All Access Control System and Time & Attendance systems have the same basic components.
Database / Software - In order to have a system that means anything, there needs to be a system behind it. Smaller applications can work in a “stand-alone” environment where no reporting is required or budgets are tight. This is ultimately what separates systems apart. Most manufactures such as Paxton and Impro will provide free or very inexpensive software which can provide some functionality but if you require a more robust system which can handle multiple rules and take many factors into consideration, then you are better looking at software which can perform these complex rules.
Network - There are various forms of getting the information from the readers to the “system”. Most popular is TCP/IP (standard network protocol) or a communication on a BUS cable known as 485. 485 communication is typically used in smart-card / tag access control while biometrics typically runs on TCP/IP. Although this is not a hard and fast rule. Time & Attendance and Access Control networks do not need to be robust - as with CCTV - because the amount of data travelling over the network is minimal and can quite easily latch onto your existing IT network without your IT guy getting upset.
Controllers - each system on the market varies slightly in this area. Some platforms require 1 main controller with separate door controllers (such as Impro), others use 1 controller per door (like Paxton) and others don't use physical controller but validations are done on a PC over the network. Each methodology has its pros and cons and certain applications would work better in different environments - again a process we will guide you through.
Readers - mostly smart-card / tag or fingerprint biometric (or other biometric although fingerprint is probably the most widely used. See our section on Smart-card and Biometrics for more info on what's available.
Access Control devices - Although time and attendance does not, as a rule, require there to be access control working in conjunction with it, it remains advisable to combine the two for this simple reason that this “forces” staff to actually clock and cannot use excuses such as “they forgot”. There are many different devices and for more detail on these click on these segments to explore further: