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Control Airport Access Without Eliminating It


By Craig Wilson


As a symbol of modernity and the Global Society, the airport stands as one of the greatest testaments


to man’s ability to capitalize on his powers of imagination and cooperation to command the world in which he lives. And while jet travel, and the gateway to the world it pro- vides, is certainly a marvel, an airport represents another marvel as well: one of controlled access. Airport properties are divided into a multitude of


restricted-access areas. Airside and landside is one basic divide, but beyond that, subdivisions permeate the facili- ty. Access status and needs vary greatly, ranging from flight crews and baggage and maintenance crews, to secu- rity staff and taxi and shuttle operators, from ticketed pas- sengers to in-terminal food service and retail employees, from delivery drivers to flight controllers ... the list goes on and on.


Compounding it all is the pressure of rigorous sched-


uling and the ever-impending “costs of delay” reality rein- forcing the need to move through the airport facility effi- ciently and securely to conduct jobs and reach destinations in a timely manner.


Controlling Access without Eliminating It For centuries, hardened doors and gates, controlled


by locks, have been used as barriers to partition access- controlled areas. And for nearly as long, access was obtained by the possession and use of a mechanical key. While effective, as facilities grew in size and complexity, these systems grew expensive to maintain as retooling was required as keys were dispersed and lost or stolen. With the arrival of code-based, electronic access control,


transmitted via keypads or short-range RFID technology, an access code created uniquely for an individual could be generat-


The RFID tag in the car’s window, and the reader on the pole outside. A quick note on how these technologies differ. Generally, lower-


energy UHF holds the advantages of lower-cost readers and the capability to work with battery-less, passive tags. The microwave bands possess longer ranges and are less susceptible to interference but generally cost more. So while the proximity card reader has become


Both effectively solve the range problem, and each has distinct advantages.


ed and activated and, if the need arose, simply deactivated. Access became more secure and more affordable to maintain, so much so that it revolutionized the door-locking world. Soon after, long-range RFID technology was developed to


extend the reach of access technology. Robust and effective, these technologies have often been employed inAVI (automatic vehicle identification) access systems to manage vehicle access to park- ing or secure perimeter facilities, and improving throughput and security. But to get long-range reach, higher energy frequencies are


required, putting these technologies into the ultra-high- frequency (UHF) and microwave ranges. Both effectively solve the range problem, and each has distinct advantages.


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ubiquitous, and AVI is ever gaining popularity, there has remained a divide between long-range and short- range access control in terms of credentials. Though based on similar technologies, they are


different enough that interchangeable credentials were never developed. This sometimes caused facili- ties to forego the benefit gain of long-range access


control because the proposition of additional or tied-to-vehicle credentials seemed cumbersome and tipped the costs of imple- mentation to outweigh the benefits. That is, until recently.


One Card,Many Kinds of Access Now, a new trend in card-based access is emerging with the


advent of multiple technology cards that allow for building and parking/vehicle access, and even purse-enabled smart cards (for access to money), to be merged into a single credential. Because UHF possesses the passive tag capability, cards are being developed combining UHF with HID Prox, MIFARE, DES-


Continued on Page 20 Parking Today www.parkingtoday.com


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