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Gates are a common method of keeping intruders out of different types of buildings, from multi-family residential communities to large business and industrial complexes. They keep the premises secure and serve as a means to control access. 

With many commercial gate access control systems in the market, from RFID readers to video intercom systems, how do you choose the best commercial gate access control systems for your particular needs? This guide covers everything you need to know about gate security entry management systems from what they are and how to integrate them with existing security systems, to the best types of control access gates and the questions to ask when selecting an entry gate system. 

What is gate access control?

Gated access controls are electronic security measures used to monitor and control access to a specific area, such as a commercial building, school campus or gated residential community.

Security gate entry systems control who can access a restricted area, allowing only people with credentials to enter. With control access gates, property owners can keep valuable assets safe and secure while ensuring unauthorized people and vehicles stay out. 

How do commercial gate security systems work?

Gate access control involves an access reader installed near a gate or entry point to observe individuals entering the area. The system works by storing credentials in its database. The gate entry system will open if the credentials presented to an access reader match those stored in the system. Otherwise, it will remain closed, restricting access to the area. Some systems will also sound alarms or send alerts if an unauthorized person tries to access the premises.

Components of a gate access control system

Access-controlled security gate systems require the following components: 

Gate access controller

The gate access controller receives signals from the reader and credentials, cross-references them with its database, and then signals the gate to open and grant access. It also controls the locking mechanism and allows operators to oversee access activity and security. 

Gate access reader

A gate access reader comes in many forms, from a keypad and card reader to a biometric scanner or any other device that can read and send information on the credential. The reader then sends this information to the controller to match the data with credentials stored in the database.

Gate opener

The opener physically opens and closes the gate upon receiving a signal from the controller. The two main types are swinging arm openers and sliding openers. Swinging arm openers mechanically push or pull gates, while sliding gate openers use motors and gears to drive the gate along a track.

Magnetic or electronic lock

This lock is attached to the gate and prevents it from being opened unless the controller sends an open signal. Depending on the system, gates commonly use magnetic or electronic locks.


Credentials are, in essence, the keys to the gate. They come in different forms, such as key cards and fobs, mobile, PIN codes, biometrics or any other type of security code that can be read by the gate access reader and verified by the controller. Credentials are managed by authorized personnel and can be deactivated or revoked if necessary.

Management software

Gate control systems use software to control all functions, such as managing the database of authorized personnel, configuring settings, and tracking and recording access attempts. With cloud-based gate security systems, the management software can be accessed through a web interface or an app.

Types of access control gates for commercial buildings and premises

Before getting into gate access control systems, it’s essential to consider the type of gate that meets your property’s security needs. The most common types of gate security systems are:

Swing gates

Swing gates open and close with a hinged arm that swings away from the closed position. The arms can be activated manually or automatically, depending on the application and the strength of the motor used to power it.

Slide gates

Slide gates open by sliding along a track from one side to another. These gates can range from small, single-slide models to larger, double-slide models with multiple tracks that can accommodate several vehicles simultaneously. These types of gates are ideal for busy streets or driveways with tight spaces.

Bi-folding gates

Bi-folding gates are similar to swing gates but feature two different hinged panels that fold together and form an entryway when closed. This makes them perfect for installations where space is limited, but access needs to be controlled, like walkways or private properties with narrow entrances. In addition, the panels can be locked securely when not in use.

Vertical gates

Vertical gates are an excellent choice for applications that require additional height, such as large commercial properties where access has to be restricted despite high walls or buildings blocking visibility above ground level. These security gates rise vertically on sliding rails when opened and have additional locks for enhanced protection in case someone tries to climb over them or otherwise disable them from below ground level.

Pedestrian gates

Pedestrian gates are ideal for areas that need controlled access but don’t require the same level of security as automobile access points. These gates are typically lower in height and width than car entrances and can come in various designs, from traditional swinging gates to sliding or bi-folding types. 

Types of access control for gate entry systems

Understanding the different types of access control gate solutions is critical to choosing the best option for your property. For example, apartment gate security solutions are unlikely to be as complex or to require security as stringent as a corporate complex that houses sensitive information. Below is a breakdown of the main types of access control systems for gate entry:

Intercom-based front gate security

An intercom-based front gate security system is best suited for gated residential communities, or commercial properties that receive a lot of visitors. With these types of gated community gate systems, residents can give guests access to the property by allowing visitors to call and talk to residents.

One of the main advantages of intercom-based gated community security is that it enables personal interaction and verification before granting access. Some modern gate intercom systems further enhance the level of security with built-in video cameras such as 360 outdoor security cameras. This feature lets residents see who is at the entrance before letting them in.

Video-enabled community gate access control systems also take time- and date-stamped photos every time someone enters the property. Staff can also review this audit trail through the gate intercom system for security purposes.

