Matrix Vs RFID

Matrix Key Systems  Versus   RFID (swipe cards, proximity cards, fobs, etc)

Matrix largely solves the problem of rekeying locks, both expense and time, so let's have a look at some other pros and cons of electronic access control.

  • Cost - RFID costs $1000+ per door, Matrix from less than $100.
  • Technology - Yesterday's RFID can be snooped and cloned by school kids with a Jaycar catalogue. Tomorrow, today is yesterday.
  • Security - RFID is single-factor authentication. That's a huge outlay for a security level our banks limited to $100* via payWave / PayPass. It's the same thing, just a card, no PIN. (* USA is limited to $25, and €25 in most euro countries)
  • Physical security - Doors can be locked far more securely by turning physical keys, absolutely guaranteed.
  • Gimmicks - don't be sold on 'Audit Trail'. Consider multiple people entering, walk out - walk ins, card borrowing, door propping. These are all problems in both acknowledged and covert scenarios. If you want to know what time staff arrive to work; how long they have for lunch; who is currently in the building... audit trail cannot do it. Save your money, buy a bundy clock. Audit trail can be useful in after-hours situations, but this information is usaully provided by your alarm system PIN codes anyway.
  • Time zones - another RFID gimmick that involves the instruction manual every time you want to modify it. If you want to restrict staff access after-hours, then a 2nd mechanical lock will acheive this, far simpler, with far greater physical security.
  • Roll Call (aka Fire Report) - another RFID sales pitch filler that would involve badge-to-exit on every door, plus somehow overcoming all the fail scenarios of normal audit trail. A fantastic feature in theory... false advertising in real life.
  • Access rights - RFID wins this hands down. Matrix can certainly allow access rights (certain people can only access certain doors), but with RFID you can change this structure without re-issuing a different key.
  • Lost, stolen credentials - again RFID excels. With Matrix you need to re-issue keys; with RFID you just delete that card from the system with a few keystrokes.
  • Emergency exits - in a power failure, electronic locking is set to be either 'fail-safe' (unlocked) or 'fail-secure' (locked). Often the choice is dictated by fire exit laws. Matrix is fail-safe-secure, remaining completely operational during a power failure... best of both worlds.
  • Locking situations - Matrix locks are available for any locking situation. Electronically locking a gate, cupboard, screen door, sliding door, rollerdoor is possible... but you'd want deep pockets.
  • Longevity / Maintenance - Matrix keys & cylinders have a 15-year guarantee. Try finding that for any electronic product!

The overall winner is.... you decide. 


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