Access control cards or tokens come in many formats. A major difference in card types is whether the card is swiped through a reader or simply held near to the reader without actually touching the reader. When the card is held close to the reader it is known as a "proximity" system.

Traditionally cards have been “swiped” through a reader.  The card has identifying data encoded on or within it which is read by the reader during the swiping phase.  Two common methods of encoding data are by using a magnetic strip or by using embedded wires (Wiegand).  Whilst there are secure forms of encoding data onto a magnetic strip the generally available method used is very insecure and should not be used.  Contact readers, where a card is swiped, are vulnerable to vandalism and suffer mechanical wear and tear.

Cards today are generally proximity based and use radio technology so that the card and reader can communicate with each other without any physical contact.

There are a number of types of proximity card, including Mifare, HID iClass and low and high frequency standard proximity cards.  Mifare is an open European standard used, for example, by the London Underground Oyster card.

Proximity cards can have “chips” incorporated, which can hold data, and these are known as smart cards.

Leigh Visual are able to offer a range of solutions from simple single door solutions to complex integrated multi site installations. With the full range of manufactures available to us we are able to design systems to precise specifications