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Migrating to Smart Cards

At some point, many facilities with physical access control systems are faced with making a decision to upgrade their existing card and reader system. Adding new applications, implementing a single card solution, increasing system security and re-badging aging card populations represent just some of the factors influencing migration decisions.

Customers have a variety of flexible migration solutions. From combining multiple technologies on a single card to readers that accept diverse card populations in a single footprint, IDentiphoto is a one-stop shop for navigating card and reader upgrades.

What is Prox?

  • "Prox" is a term used predominately in the United States to describe an RFID technology used in the Access Control Market
    • Requires no physical contact between a card and reader
    • Operates at 125 kHz
    • Typical operating distance from 4 to 6"
    • Packaged in cards or key fobs
    • Read-only
    • Data content typically from 26 to 40 bits
    • Generally very low security of data
    • No ISO standards exist
    • More than 250 million Prox cards have been sold


What is Contactless Smart Card Technology

  • Contactless Smart Cards
    • Requires no physical contact between a card and reader
    • Operates at 13.56 MHz
    • Typical operating distance from 2" to 6"
    • Maximum operating distance of 39"
    • Packaged in cards, key fobs, stickers, labels, and more
    • Data content from 256 bits to 4k bytes and more
    • Memory can be segmented for multi-application use
    • Very high security
    • Supports true read/write on the fly
    • ISO Standardized (ISO 14443A/B & 15693)


What is a Multi-Technology Card?

  • Choices include:
    • Contact Smart Card
    • 13.56 MHz Contactless Smart Card
      • PicoPass™, Mifare™, iClass™, MyD™, etc.
    • 125 kHz Prox
      • HID, Indala, AWID, EM, etc.
    • Magnetic Stripe
    • Debit Stripe
    • Bar Code
    • Optical Stripe
    • Barium Ferrite (Magnetic Technology)


Why Migrate to Contactless Smart Cards?

  • Added Benefits With No Increase in Price
  • Increased Security
  • Ability to use same card for additional applications:
    • Biometrics: Carry multiple templates on card
    • Logical Access
    • ID: Carry Tamperproof Digital Photographs
    • Portable Database: Encrypted Information for authentication or emergencies
    • True Read/Write
    • ISO Standard
    • Greater Memory Density
  • Interoperability
  • Future Growth
    • Multi-Application Capability
  • Faster Transaction Speed
  • Lower Card Production Costs
  • Multi-Application Support
    • 64 bit serial number
    • 32 applications each with individual secret keys
    • Each application "slot" has up to 232 usable bytes
    • Can combine multiple apps to increase memory

Multi Application example using PicoPass 32KS

Application Data Blocks
0 Access Control
1-4 Logical Access
5 Time & Attendance
6 Vending
7-14 Finger Print
(2 fingers)
15-16 IRIS Scan
17-27 Digitally Signed Photographs
28-30 Environmental & Building Mgmt
31 Burglar Alarm
Arm/Disarm
  • Multi-Application Support
    • Smart cards allow multiple applications - each protected with its own keys
    • Vendor should disclose keys for unused applications, i.e., open key strategy
    • Open Key Strategy advantages:
      • Other application slots free for use
      • Increases value of access control card
      • Allows one card to be used for many applications at the same time
      • Eliminates obsolesce
      • You're in control, switch access control vendors without reissuing cards
  • International Standardization
    • Current 125 KHz Prox Technology
      • No ISO existing or planned standardization
      • Proprietary
        • HID, Motorola, AWID, Casi-Rusco, etc.
    • New 13.56 MHz Contactless Smart Cards
      • Standards DO exist
        • ISO 14443A, 14443B, 15693
      • Open standards with interoperability encourages broad supplier support and customer acceptance
      • Open standards can increase market size driving prices down
      • Facilitates interoperability between vendors and applications
      • Helps to drive costs down
      • Helps to eliminate obsolescence


Migration Strategies

Move Data from multiple applications onto a single card

  • Advantages
    • Most aesthetic looking card
    • Most secure card
  • Disadvantages
    • Most expensive card
      • Each technology contributes to manufacturing and cosmetic fallout
    • Reduced field-reliability due to multiple technologies
      • Some combination of technologies weaken card structure
      • Additional cost to re-badge due to failure

Use Existing Card with Smart Card Sticker

  • Several companies make a smart card "Sticker"
  • Sticker contains antenna and chip just like a card
  • Advantages
    • Much lower cost because existing card is not thrown out
    • No migration of existing information from legacy applications
  • Disadvantages
    • Not as aesthetic as a single card
    • Slightly reduced range due to smaller antenna
    • Location of patch important so card still works in existing readers (like magstripe)
    • Some organizations (Gov't, etc.) do not allow anything to be affixed to a card
    • Possible security issue if sticker is removed from card
    • Patch is designed to self destruct when removed
      • Electronic anti-tamper mechanisms available
      • Sticker utilizes a permanent adhesive for easy affixing to existing card

Use Multi-Technology Readers

  • Multi-technology readers are capable of reading two different technologies
    • Prox and Contactless Smart Card
    • Contact and Contactless Smart Card
    • Prox and Magnetic Stripe
  • Multi-technology readers may have multiple output protocols and interfaces
    • Wiegand
    • Clock & Data
    • RS232
  • Advantages
    • No changes to cards
    • No card re-badging
  • Disadvantages
    • Typically most expensive migration strategy
      • Cost of readers are higher
      • Readers available from only a few vendors
      • Not all technology choices available
    • Reader obsolescence occurs faster


Optimum Migration Strategy

Optimum strategy is to migrate all legacy applications to just contactless smart card solution utilizing separate application areas

  • Single technology card is most cost effective and reliable
  • Biggest stumbling block is
    • Retrieving data from legacy application and moving it to contactless smart card
    • Emulating legacy protocol and physical interface
  • Can use all of the previous migration methods discussed for interim


Moving Data From Legacy Applications

Best method is to electronically move data under computer control

  • No human typing errors
  • Can automate process
  • Very convenient, complete process can take less than 30 seconds
  • Can almost always retrieve legacy data using its legacy reader interfaced to a PC
    • Security and internal formats need not be known since legacy reader already knows how to read card
    • Even if reader is proprietary, output data can usually still be captured at a PC
    • Ideal method to move legacy applications where vendor has gone out of business or is uncooperative


Integrated Card Issuing

If legacy data is already stored in a database:

  • Can use a Dye-Sub Printer w/Smart Card Encoding to automate process
    • Unattended batch processing possible
    • Issue and personalize cards on demand


Wedge Readers

Many times a keyboard "wedge" reader can be used with a contactless smart card reader instead of original legacy reader

  • Advantage is original PC application does not have to be changed at all!
  • If legacy application already uses a wedge reader then it is a no-brainer to retrieve legacy data into a PC and rewrite into a contactless smart card
Learning Center Migratingtosmartcards


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