored in the cards. Prox cards use low frequencies, which Smart Cards use high frequencies. 


Prox cards can either be powered by a small battery or by the reader itself. The reader can power the card by continually sending out a short-range signal that wakes up the card when it is within reach. The card can then send the ID info to the reader. A considerable drawback of this method is that Prox Cards are susceptible to being duplicated or rewritten. Also, each prox card system is specific to each manufacturer. Once you start with one Prox Card system, you’re locked in. 


If you search for ‘access control system Tampa’ to find the most common and secure, it will likely recommend the Smart Card. High-frequency smart cards are RFID cards that use a technology called Near-Field Communication. These are the kinds of readers you see for contactless payment at a convenience store. The way the card works is the same as the Prox card, but smart cards are a much safer option. It is the safer option because these cards have a larger storage capacity and can, therefore, encrypt the stored data. The encryption makes it difficult to damage or duplicate. 


Contact Us

Your choice of card access systems will probably depend on both how secure your premise needs to be and how much you are willing to spend. Affordable Lock & Security Solutions has been the provider for the access control system Tampa looks to since 1970. Contact us here to find our location closest to you.