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Create PC-Free Access Control Systems

Biometrics devices are used to identify a person by taking a reading of some part of the body.  Common biometrics devices used for security today include iris-scan, retina-scan, facial-scan and finger-scan. Many of these devices are Universal Serial Bus (USB)-attached and require a PC for processing data. This requirement historically limited their usage to logical access, like logging on to a computer via fingerprint. To implement these devices for door access, customers often purchase sophisticated biometrics terminals that can cost upwards of $1,000 USD.

A biometrics manufacturer wanted to offer its customers an easy and affordable way to implement USB finger-scan devices for access control.  Their primary obstacle was eliminating the expense of installing a PC or biometrics terminal at each doorway.  They also wanted to utilize the Ethernet infrastructure already in place at customer sites.

The manufacturer tested Digi’s AnywhereUSB®/5, which in essence is an Ethernet-enabled USB hub. It utilizes USB Over IP® technology, allowing USB devices to be connected anywhere on a network, without a locally attached host PC. Instead of having a PC or expensive terminal at each point of entry, the manufacturer could offer the AnywhereUSB/5 and finger-scan solution for roughly half the cost of the traditional biometrics terminals.

Implementing the technology involves three steps. First, the customer connects the AnywhereUSB/5 and finger-scan device at each doorway to the Ethernet via RJ-45 cable. Second, the access control application software is installed on a single host in the main security office. Third, USB Over IP software drivers are also loaded on the same host. This software acts as a COM port redirector – it makes the host “think” that the remote AnywhereUSB/5 devices are locally attached. All processing happens at the remote host, resulting in fewer points of failure and less risk of tampering. 

Connecting the biometrics device to the AnywhereUSB/5 provides a cost-effective alternative to traditional host-based access control systems.

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