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Glossary of Access Control and Security Industry Terms

The following list provides definitions of standard terms used in the Access Control and Security industries.

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B

  • Badge Reader - A reader used to read and interpret data encoded in an identification badge. See Card Reader.
  • Badging Software - Security software that is capable of creating Photo Identification badges.
  • Bar Code - A method of encoding information using lines and blank spaces of varying size and thickness to represent alphanumeric characters.
  • Bar Code Card - An access control card with identification information encoded in Bar Code format.
  • Bar Code Reader - A reader capable of reading and interpreting cards using bar codes to encode data.
  • Barium Ferrite Card - An access control card with identification information encoded in the card via magnetic material embedded in the card.
  • Barium Ferrite Reader - A reader capable of reading and interpreting cards using barium ferrite to encode data.
  • Batch Programming - A method for processing data or performing tasks in which a number of commands are collected and then processed by a controller all at one time.
  • Battery Backup - A secondary energy source used to power devices in the event the primary energy source fails. Battery Backup typically provides power for a short period of time, allowing for immediate action, system protection, and system shutdown before the battery reaches a drained state.
  • Baud - The unit of data signal transmission speed, typically expressed in bits per second.
  • Bell Transformer - A small transformer used to reduce power line voltage to the level required by low power devices (i.e. card readers)
  • Binary Coded Decimal (BCD) - The decimal numbers 0 through 9 expressed in a 4-bit binary format.
  • Biometrics - A general term for the verification of individuals using unique biological characteristics (i.e. fingerprints, hand geometry, voice analysis, the retinal pattern in the eye).
  • Biometric Access Control - Access control where the identification process is made through biometric parameters. See Access Control, Biometrics.
  • Bit - An abbreviation for "binary digit" in the binary number system. A bit will have the value of either 0 or 1.
  • Break Before Make - A type of switch in which one set of contacts open before another set of contacts closes.
  • Bus - 1) In power systems, a solid metal or uninsulated wire connector from which a universal type of power or ground connection is made. 2) In computer or data transmission systems, the principal channel through which all major sections communicate.
  • Byte - A group of eight binary data bits.
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C

  • Card - An identification device assigned to an individual that identifies that individual. Typically, it is the size of a credit card. See Access Card, Key Tag.
  • Card Access - A type of access control system using encoded cards and card readers to identify cardholders and determine if access may be granted. See Cardholder.
  • Card Encoder - A device used to encode data onto an access card.
  • Card Reader - A device that retrieves information stored on an access card and transmits that information to a controller.
  • Cardholder - An individual who has been assigned an access control card or tag.
  • Checksum - An additional set of information transferred with a computer program or a data stream that is used to verify the accuracy of the data just transfered.
  • Chip-In-Card - See Smart Card.
  • Circle of Protection - A security plan in which the items to be protected are surrounded by two or more protective zones of increasing size. For example, a bank vault may have the heavy vault door, followed by a controlled access door into the vault area, followed by the bank building with an alarm system.
  • Circuit Breaker - A switch on an incoming power circuit that opens if abnormal circuit conditions arise (such as an overload or short circuit).
  • COM Port - A hardware device that allows a computer to communicate with external devices.
  • Conductor - A material that readily allows electricty to flow through it. Most metals are good conductors.
  • Contact - A magnetically or electrically controlled connection point that opens or closes to interrupt or allow the flow of current.
  • Contact Rating - The load rating of a switch, listed by maximum voltage and/or current accepted by the switch.
  • Control Center - A central location in a secure area where access and alarm sub-systems are supervised and security personnel are located.
  • Control Point - An exit or entry point such as a door, turnstile, or gate, where access is controlled.
  • Controller - A microprocessor based circuit board that manages access to a secure area. The controller receives information that it uses to determine through which doors and at what times cardholders are granted access to secure areas. Based on that information, the controller can lock/unlock doors, sound alarms, and communicate status to a host computer.
  • CSA - The CSA label on a product signifies that the product has met requirements set by CSA International, and that the product manufacturer is authorized to use the CSA symbol on their products.
  • Cypher Lock - A digital push-button combination lock.
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  • Gate - Typically, a door that is outdoors.
  • General Protection Fault - An operating system fault that occurs whenever a program executes a command that the operating system considers dangerous to the operating system. When a GPF is generated, the program that generated the GPF is closed and control is returned to the operating system.
  • Global Unlock - A normally-open input that, when closed, generates a signal that unlocks all doors in the access control system.
  • Ground - 1) An electrical connection with a ground potential point. 2) An electrical connection to a circuit's zero voltage reference point. See Earth Ground.
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J

  • Jumper - A plugable, movable device that allows connections to be made between points on a circuit board.
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L

  • Latching Relay - A relay that when set (either ON or OFF depending upon the relay configuration), locks into place until reset either manually or by a signal.
  • LCD - The abbreviation for Liquid Crystal Display.
  • LED - The abbreviation for Light Emitting Diode.
  • Lease Line - See Dedicated Telephone Line.
  • Line Drop - The drop in voltage along a power line caused by the resistance, reactance, and/or leakage in the line's wires.
  • Lock Relay Output - A relay on the controller that changes its state upon command by the controller, locking or unlocking a secure door.
  • Logging - Creating and storing a permanent record of events that can be reviewed, printed, and analyzed.
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  • Network - 1) A series of controllers, all connected via a communications cable. 2) A group of computers, all connected via a communications cable.
  • Normally-Closed - The state of an input device that continually keeps a circuit closed or complete until forced by an action or event to open that circuit. See Input.
  • Normally-Open - The state of an input device that continually keeps a circuit open or incomplete until forced by an action or event to close that circuit. See Input.
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O

