Which Door Entry System Is Right for Your Community?

Make Your Community Safe and Secure with the Right Door Entry System 

There’s a lot to consider when deciding which door entry system is right for your community. And there are so many names used for door entry systems that sound like they’re the same when they’re not. How are you supposed to choose between wireless entry systems, keyless entry systems, doorbell intercom systems or smart video intercom systems?

That’s why we’ve put together this article to help you understand what a door entry system is and how to choose the right one for your community.

What’s inside:
  • What is a door entry system?
  • How does a door entry system work?
  • Types of door entry systems
  • Why a smart video intercom is the most beneficial door entry system

Every building and multi-family community must make sure that its residents are safe and that the property is secure. The purpose of a door entry system is to control who has access to the property. People with credentials are in. Unauthorized persons stay out


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A door entry system is a basic access control solution.

Image of intercom access panelIt enables property owners and community managers to set permissions for who can access doors, side entrances, gates, garages, package rooms, parking structures, elevators, and more across the property. Every community needs to control access for security reasons yet balance that with easy access for its residents. Properties of every kind have different people living in one place who may or may not know each other. The purpose of a door entry system is to allow residents, their guests, managers, and vendors to enter and exit the space in the most secure and visible way possible.

How a Door Entry System Works

A door entry system works by confirming the identities of people with permission to enter. It also provides a way to authorize access to the property for guests such as visitors, cleaning crews, service people, and delivery drivers.

All door entry systems need outdoor hardware, which is often installed at the entrance. This hardware is called the base station. Some doorway entry systems also require hardware installed in every unit throughout the property. Those devices are called substations.

There are two ways in which substations and base stations exchange information within a door entry system. If it’s a wired system, the data exchange happens via wiring. This wiring is the copper-based plain old telephone service (POTS) lines that major telecom companies have begun to phase out of service. Over time, the cost to maintain POTS lines will increase and if they should need repair, the telecom provider will be under no obligation to do so. The most likely replacements will be a 5G cellular network or fiber-optic cable.

Fiber optic cable representationThe value of fiber-optic cable is in its ability to accommodate the demand for ever-increasing bandwidth, meaning the ability to transmit more data and different types of data across today’s modern networks. Think online video gaming, video conferencing, social channels, and a multitude of smartphone apps to name a few networks. Another advantage of fiber-optic is that the data can travel a greater distance without experiencing signal interference.

Door entry systems, like some video intercoms, can also exchange information wirelessly. This means that instead of connecting people and devices with copper wiring, the connection happens in the cloud. The cloud refers to web-connected servers and software that users can access and use over the inter

Innovative access control systems live in the cloud and exchange information using a language referred to as Internet Protocol (IP).

How to Use a Door Entry System

To use a door entry system, a visitor searches for a resident in the system’s directory and then presses a button or a touch screen to contact them. The door entry system alerts the tenant that they have a visitor, via phone or a smartphone app notification. Then, the resident speaks with their visitor and opens the door for them by pressing a door release button. Finally, the door entry system sends a signal to the door’s electric or magnetic lock, which allows entry.

A cloud-based door entry system enables community residents to use the door entry system to let themselves in using either a fob, a key card, or a mobile app on their smartphone.

Image of LiftMaster's CAPXLV2 smart video intercom
  • A door entry system is an access solution that enables community managers and residents to control who can and can’t enter the property.
  • Many door entry systems enable both residents and guests to request access from the property manager and staff.
  • A door entry system verifies a person’s credentials in various ways, using a PIN code, a programmed key fob, or visually with a smart video intercom — before granting access.
  • A door entry system with video visitor management capabilities allows visitors to call and speak with tenants. Residents, after confirming the visitor’s identity via video, can open the door for them remotely.

Types of Door Entry Systems

 Door Buzzer Systems

Door buzzer systems are named after the buzzing sound they make when someone requests access. Visitors press a button on a device at the property’s entrance to request access. From there, tenants can talk to the visitor and open the door for them. Legacy door buzzer intercom


  • A buzzer system allows tenants to grant access to visitors and deliveries without physically going to open the door for them.
  • Buzzers can save time for building managers or front desk staff because visitors can request access directly from a tenant.
  • Using a buzzer system is intuitive. Visitors have almost certainly used one before.


