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Electronic Locks


Electronic locks are a growing segment of Electronic Access Control systems.  They provide the benefits of a traditional hard-wired access control solution and feature built-in intelligence that can be managed as a standalone solution or as part of a Physical Access Control Software (PACS) solution.


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Electronic locks are designed to enhance security, efficiency and convenience in a building or across a campus or property. They work with electronic credentials (ID cards, fobs or smartphones) in place of keys that can be easily tracked and quickly revoked when needed. Electronic locks provide increased visibility and control to who has access, to which openings, at what times. They can also simplify tasks for facilities managers with built-in features including lock & unlock schedules, holidays and time zones which can be managed with access control software.  

Electronic locks combine all the hardware components required at the door for a complete access control system into one integrated design that includes the electrified lock, credential reader, request-to-exit and request-to-enter sensors, door position switch, and tamper guard.

  • Electronic locks require electronic credentials to enter an area and provide audit trails to show who accessed specific openings and when
  • When a credential is presented to a reader on an electronic lock, the reader sends the credential’s information, usually a badge number to the access control system
  • The system compares the credential’s number to its programmed list of credentials, grants or denies the request, and sends a transaction log to a database

Note: Features and capabilities will vary by model, please see the electronic locks category page for specific details.

Electronic locks are growing in popularity as they provide enhanced visibility and control to openings, deliver incremental efficiency to system administrators, and increased convenience for end users.

  • Intelligence - know who has access to what doors at what times; review history of events by opening; visibility to door position status
  • Security - improve the integrity of your key system by reducing the distribution of mechanical keys; revoke electronic credentials immediately and from anywhere;  lockdown from a local or centralized  remote location
  • Efficiency - eliminates the need to re-key locks as occupants transition; easy to issue electronic and mobile credentials; set automatic locking and unlocking schedules
  • Convenience - smart and mobile credentials can be used beyond access control including vending machines, secure printing and more
  • Budget - by eliminating the need to run wires and hard power to each opening, labor and component costs are typically reduced

Note: Features and capabilities will vary by model, please see the electronic locks category page for specific details.

As more business adopt electronic across control, there is a greater appreciation for the value they provide, namely enhanced security, more efficient management and greater convenience. Today, electronic locks are used in a variety of interior and exterior applications including:

  • Higher education - secondary entries, offices, classrooms, laboratories, dorm rooms, equipment rooms, IT rooms, parking gates, out buildings, etc.
  • Health care - suite entries, offices, laboratories, medical supply storage, records rooms, IT rooms, etc.
  • Corporate/commercial - secondary entries, offices, records and storage rooms, shared spaces, amenities, IT rooms, elevators, parking gates, etc.
  • Multifamily properties - secondary entries, resident unit doors, common areas, amenities, parking gates, pool gates
  • Retail - primary and employee entries, storage rooms, offices, etc.

There are many benefits to electronic locks and they will vary based upon your role in the organization.

  • Simplified installation - wireless electronic locks eliminate the need to run hard power and wires to each opening; single combined unit is easier than installing multiple components around an opening
  • Wireless communication - wireless electronic locks and devices can be utilized in places where it is difficult or challenging to run wires such as historic buildings, parking gates, elevators, and remote buildings
  • Greater security - by requiring personalized electronic credentials to access an area, electronic locks are more secure than a mechanical lock and key
  • Improved control - set time zones and schedules by credential user and by opening; set daily and holiday lock and unlock schedules by opening
  • Visibility - most electronic locks provide detailed audit trails showing who accessed specific openings and when
  • Cost-effective - reduce the time and costs associated with managing keys due to frequent turnover
  • Increased satisfaction - enables convenient and efficient access to shared spaces while still providing a safe and secure door

Note: Features and capabilities will vary by model, please see the electronic locks category page for specific details.

