Access control is a broad concept that encompasses an array of security practices, devices, and systems. It is the most direct form of security, determining who or what passes through an entry point, whether doorway, gate, or otherwise.
Gate operators fit into the grand access control scheme in a very specific way: these are the methods by which a gate physically allows access. Gate operators exist as part of a broad set of devices, appearing in a variety of possible configurations.
What specifically are gate operators? They are the physical mechanisms that actually open gates themselves, set in motion by an access control point. The access control is determined by credentials, which can be anything from key cards to fingerprints, allowing only authorized users or vehicles to enter. This is carried out by the gate operator, opening the gate itself.
The gate operator used in a given circumstance is determined by the type and size of gate and other contextual measures. Different gate operators are used for swing, lift, and other gate types, and will be mounted accordingly. This means that some are installed at ground level, some are installed overhead, and some will operate directly at the hinge point of a gate. More important than the style of gate opener, however, is its function and power.
Gate operators can be powered in a number of ways. Most commonly, they are wired into the surrounding electrical grid, operating on the same network as the property they protect. The downside here is that a power failure could cut off access to a given property. This is why a solid gate access control system will include battery backup. With locally stored battery backup, the gate will still operate during a blackout, safely allowing entry and egress. Another popular power option is solar. Locally mounted solar panels will provide power to the gate operator, saving electricity costs and reducing environmental impact. This type of power will also need battery backup, naturally.
Gate operators may come in a variety of styles and levels of technology, but they all share a fundamental element: they are the physical mechanism by which access itself is granted. Thus, they are a bedrock component of any gate access control system. Your own gate operator will always be determined by your needs, budget allowing.
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