Access Test: Allegion Aptiq MT15

Access control technology is no longer about how comes in (or goes out of) a door. Indeed, if anything, the description of the solutions belies the depth of functionality that they can offer. To fully exploit many of the possibilities of a ‘single credential’ system, an increasing number of sites are moving towards smart credentials. One stumbling block, however, is having to undergo a total migration. Allegion offers a solution with its Aptiq readers.

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he benefits of access control extend well beyond door control, and this is nothing new. Because access solutions utilise a database of all authorised personnel, with status information updated in real-time, the potential for additional services is huge.

Typically, access control information has been used for time and attendance reporting, payroll, asset linking, muster reporting, etc.. Of course, with older technologies, there were limitations, in as much as the add-on benefits could only be realised if additional processing was applied to the captured data.

The move towards smart credentials changed this, allowing a user to interact with other systems, using the credential as a key to a wide variety of other applications.

For many businesses and organisations, the stumbling block to these benefits has been the need to migrate the entire business access solution to a different technology at one fell swoop. Allegion believes it offers an alternative option with its multi-technology Aptiq MT15 reader.

Specification
The MT15 is a reader from the Aptiq range of multi-technology readers. The unit can read both 125kHz and 13.56MHz credentials. It is compatible with Aptiq Mifare DESfire EV1 and Mifare Classic, along with most other manufacturers’ smart credentials and proximity offerings. The reader can also be used for NFC reading.

The readers has a standard Wiegand output; an RS485 output is available as an option. For user status feedback, the unit supports red/green LEDs and an integral buzzer.

The reader is available with a black, grey, brown or cream finish. The electronics are potted, and connection to the reader itself is via a modular flylead.

The reader allows sites to gradually migrate to smart credentials from an existing proximity base, on a department-by-department basis.

Performance
There are two main considerations with regard to the Aptiq MT15. The first is the actual installation of the reader, and the second is it reading ability with a range of credentials. As the item in question is just a reader, all functionality and performance-based configurations happen in the linked system, so there’s not much more add … aside from aesthetics.

Taking the latter point first, we’ve seen nicer readers than the Aptiq, and we’ve seen uglier ones too. If your buying decision is based on aesthetics, then you’re not going to select the Aptiq over other options.

The installation is well considered. The unit fits into a standard single gang backbox. The reader is supplied with a mounting plate and a modular cable for connections. This handles power, data, integral beeper, LED control and tamper protection. The lead simply plugs into the rear of the reader unit. The manufacturer points out that this saves the work of cabling into the reader, but the flylead still needs to be connected to the system wiring!

Once the backbox is fitted and the cable connected, the mounting plate is fitted, the modular connection to the reader is made, and the reader mounted. A secure screw is supplied to fix the casing. No driver is included, but it is a standard size.

When it comes to readers, performance is either right or wrong. If the reader works as specified, it reads the credentials, and that’s it. The main access control system makes the decisions as to whether access is granted or denied.

The Aptiq MT15 read valid credentials, and operated within the specified read ranges. It worked as expected.

Verdict
The Aptiq MT15 from Allegion does what you expect a card reader to do; read valid credentials as specified. For those seeking a gradual transition from a proximity-based access control system to one using smartcard technology, it delivers another option with regard to reader hardware.

Operation is as specified, installation is relatively simple, and it looks pretty much like many other mainstream card readers.

For these reasons, the Aptiq MT15 achieves Recommended status.

BENCHMARK
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