A smartphone-based gated community entrance solution with a mobile app is the most convenient option for residents. The app allows for remote gate access control using a smartphone. It also allows for secure access control by granting visitors temporary, one-time entry codes or permissions.

In terms of operations and convenience for security staff, a cloud-based intercom residential gate access control system is the best solution. This system allows personnel to manage and monitor access, view audit trails and revoke access remotely.

RFID gate access control system

An RFID gate system uses radio frequency identification technology to read data stored in a credential like a key card or fob. The data is then compared to a list of authorized users in the database, and the fob or key card gate access system grants entry if there’s a match. One of the benefits of using RFID access control system gate security is that it’s simple to use, and offers fast entry for authorized users.

RFID access control systems can be integrated with other technology, such as time and attendance systems, security cameras such as pan tilt zoom outdoor cameras and alarm systems for added security.

While fairly convenient, this system has its drawbacks. These fob or card access gate systems can be time-consuming to manage and track. Moreover, key cards and fobs can be lost or stolen, creating serious security breaches that may go unnoticed. Replacing the cards or fobs also comes with a price tag, which can quickly add up if it becomes a frequent occurrence.

PIN and gate entry keypads

Gate entry keypads with PIN codes are easy to use and relatively inexpensive, which makes them a popular choice for both commercial and residential gate entry systems. A user simply inputs a four- to eight-digit code to a keypad reader. As a security measure, the code is typically changed periodically to prevent unauthorized access.

PIN-based gate entry keypads are convenient but also have certain risks. For example, the code can be shared and used by multiple people, making it difficult to track who accessed the gate. Additionally, if someone forgets the code, they won’t be able to get in, especially if the system isn’t paired with a backup solution, such as a key card or cellular gate access control system.

Using the same code for all users on a PIN-based gate access control system also means that the security staff can’t monitor who is entering the premises unless the system is paired with a video security system. 

A keypad entrance security system is not ideal if the property has a lot of vehicular traffic. Many keypads aren’t designed for vehicles and require people to get out of their cars to type in the code into the entrance security system, and they are slower to use than other outdoor gate access control solutions. They also don’t provide a way for visitors to ask to be let in directly. 

Cellular gate access control system

With a mobile-enabled remote-controlled gate-opening system, people can enter the property using their smartphones.

How to open gates with smartphones differs based on the system. For example, some systems require users to tap a button in an app on their phone. On the other hand, with some commercial gate access control solutions, users don’t even have to wake up their phones, let alone open an app. Instead, they can simply wave their phones or hands at the scanner to open gates.

Aside from the convenience of mobile-enabled gate systems, another benefit is that users can remotely open the gate for visitors. This system is more secure than other systems like RFID because users will not typically lend their phones to unauthorized persons for entry. 

Smartphone gate access control systems also offer more detailed tracking of who enters and leaves the property. Managers can use the data collected to generate reports or view a log of who accessed the gate and at what times, which can be especially helpful if a security breach happens.

Vehicle gate access control system

Vehicle gate systems regulate access to driveways, parking areas and other areas where vehicles are allowed. These systems can be divided into two main types: proximity cards and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).

Proximity card access control systems work by either presenting a card to a reader at the entry gate, or using sensors to detect a credential card installed in the vehicle, allowing it to pass through. 

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras for access gate security work by reading the license plate number of each vehicle as it passes by, comparing it against an approved list of users in the database and granting or denying access accordingly. This system is particularly useful for large parking lots, airports and other areas where many vehicles enter and leave regularly.

Both systems offer increased security and convenience for users, but also have some disadvantages. For example, proximity cards can be stolen and used to gain access without permission. At the same time, ANPR systems are not always reliable in low-light situations or when the license plate is obscured.

Maximizing security through gate access control integration

Integrating gate access control with other security systems, such as video security and biometric readers, can provide an extra layer of protection. Here are some ways to achieve this:

Install video surveillance cameras

Video security is one of the best ways to observe and record who is entering a facility. Install business video surveillance in strategic positions near the gate, on the driveway or entrance and in other areas where people are likely to enter.

Add sensors

Sensors and detectors can be installed around the gate to detect motion and sound. For example, if someone attempts to force their way in, an alarm will sound, and cameras will start recording.

Incorporate biometric readers

Biometric readers are some of the most secure access control systems because they use unique identifying features, such as fingerprint scans or voice recognition, to verify the identity of those entering the premises. They are challenging to bypass and biometric credentials are very difficult to replicate, making them ideal for high-security environments. 

Ensure compatibility with other access control systems

All entry points, from elevators and turnstiles to parking lots and gates, should be integrated into one access control system. An integrated approach streamlines security operations by ensuring all access points can be monitored and managed from one central dashboard. It also means users won’t require multiple credentials for different systems.