A variety of options are available; considerations should be made based upon use case requirements, infrastructure and budget:

  • Standalone: PIN-code locks are programmed at the lock (toured) and can provide simple access control without the need for additional programming devices or software; we recommend that a unique PIN-code is provided to each user that it can easily be removed if needed.  Often these types of locks are used on maintenance closets and storage rooms
  • Offline - Toured: Can be programmed at the lock like standalone, but can also be managed using software.  User rights and lock functionality can be updated using a utility software and cable at the lock (toured) that acts as a bridge between the access control software and lock OR wirelessly by using a mobile device and Bluetooth connection at the lock, depending on model. Touring the locks to update is required
  • Offline - No-Tour: Access rights and lock data are programmed to a smart or mobile credential which is carried by the user.  When that credential is presented at the lock the information is transferred to the lock and stored for future use.  No touring of the locks by the admin is required.  No-Tour is commonly deployed at multifamily properties; eliminates the need for the Leasing Office to visit locks and devices when residents turn over
  • Networked – Periodic Check-in: For increased efficiency, automated updates to lock configuration and user access rights are communicated over Wi-Fi. Frequency of updates can be configured and are typically set for once per day to preserve battery life.  Immediate changes can be made over Bluetooth® with the ENGAGE mobile app at the lock
  • Networked – Real-Time: Real-time communication to the lock from the access control software, can apply to wired or wireless electronic locks.  Wired locks will continuously communicate with the access control system.  Wireless solutions can manage their "wake-up" frequency from one to ten seconds, depending on model and configuration setting

Note: Features and capabilities will vary by model, please see the electronic locks category page for specific details. 

Electronic locks have a wide range of features and capabilities that vary by model, some models are designed for specific markets and applications:

  • Electronic locks combine the mechanical locking chassis together with electronic components; available options include cylindrical, mortise, mortise with deadbolt, deadbolt, interconnected deadbolt, and exit trim applications
  • Most electronic locks require initial programming or commissioning, this is typically completed using a programming device.  Through the commissioning process, the settings for the electronic lock are configured
  • Most electronic locks will then be connected to a Physical Access Control Software (PACS) system where they will be managed; features and capabilities will vary by PACS provider based upon how they "integrate" the locks into their solution
  • Most electronic locks are wireless and communicate to the access control system either by passing data through a programming device (older technology) or by wireless signals (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, 900 MHz)
  • Most electronic locks are battery powered with a battery life of up to 2 years depending on model, most will feature a low battery indicator and a mechanical key override or process to jump start the lock
  • Some models of electronic locks are hard-wired for both power and data communication; these are typcially applied in new construction when running wires to each opening is planned as part of the project
  • Electronic locks are available with a variety of different credential reader types including Keypad, Proximity (older/unencrypted), Magnetic Stripe (older/unencrypted), and Multi-technology (newer).  Multi-technology readers have the capability to read different credentials including encrypted smart (13.56 MHz) and encrypted mobile (BLE and/or NFC depending on model).  Support for these technologies will vary by model
  • Credential technology is a major consideration when choosing electronic locks as they typically are used in the same system as traditional wall mounted readers; specific models are available for customers that wish to add electronic locks to systems that utilize HID iCLASS®, iCLASS SE®, Seos® and NFC credentials
  • To learn more about credentials and readers, please visit Schlage 101 for Credentials and Schlage 101 for Readers

Note: Features and capabilities will vary by model, please see the electronic locks category page for specific details.

It is best to start planning for access control early. Include all of the key stakeholders, such as the hardware consultant, security consultant, integrator, electrical engineer and building owner. We recommend that you assess your requirements and detail the following:

  • What specific pain points are you looking to address?
  • What types of applications and use cases are your top priorities?
  • How do you want to manage the system; self-manage or service provider?
  • How many users and doors do you need to manage?
  • What specific features and capabilities do you wish to deploy?
  • How important is real-time control and reporting?
  • What type of electronic credentials do you want to use, now and in the future?
  • Do you want to use electronic credentials beyond access control for things like secure printing, vending, other building control systems, etc.?
  • How will your access control and credential needs change over time?

