Five important reasons to specify OSDP

By Ross Bale on October 3, 2017

Ross Bale

Security Specialist

This article highlights five key benefits for OSDP, which should be considered when specifying a new access control system.   

Wiegand has been the de facto card reader protocol for years. The problem is that Wiegand isn’t secure and has some major technical limitations.
Traditionally, card readers and cards were manufactured by one company and the access control system was manufactured by another. This meant there wasn’t a communications method that was manufacturer independent, so the Wiegand protocol was developed.
Created in the 1980s, Wiegand has served us well. But it’s no longer suitable for those who need highly functional, secure access control systems.

Here are five benefits that OSDP offers when used instead of Wiegand

1.  Prevent Vendor Lock-In

You can use any OSDP-compatible device with an access control system.
In the past, manufacturers restricted which types of card readers would work with their system and implemented communication protocols in non-standard ways.
Now, you can choose a card reader and access control system that both support OSDP and be sure the system will work.

2.  Easier to install

With OSDP, the card reader can communicate with the access control system using a single two-pair cable, or even an IP connection. This reduces the cost and size of the cable needed to connect the card reader to the controller.
You can also connect several card readers in a multi-drop configuration, which uses one cable per card reader to connect it to the access control unit

3.  Greater functionality in OSDP

Commands sent from OSDP include audible and visual feedback, such as different coloured lights or audible beep sequences to give cardholders greater insight into what’s happening.
Traditionally, access control card readers used green and red lights – green when access was authorised and a red flashing light when it wasn’t. But the cardholder had no idea why they were denied entry.
OSDP allows a card reader to display text. This could, for example, prompt the user to do something such as enter a PIN or ask them to present a specific finger for biometric verification.

4.  Proactive monitoring and management

An OSDP-enabled access control system can check the status of card readers and report errors (such as circuit tamper or reader not connected) to monitor the system’s health.
This reduces costly out of hours call-outs and allows security teams to respond proactively.

5.  Increased security

OSDP provides extremely robust communication security because the data transmitted is encrypted using AES 128 Bit (FIPS 197 Standard) algorithms.
Data transmitted also contains a unique signature called a cyclic redundancy check to ensure data is transmitted accurately. And the access control system creates a secure tunnel between itself and the reader to protect the data being transmitted.
Whereas Wiegand systems send information unencrypted, which can easily be intercepted to allow attackers to retransmit the information a second time. Or create additional cards that can be used to gain access.

Let’s talk about the options

OSDP clearly has some significant benefits when compared to Wiegand, and we believe it’s the best choice for many projects.
Why not get in touch to discuss which protocol would be the most suitable for your next project?

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