• My Journey In Access Control Technologies

    04/26/2018 at 21:39 0 comments

    My journey in access control so far.  A summary of what I've learned after extensive Googling and interviews with experts.  

    ISO 14443 and ISO 15693 both provide standards for near field RF technology on the 13.56MHz frequency.  ISO 18092 came out of the NFC Forum.  It combines both standards in a way that maintains compatibility.  I didn’t quite follow this all the way through, so I might be missing some understanding there.

    In particular, I wanted to learn how access control companies incorporate these 13.56MHz standards.  Both standards provide a bare bones protocol for communication.  Outside of establishing a link, there are not many supported commands (ISO 15693 seems to support more in this sense).  As a result, many solutions rely on custom application protocol layers that sit on top of the standards.  In the access control space this is dominated by familiar names MiFARE and iCLASS SE.  There’s really no popular, open standard for protocol that supports mutual authentication between a card and reader.  

    ISO 7816 provides a more powerful communication protocol that can incorporate authentication.  It is commonly associated with contact credit cards.  However, the industry also uses the ISO 7816 protocol on top of the ISO 14443 protocol to support contactless payments.  It is not common to use ISO 7816 in the access control space.

    If I missed something, or there are some details that need to be tweaked, please reply.  Also, if you want to elaborate on anything, I’d be happy to learn more.