We encourage you to discuss your requirements with a trained security professional.  Our team of Allegion Sales Consultants are available to review your needs and can also point you to a variety of local resources to get you started.  Please contact us to learn more. 

A variety of credentials can work with electronic locks, support for credential types will vary by electronic lock series and models:

  • Mobile includes Bluetooth® low energy (BLE) and Near Field Communication (NFC) - secure, encrypted technology that enhances convenience.  Please check with your PACS provider for specific support
  • Smart technology (13.56 MHz or high frequency ) - secure, encrypted credentials that can be used for applications beyond access control. Smart credentials share a secret encrypted key with the reader on the locks and they must be designed to work together to deliver the data in an encrypted manner.  Therefore, specific models are available for sites that already use HID iCLASS®, iCLASS SE®, Seos® and NFC mobile credentials
  • Proximity (125 kHz or low frequency)  - older credential technology that is readily available; it is not encrypted and can be easily duplicated.  We recommend that you upgrade to newer, encryped technology for best results
  • Magnetic (Mag) Stripe - older credential technology that is readily available, however it is not encrypted and can be easily duplicated.  We recommend that you upgrade to newer, encryped technology for best results
  • PIN code - easy to distribute, but also easy to share

Please visit Schlage Credentials 101 for additional information or the electronic lock category page to see which credentials are specifically supported by model. 

  • Multi-factor authentication readers increase security in sensitive areas by requiring users to provide multiple credentials to gain access
  • Could include any combination of the common authentication factors: 
    • Something you have (keys, cards, fobs or mobile devices)
    • Something you know (the PIN code for a keypad or a password) 
    • Something you are (biometric asset such as fingerprint)  
  • Ideal for spaces that require a high level of security to protect private, dangerous expensive materials, goods or information such as:
    • Healthcare - Records room, biohazard areas, pharmaceutical areas, laboratories and more 
    • Commercial - Data centers, server equipment rooms, records rooms, and more 
    • Higher education - Research labs, records offices, dorm rooms, and more 
  • For maximum security, we recommend using a multi-factor reader such as the Schlage MTK15 or MTKB15 with smart cards or mobile credentials to reduce risk of unauthorized use and duplication 

Electronic locks are able to communicate in different ways and use different technologies for different reasons.  Here are a few examples:

Wired or Hardwired

Connects electronic locks to the access control panel or system using wires.  Wires are run from the lock through the door and surrounding infrastructure to the access control panel. It enables real-time communication and lockdown capabilities. Wired access control is widely used, but is also required for certain critical applications.

Wired Connection Types

  • RS-485
    • RS-485 is the most common and recommended wired connection
    • The signal can be carried up to 4,000 ft. over twisted pair wiring and transfers data at a high rate of speed
  • Wiegand
    • Was the standard for many years in access control
    • Communicates binary data (1s and 0s) in a certain order to the access control panel
    • This technology is not very secure, has limited capabilities and a 500 ft. limit
    • For the Schlage AD-300 a Panel Interface Module (PIB300) is required to facilitate this communication
  • Clock and Data
    • Also known as magnetic stripe or ABA
    •  Similar to Wiegand, but the communication is handled differently  
    • This technology is not very secure, has limited capabilities and limited range


Wireless electronic access delivers many of the key benefits of a wired system but allows for openings that were traditionally difficult to run wires to in the past to be secured. Wireless solutions are often more cost effective to install. There are other wireless communication technologies available, but we will cover the most-used ones for commercial access control here. 

