RFID Building Access Control

RFID Building Access Control

Building Access Control - with RFID

Access card building security has been around since the early 1960’s, and the use of RFID instead of magstripes was introduced in the 1980’s with basic read-only Low Frequency (LF) RFID. Since then, RFID-enabled access cards, also called ‘smart cards’ and RFID keyfobs are the preferred way for most buildings like apartment complexes, single office buildings, multi-office buildings, hospitals, retirement communities, country clubs, and clubhouses to control the access to those areas. In addition to RFID access control in buildings becoming widespread, the singular use of LF RFID has expanded to High Frequency (HF) use as well.

Examples of Access Control Tags

RFID Cards

Traditional Key Fobs

Keychain Fobs

Why is Access Control in Buildings Different Than Access Control with Vehicles?

Building access control requires much less read range than access control for parking lots, neighborhoods, parking decks, or any other secured vehicle entry point. Because of this, access control that involves vehicles can use UHF RFID in addition to HF and LF RFID. If UHF RFID is also considered for secured vehicle areas, additional tag form factors are available in the form of windshield and rearview mirror hang tags.

Can an Access Control System Provide More Than Overall Building Access Control?

Some companies not only need overall building access control, but also need certain areas, zones, or rooms secured as well. Typically, one RFID access control system can be used to create these different levels of security, depending on the software. RFID readers/antennas can be placed outside of each building entrance point, as well as the entrances to secure rooms. Within the software, each RFID hardware point can be uniquely set with access permissions that correspond with a specific individual’s RFID fobs or cards.

What is the Difference in LF & HF Tags for Building Access Control?

LF and HF RFID tags or keyfobs are both used frequently for building access control, but these two frequencies have a few small differences, listed below.

  LF Tags HF Tags
Cost $2 - $10 per tag $0.25 - $5.00 per tag
Read Range A few centimeters A few inches
Read Rates Slower Read Rates Faster Read Rates
Metal & Water Performance High Performance Medium Performance
Form Factor Most Popular in a Traditional Key Fob Form Most Popular in a Smart Card Form

Access Control Systems: A Frequency Guide

Learn more about RFID frequencies used for Access Control and how to choose the best one for your specific needs.



Shipment/Order Verification

Vehicle Identification


Near Field Communication (NFC)

Internet of Things (IoT)

Interact with Vehicles

Tracking Assets

File Tracking

Hospital Asset Tracking

IT Asset Tracking

Laundry & Textile Tracking

Preventative Maintenance

Returnable Transit Items (RTI)

Tool Tracking

Transportation Asset Management

Library Asset Management

Managing Inventory

Herd Management

Hospital Inventory Control

Luxury Inventory Tracking

Logistics & SCM

Retail Inventory Management

Vehicle Inventory Management

Data about People

Attendee Tracking

Race Timing

Sports Metrics

Tracking Attendance

Data about Objects

Telemetry & Sensor Monitoring


Vehicle Data

Access Control: Buildings

Access Control: Vehicles

Access Control: Neighborhoods

Event Management