  • Online Help - A reference program within most software programs that provides basic descriptions and instructions on how to use that software program.
  • OR Gate - A logic circuit that requires that any input must be in a high state (logic 1) to generate a high state output (logic 1).
  • Output Relay - A device that changes its state upon receiving a signal from a controller. Typically the state change prompts an action outside of the controller such as activating or inactivating a device.
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P

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Q

  • - no descriptions -
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R

  • Radio Frequency Identification - A method of reading a card using radio frequency energy to transmit information from the card to a reader. See Proximity.
  • RAM - See Random Access Memory.
  • Random Access Memory (RAM) - Randomly addressable, readable and writable memory (either volatile or nonvolatile) whose contents may be read or be altered at will.
  • Reader - A device that "receives" an identification code from a card, key tag, magnetic stripe card, bar code card, or related item.
  • Relay - A device that is capable of opening a normally-closed circuit or closing a normally-open circuit. When the relay is not energized, the normally-closed circuit is complete and the normally-open circuit is open. When the relay is energized, it switches roles, opening the normally-closed circuit and closing the normally-open circuit. This dual nature of a relay allows for two types of applications: a device may be attached to the normally-closed circuit so that the device is always on until the relay energizes to turn it off, or a device may be attached to the normally-open circuit so that the device is always off until the relay energizes to turn it on.
  • Request to Exit (RTE) - A signal that informs the controller that someone has requested to exit from a secure area.
  • REX - An acronym for Request to Exit. See Request to Exit.
  • Read Only Memory (ROM) - Nonvolatile memory whose contents are programmed into the ROM when the ROM is made, and therefore cannot be altered. ROM is typically used to store programs and fixed data sets.
  • Real Time Command - A command that is executed immediately, with no time delay.
  • RFID - See Radio Frequency Identification.
  • ROM - See Read Only Memory.
  • RS-232 - A serial communication protocol used for connecting data terminal devices. RS-232 is the most commonly used communication protocol.
  • RS-485 - A serial communication protocol used for multi-drop communication applications. It is used for higher speed and longer distance communications.
  • RTE - See Request to Exit.
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S

  • Secure Area - A designated area in which access into and out of is controlled and can be monitored.
  • Secure Door - A door in which access through is controlled and can be monitored.
  • Shielding - Providing electrical isolation for a circuit, component, or wire by enclosing or isolating the circuit, component, or wire with a metal enclosure, plate, or foil that blocks any interfering electrical field.
  • Short Circuit - An unintentional connection that provides a low resistance path between two points in a circuit or between a point in a circuit and ground. A Short Circuit can drastically affect the operation of a circuit. If excessive current flow results from the Short Circuit, a device may be damaged or ruined.
  • Shunt - 1) Deliberately shorting a portion of an electric circuit. 2) A device for shorting an electric circuit. See Short Circuit.
  • Signature Verification - A biometric identification method using a person's signature characteristics (writing speed, pen pressure, shape of loops, etc.) to identify that person.
  • Spike - A voltage peak of high amplitude and short duration. See Transients.
  • Smart Card - An identification card or access control card with a built-in integrated circuit chip. This gives the card microprocessor memory and intelligence to use for storing data. Also Known As - Chip-In-Card.
  • Suppression - The addition of a device to an electrical circuit that minimizes or prevents transients from affecting the proper operation of that circuit.
  • Switch - A device used to either connect or interrupt an electronic circuit.
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T

  • Tailgating - 1) More than one individual entering a secure area using one access card. 2) Following an authorized person into a secure area. Also Known As - Piggybacking. See Anti Passback.
  • Telephone Entry - An access control system that allows users outside a secure area to use a telephone to contact someone inside the secure area and request access.
  • Timezone - A specified period of time in which access is allowed. A variety of timezones may be defined to accommodate the access needs of a variety of people.
  • Touchpad - See Keypad.
  • Transients - Electrical surges or spikes conducted through power or data lines. Transients are typically generated as electrical devices are turned on or off. See: Suppression.
  • Transorb - An electrical suppression device. See: Suppression.
  • Turnstile - An entryway that uses a mechanical device to restrict entry to one person at a time.
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U

  • UL - The UL label on a product signifies that the product has met the Underwriters Laboratories requirements and that the product manufacturer is authorized to use the UL symbol on their products.
  • Upload - Sending information from a peripheral device to the host computer in an access control system.
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V

  • Verification - Identifying an individual based on some type of provided information. Verification may be done using by methods such as access cards, biometric information, PIN, etc.
  • Voice Recognition System - An access control system that verifies a person's identity by comparing previously stored voice recordings key words or phrases with the same key words or phrases spoken at the time access is requested.
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X

  • - no descriptions -
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Y

  • - no descriptions -
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Z

  • - no descriptions -
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