Wireless Connection Types

  • 900 MHz
    • The original wireless technology used for access control
    • Operates separate from the IT network
    • Doesn’t require a lot of power which allows for longer battery life
    • Long range - up to 200 ft. with obstructions (normal building construction), up to 1,000 ft. clear line of sight to a panel interface module. This allows for simplified system design. Schlage offers a high gain antenna that can achieve line of sight distances up to 4,000 ft.
      • 900 MHz band enables longer transmission ranges because signal propagation with longer wavelengths travel a greater distance and better penetrate typical building construction
  • Wi-Fi 2.4 Ghz
    • Uses existing network infrastructure and access points
    • Locks communicate directly with host software
    • Traditionally consumes a lot of power
      • Exception: Schlage offers solutions that extend battery life by only updating access rights, audits and other data to and from the lock periodically (every 24 hours). This Periodic Check-in type system is perfect for applications that don’t require real-time control
  • Bluetooth® Low Energy
    • Originally designed to be a ‘personal area network’
    • Short range – the exact distance depends on the specific solution and building environment, but at Schlage we state that our electronic locks using Bluetooth Low Energy can communicate up to 30' in typical building environment to a gateway
    • Low power consumption
    • Bluetooth Low Energy can also be used to transmit data directly at the opening from a mobile device, which is ideal for systems that don’t require constant real-time control but occasionally need the ability to make immediate updates

For more information view these videos on wired and wireless communication types.

Some of the most complicated access control applications can be solved by using wireless technology.  


  • In order to control access to certain floors of a building it makes sense to assign users access through the access control system.  However, running access control wiring in an elevator shaft isn’t easy.  A wireless elevator access control solution eliminates the need for traveling cables from controller to reader in elevator applications. Access control can be applied to elevators more simply and at a much faster rate, reducing downtime and disruption within the facility


  • Extending an access control system to outdoor and remote gates such as parking lots, airports, military bases and garages is difficult.  But a gate access control solution using 900 MHz wireless connectivity eliminates the need for trenching and running cable to the gate locations.  A wireless solution reduces installation time and cost

Temporary Access Points

  • The need for access control or check points at non-traditional openings or locations outside a facility requires a portable access reader. A battery-operated wireless device that can be held by hand or placed in a convenient temporary location can allow for credential verification at mustering points, bus loading or to extend the perimeter of a building on a temporary basis

It is best to start planning for access control early. Include all of the key stakeholders, such as the hardware consultant, security consultant, integrator, electrical engineer and building owner.
Before choosing a reader, you'll want to consider:

  • Current and future use cases and requirements
  • Type of credential you want
  • Additional uses you may want for your credential
  • How do you want the reader mounted (door frame versus wall)

While there are some proprietary reader options that only accept a specific type of credential, it is recommended to choose a technology that can be programmed by multiple companies to provide future flexibility to your clients.

You can contact Allegion Customer Service (Sales Support) or Technical Support (Product Support) by phone or by email. 

To contact by phone: call 877.671.7011

PRESS Option 1 for Customer Service then select your specific product category:

  • Mechanical Locks & Keying Systems by Schlage, Falcon or Dexter PRESS 1
  • Electronic Locks, System Components, Biometrics, Readers or Credentials PRESS 2

PRESS Option 2 for Technical Support then select your specific product category:

  • Mechanical Locks & Keying Systems by Schlage, Falcon or Dexter PRESS 1
  • Electronic Locking Products AD, CO, NDE, LE, Control, Express, Engage, Multi-Family Solutions, ISONAS Hardware or Pure Access Software PRESS 2
  • For AD, CO, PIM, Express, BE367/FE210 and all legacy related locks like CM and King Cobra, PRESS 1.
  • For ENGAGE related products including NDE, LE, Control, CTE and Gateway, PRESS 2.
  • For ISONAS Hardware and Pure Access Software, PRESS 3.
  • Readers and Credentials, Biometrics or System Components such as Maglocks or key switches by Schlage or Locknetics PRESS 6

PRESS Option 3 to reach your local sales office, you will be directed based upon the area code from which you are calling


Sales Support (Customer Service for all Product Categories and Regions) -

Technical Product Support:

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