Have you ever run into one of those doors that needs access control, but for whatever reason it’s almost impossible to get the wires to the lock?  Maybe it’s an existing door (especially if it’s fire rated), or an opening set into stone or a fancy surround like the door on the left.  It might be a situation where the wiring would have to be run in surface-mounted conduit, or where drilling into the walls or ceiling would create too much dust or would interrupt a busy workspace.  In a health care facility, there are specific procedures that must be followed to protect the air quality for patients and staff.  An exterior gate or remote door would also be a tough access control installation if the product is hard-wired.

We recently had a project where a local conservatory of music wanted to add access control to their practice rooms, and had several of these problems, plus the additional issue of STC-rated doors with cam-lift hinges.  The cam-lift hinges would have required the use of a door cord, which is one of my least-favorite pieces of hardware because a) it’s not aesthetically-pleasing, and b) it’s prone to damage and vandalism.

So…What if you could secure more doors with less wires?

The Schlage AD-400 Series is a wireless lock that has the additional advantages of being adaptable to various styles of readers – those available now, as well as plans for the technology of the future.  Schlage is currently offering qualified facilities and access control integrators a chance to try the AD Series risk-free!  Yes, that means you may be eligible to get a free lock and try it out!! Go to Schlage.com/whatif to learn more about this opportunity, or click here for technical information about the Schlage AD Series.

I know there are lots of questions out there about wireless technology, so I have posted some answers to frequently-asked questions below.  If you have additional questions, just leave a comment (or email me if you want to remain anonymous), and I will continue to add them to this post.

Q:  What does “Open Architecture” mean in relation to an access control system?

A:  With the Schlage AD Series’ open architecture platform, it can be integrated into many different access control systems, such as Lenel, Software House, DSX, Pacom, and others.  There is also the option to communicate with wireless devices thru a wireless gateway that uses Wiegand connectivity which is commonly support on the vast majority of Electronic Access Control systems.  This means that the new hardware can easily be added to an existing access control system.

Q:  How much can I save on installation costs by using the AD-400 wireless lock?

A: This is obviously difficult to estimate without more information about a particular system, but it could easily take 1/4 of the installation time or less to install a wireless system than a hardwired system.

Q:  Why does Schlage’s wireless system use the 900 Mhz frequency?

A:  The 900 MHz band enables longer transmission ranges at lower power usage because signal propagation with longer wavelengths travels a greater distance and better penetrates building construction allowing for simplified system design, a stronger signal, and less interference.  The AD-Series operates on a different frequency from 802.11 WiFi, so it won’t burden existing IT infrastructure.

Q: Are there conditions where wireless access control is NOT recommended?

A: Generally, the AD-Series Wireless Panel Interface Module (PIM) has a range of 200 feet in most facilities, and up to 1000 feet with a clear line of sight, but there are a few applications where it can be difficult to use a wireless product.  Buildings that have metal lath in the walls (typically with plaster), or large steel structures, elevator shafts, or for exterior applications – foliage can be a challenge, but in many cases wireless products can still be used with the standard antenna or remote antenna options.  There is a test kit that can be used to verify signal strength before installation.

Q:  Our IT department is stingy with their IP addresses.  Does the AD-400 require multiple IP addresses?

A: IP addresses are not required for Schlage AD-Series locksets or PIMs.

Q: What types of credentials will the Schlage AD Series accommodate, and are there plans to address new types in the future?

A: The AD-Series can be customized with eleven (11) different credential reader options including keypad, magnetic stripe, proximity, smart card and multi-technology.  All card readers are available with keypad for multi-factor authentication, support is dependent on access control software.  Designed to be modular, readers can easily be upgraded in the future, without removing the lock from the door.

Q: What other devices are available for integration into a Schlage wireless system?

A: In addition to locks, Schlage offers gate control kits, elevator control kits, remote antennas, portable readers, repeaters, and reader interfaces.

Q:  How long do the batteries in an AD-400 lock last if I want it to respond in seconds to a remote lockdown?

A:  One of the challenges of wireless products is that frequent communication with the access control system can result in very high battery consumption.  Some products only communicate with the system a few times per day in order to save battery life, which makes it impossible to implement an emergency lockdown.  The AD-Series locks are in constant communication with the system, with the default heartbeat set for every 10 minutes.  The Wake Up On Radio feature (patent pending) allows the lock to go into lockdown mode within 10 seconds, while maintaining up to a 2-year battery life.

Do you have other questions?  Let’s get them answered!

Arched opening photo submitted by Debbie Purcell of Engineered Openings Inc.

There is also the option to communicate with wireless devices thru a wireless gateway that uses Wiegand connectivity which is commonly support on the vast majority of Electronic Access Control systems.

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