Access control technologies are becoming widely utilized as costs come down with the advancement of technology. The large control boxes of the past can usually be replaced with a small inexpensive box that can be conveniently tucked away behind a wall. Today’s access control systems also make use of smartphones and internet connectivity to control and monitor entry for guests, delivery drivers, staff members, and other individuals who support a property on a daily basis.
When smart access control devices were first introduced, trenches would conventionally have to be dug to each point of access. Unfortunately, this issue introduced prohibitive cost barriers that caused many property owners to stick with highly insecure four-digit keypads.
The 5G revolution is transforming the conventional paradigms in access control by making it feasible for smart devices to connect to the internet at very little cost. Therefore, property owners should consider how the proliferation of 5G technology could help to bring about an unprecedented boost in security without the ordinary infrastructure costs.
Why Use Cellular Internet?
The smartphone boom in the early 2010s led to a surge in demand for cellular internet. Only very recently were service providers able to catch up to provide fast 4G connections to everyone who needs access. The problem, however, is that 4G service is relatively expensive. Each device usually needs its own plan, and providers usually charge over $40 per month. Although these costs may be less than the costs associated with alternatives, they remain prohibitive for many property owners.
With 5G, on the other hand, service is projected to become very inexpensive. This technology is primarily being introduced to enable a wider range of devices to connect to the internet. Consequently, once 5G has been fully rolled out, innumerable smart devices will be able to connect to the internet at minimal cost. This leap forward in availability will revolutionize almost every area of life, including gate access, premises security, and other industries that support safe communities.
Problems With Wired Internet
People often mistakenly assume that smart devices can be easily connected to the internet using conventional wiring. In reality, running wires can be very expensive. In older buildings that were not built for evolving technology, walls often have to be torn down to run new wires. Alternately, an unsightly wire has to be run on the outside of a wall directly to a smart device. No building owner wants to, for instance, run an unsightly blue ethernet cable across the exterior facade of a beautiful brick gate.
The other huge problem with wired internet is the barriers to upgrading to new technology. When technology changes, entire buildings will often need to be rewired. This issue can lead to property owners incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs whenever technology upgrades become necessary.
Mobile broadband, on the other hand, does not lead to any of the problems associated with wired connections since each device connects directly to a service provider on its own. Therefore, property owners do not have to be responsible for providing an updated physical infrastructure to support high-tech devices.
5G Performs Better Than Wi-Fi
Many people also mistakenly believe that the benefits of 5G can be obtained with an ordinary Wi-Fi router. Wi-Fi connections can indeed extend up to 100 feet from a long-range router, and these routers can be placed throughout a property. The problem is that Wi-Fi connections can be unreliable, and they are expensive to properly set up in outdoor environments.
For instance, if a golf course wanted to install smart gates at key chokepoints throughout its property, the process of setting up Wi-Fi routers for each gate would be just as arduous as setting up wired connections. Trenches would have to be dug to each gate, and power would need to be available for the routers. These Wi-Fi connections could go down for a wide variety of reasons, so the golf course would have to hire an IT professional and plan on experiencing occasional outages. Worst of all, when technology improves, the golf course would again have to replace its routers and dig trenches.
The bottom line is that setting up Wi-Fi routers is still expensive since property owners have to provide their own infrastructure. With 5G, the infrastructure is provided by the carrier. This infrastructure is seamlessly updated when technology improves, and it is kept reliable by the world-class IT teams that only leading internet service providers can afford.
Cellular Internet for Access Control Devices
The best part about mobile broadband is that devices can connect to the network of an ISP with little-to-no configuration. The smart devices that will emerge over the next decade will automatically connect to 5_G networks without any input from a user. Therefore, highly technical device configuration tasks can be completely eliminated.
The cost of 5G is projected to fall rapidly as carriers cover their upfront infrastructure costs from the enormous range of customer devices that will need these services. Consequently, access control devices will be inexpensive and easily accessible in the years ahead.
In fact, these access control technologies already exist and are perfectly feasible using existing technology. Pioneering access control companies, like Nimbio, are already transforming existing gates into smart devices by adding a simple control box that optionally utilizes a 4G or 5G internet connection.
Reduces Cost of Installation
Smart devices can connect to the internet with mobile broadband connections that use very little power. Access to the internet means smart devices can offload resource-intensive processing tasks to cloud servers. This can reduce processor power consumption to negligible levels.
Only when data is actually being sent or received do devices need to consume any power. Most smart devices need to transfer no more than a few dozen kilobytes of data to achieve a smart function, such as opening a gate or unlocking a door. If you have ever drained the battery on your phone from watching gigabytes of streaming video, you know how negligible the power consumption from transferring a few dozen kilobytes of data is.
As a result, many smart devices can be powered by a simple battery. Devices that use more power can rely on solar energy to charge a high-capacity battery. Only in rare cases would a trench need to be dug for power. Therefore, the cost of installation is dramatically lower.
Monthly Cellular Plans Are Cheap and Affordable
The costs associated with cellular plans have come down dramatically in recent years. For many smart devices, an inexpensive prepaid SIM card with one gigabyte of data can last for months. As a result, the manufacturers of some smart devices are able to cover the costs associated with data transmission on a customer’s behalf, so customers have to pay no more than a small service fee on a monthly basis. These manufacturers have the buying power to negotiate bulk discounts in ways that will lead to the emergence of subscription-free smart devices once 5G has been fully rolled out.
In the meantime, 4G connections are more reliable than terrestrial internet in many cases. Therefore, gate entry system that can open gates with a cellular connection are already able to deliver smart access technology without imposing substantial installation and infrastructure costs on property owners looking to improve security in their communities.