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Access Control: Paxton Net2

by Benchmark

In recent years, modular access control solutions have enabled an ever wider range of applications to enjoy the benefits of the technology. By adding doors as and when needed, networked solutions have brought advanced control of people and premises to the mainstream market, and ease of installation has seen popularity in the available systems soar. However, access control also offers significant benefits with regard to integration if the right solution is selected.

For many, access control falls into one of two camps: systems for a low number with low levels of functionality or systems designed for campus-type applications which carry a higher price and an increased level of complexity. There is little in between, which often can be a frustration when trying to implement a solution.

Certain functions such as user management and reporting can be limited in entry-level products; capacity can also be restrictive and scalability limited in terms of the number of supported readers and users. If all the benefits are required, often the only option is to consider a system which is, quite frankly, overkill for the user’s needs.

Today, modular access control solutions have changed the game! With the ability to support multiple controllers, the systems can be expanded as and when needs arise. However, whether the system is being created to support a single door, a site with 10 doors or even one with thousands of doors, the features and functions are the same­.

Users can roll out solutions based upon their actual requirements and budget, and have no need to change the core system as and when expansions of extensions take place. This allows those implementing the system to work with a trusted solution across a wide range of applications.

The modular option

Net2 from Paxton is a networked access control system. This gives the advantages of central control, event reporting and flexible control over a site’s access needs. Each controller can operate independently, managing connected doors, but remains part of the overall networked solution.

The individual Net2 plus controllers connects to a central administration PC using a standard Ethernet network. This greatly increases the flexibility of installation options on sites that have LAN/WAN networks. The controllers also have a RS485 connection, and can be connected to other Net2 plus or Net2 classic control units using a dedicated CAT5 cable.

Flexibility allows one controller to act as the network interface to the LAN, and also run a wired RS485 daisychain to other units, removing the need for a converter. Power over Ethernet (PoE) can be used as the power supply.

Net2 supports up to 50,000 users. Each modular controller handles a single door, so a controller is required for each protected portal.

The Net2 controllers are used in conjunction with Paxton’s Net2Pro software. The software enables flexible configuration, allowing access to be managed via time slots, time zones and access levels. The solution can also provide various personnel management and time and attendance features, and recent partnerships mean that the system now interfaces easily with intruder alarm and video systems as well.

The software can be utilised on multiple workstations, and includes options such as ID card creation, muster management and timesheet facilities. It is also capable of advanced reporting functions.

The controllers support door open sensing, request to exit and relay outputs to interface with door locks and auxiliary devices. There are numerous status LEDs, giving an ‘at-a-glance’ understanding of the system status.

Simple implementation

The physical installation is simple. All connections can be via screw-type terminal blocks or using a supplied simple RJ45 adapter. All you need do is pull the screw terminal block off the PCB and replace it with the adapter, and an RJ45 connection can be made.

The software contains a configuration utility which allows the controllers to be set-up. Following that, the units show up as active doors, and from there on the system is relatively intuitive. There is a high level of flexibility on offer, and accessing it is straightforward.

To add credentials against users, you will need a desktop reader. You can either have a dedicated unit or use one of the actual door readers which can be temporarily assigned as a desktop unit viathe software.

The right performance

The Net2 solution offers a good level of flexibility along with ease of installation and use. That the units are modular results in enhanced flexibility which is also cost-effective.

With the server offline, the Net2 units operate as normal, and logs are refreshed when a reconnection occurs. The system has been tested by Benchmark, and was found to be reliable and accurate, and the process of managing operations was simple and intuitive.

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