Leverage AI and machine learning capabilities

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities can detect potential threats in real-time, allowing quick action to be taken before a situation escalates. These technologies can also recognize patterns and alert personnel when necessary, providing complete situational awareness.

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Use cases for commercial gate access control systems

Gate security systems can be used in different ways, from controlling access to a parking lot to securing an entire facility. Here are some examples:

Neighborhood gate systems

Neighborhood and HOA gate systems are popular because they provide extra security for residential areas. 

Automatic gate access control systems can restrict entry and exit points, ensuring that only authorized personnel can enter. When integrated with other security systems, such as video surveillance and proximity card readers, access control system gate security provides a powerful way to keep unwanted trespassers out.

Apartment gate security entry management solutions

Many people consider robust security to be mandatory in an apartment complex. Access control system gate security can restrict entry, monitor who comes in and out and record audio or video of any suspicious activity. This can provide peace of mind to residents and property owners alike.

Warehouse gate access control systems

A warehouse is a high-risk asset that needs to be securely guarded. Automatic gate access control systems can provide an extra layer of security by restricting entry, monitoring who is coming in and out and tracking inventory. Other technology, such as motion sensors and video systems, can also be integrated for a comprehensive security solution.

Industrial facility gate security system

Industrial facilities often rely on gate access control systems to help keep expensive equipment and hazardous materials secure. Automated gates can be used to restrict entry and exit points and to verify the identity of those entering. Integrating with other systems, such as biometric readers, provides a comprehensive security solution for industrial complexes.

School and college campus gate systems

Keeping a school or college campus safe is a priority in any community. Gate access control systems can be key components of a larger school security system to help ensure only students, faculty and staff can enter the premises. The right system can be programmed to provide temporary access to visitors and vendors, allowing them access only to specific areas. They also provide visibility into who is coming in and out, enabling schools to take quick action if suspicious activity is detected.

Commercial office building gate systems

Commercial offices require stringent security to keep employees safe and to protect sensitive information housed in the building. While most of these buildings have some form of access control at the front door and inside, gate access control systems act as a first line of defense, deterring potential intruders before they can reach the building. In addition, installing gate security systems for commercial parking facilities can help automate payment, protect vehicles from theft and provide valuable insights into usage and traffic patterns.

Transportation hub gate control systems

Transportation hubs such as airports and train stations require a reliable gate access system to efficiently manage the large number of people coming in and out. These systems can be set up with entry cards or tickets scanned upon entrance, providing a strict level of entry, and can be combined with other security components like airport security camera systems for strengthened security.

Healthcare facility gate security system

Healthcare facilities require secure gate systems to safeguard their patients’ sensitive data and maintain a safe environment for staff and visitors. Automated gates can be set up to recognize authorized personnel using credentials like access cards or biometrics. Additionally, these systems can issue alerts in the event of unauthorized access attempts, providing an extra layer of protection against potential threats.

Questions to ask when selecting a gate access control system

When choosing a gate access control system, there are a few key questions to consider:

  • Security needs. What are the security needs of your facility? Do you need a system to restrict entry and exit points, or one that provides high-level security with technology such as biometric authentication?

  • Access points. How many access points do you need to secure?

  • Integration. How will the gate system integrate with other commercial security systems, such as video security and motion sensors?

  • Reliability. Does the system have measures to minimize errors and maximize uptime?

  • Budget. What is your budget for the gate access control system?

  • Scalability. How easy is it to scale the system up or down should your security needs change?

  • User activity tracking. Does the system have features allowing administrators to monitor access activity?

  • Customization. Can the system be customized according to specific requirements or preferences?

  • Alerts and notifications. Does the system issue alerts in the event of an unauthorized access attempt or other security breaches?

  • Reports and analytics. Is there a reporting feature allowing for easy analysis of gate usage data?

  • Maintenance. How often do components need to be replaced or serviced?

  • Ease of use. Is the system easy to set up and manage? Are there any training requirements for staff members?

  • Cost. What is the total cost associated with the system, including installation and maintenance?

  • Support. What type of technical support is available for the system?

Investing in the best gate access control for your property

Investing in a robust gate security system is essential to any business or commercial building. Access control systems offer the perfect solution for various applications, from commercial offices and transportation hubs to residential gated communities and healthcare facilities.

When choosing access control for gate security, it’s essential to consider factors such as your security needs, the access points that need to be secured, scalability, budget constraints, maintenance requirements and user-friendliness. Additionally, features such as activity tracking, alerts and notifications, reporting capabilities, and technical support should be considered.

Taking the time to research and compare security gate systems can pay off in the long run, ensuring your facility is well-protected, and your investment in security is worthwhile. 

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