Tenants cannot use a buzzer system to let themselves into the building — it’s for visitors only.

Buzzer systems require extensive wiring, which is expensive to install and maintain.

Because a buzzer system requires in-unit hardware, many more devices are involved than with a smart video intercom.

Maintaining all those devices is a lot of work.

There is no video calling with a buzzer system, so tenants cannot visually confirm who is on the other end of the call. Also, administrators don’t have access to a video audit trail.

Tenants must be onsite to grant access because there is no mobile app with remote features.

Staff will have to manually update the tenant directory onsite instead of through an online portal.

Telephone Entry Systems

Legacy telephone intercom systemTelephone entry systems have been around for over a century. The device operates on a traditional telephone line, allowing visitors to call tenants from outside the property. It requires hardware installed at the entrance and a telephone to receive the calls.


Tenants can admit visitors when they receive a call on their phone.

Most telephone entry systems are easy to use, and visitors can call the tenant with the push of a button.

Calls can be sent to tenants directly, which can save staff time answering the door.


The system is for visitors only.

Tenants need another method of accessing the property, such as an access control system.

Wiring a phone line is an involved process and expensive to maintain. Installation can require construction and much higher labor costs than a wireless system.

There is no way to grant recurring access for providers like cleaning staff or delivery couriers who visit regularly.

The tenant directory must be updated manually, so staff must be onsite to manage the system.

Electronic Access Control Systems

LiftMaster Keypad ReaderElectronic systems, like key fobs and RFID card readers, go one step beyond a traditional metal lock and key. These technologies verify who is accessing the door based on the credentials they use to enter. While an electronic access control system streamlines access for tenants and staff, it doesn’t enable visitor access.


Most electronic access systems are easy for tenants to use. All it takes is tapping a key card or fob against a reader to enter the building.

Fobs and key cards are easy to replace. When tenants inevitably misplace a card, you can disable access for that card and issue a new one easier than with metal keys.

RFID readers are also effective for elevators. With these door security systems, you can also easily regulate who can access particular floors of a building.


They can only be used by tenants who are issued cards or fobs. There’s no way for visitors to contact tenants and request access through an RFID reader.

Even though key cards and fobs are cheaper to replace than metal keys, the costs still add up. Tenants are less likely to lose their smartphone than a key card, so a smartphone-based access system saves money in the long run.

Electronic access control systems work best when combined with a video intercom. Tenants can also use the RFID reader as a backup method for entering the building. However, they have the convenience and security of the video intercom for letting in deliveries, guests and more.

Video Intercom Systems

LiftMaster Smart Video Intercom streamlines deliveriesA video intercom is installed at the entrance of a property so that tenants can grant property access to visitors remotely. Notably, the video component allows tenants to visually confirm who’s requesting access before opening the door or gate. When purchasing a commercial video intercom system, choose one that pairs with a mobile app for smartphone-based access. That way, building staff won’t have to hand out physical credentials, and tenants can manage access from their own smartphones.


  • A video intercom entry system is convenient and affordable to install because there is no wiring and no in-unit hardware.
  • Smartphone-based access is convenient and more affordable than installing devices in every unit.
  • With a cloud-based video intercom, you can manage permissions and access time- and date-stamped audit trails from anywhere.
  • Video intercoms enable easy keyless entry because tenants can admit themselves and visitors all from their smartphones. Tenants can also type in a PIN code to access the door.


  • Video intercom systems are designed for multi-tenant properties.
  • The features may be too extensive for buildings with minimal traffic.

Replacing a Legacy Door Entry System with the Future of Smart Access Control

Smart video intercom access control systems play a big role in how secure a community really is, and the need to control points of access is a fundamental part of a community’s overall security solution. Owners and community managers who want to improve the safety of their residents and the security of their property should consider the benefits of replacing a legacy door entry system with a robust, full-featured smart video intercom solution.

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Door access control system
Door entry system
Doorbell intercom systems
Keyless entry systems
Property Managers
Smart video intercoms
Wireless door buzzer system
Wireless entry systems

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