As a manufacturer of reliable access control products for more than 25 years, Cansec Systems knows first-hand that security doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve taken that to heart in everything we do, from product development, to customer service, to technical support – and we’re making things simple.

Wireless Range - Line-of-Sight is probably not what you think

When you think of line of sight, you probably, and understandably, assume that if you could draw a straight line from one wireless device to the other with no obstructions, you have line of sight between the two devices. After all, Merriam-Webster defines line of sight as:

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Wireless locks - what's not to like?

Integrator - "Hi. This is Bob with Tesla Security. I want to quote your ABC100 system for a project I am working on and I need to know how far the readers can be from the controllers."

Manufacturer - "Well that depends, Bob."

Integrator - "Of course it does. I understand. Assuming I use the cable that you recommend and run it correctly, what is the maximum distance?"

Manufacturer - "Well it could range from 30 feet to 300 feet. It depends on a lot of variable conditions at the site."

Integrator - "Exactly WHAT kind of conditions? The job is in Kimmirut in Nunavut and I am quoting the job from a set of floor plans."

Manufacturer - “Things such as the ambient RF noise and the thickness and construction of the interposing walls and floors must be considered.”

Integrator - "How the heck am I supposed to know ANY of those things without going to the site and spending DAYS doing a site survey? And what's more, the facility hasn’t even been built yet! I need you to give me the exact number of feet that the reader can be from the controller so I can submit my quote by noon today!"

Manufacturer - "I would love to do that Bob but I just can't. It depends. Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

Integrator - "Goodbye!"

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Access Control - The next big breakthrough

During its 31 years of designing access control products, Cansec has been working to resolve the single greatest threat to the industry. I am pleased to report that we are very close to perfecting a product which will totally change the landscape. It is called MELD.

MELD is a small portable device, about the size of a fountain pen, which emits a burst of intense red light that is modulated at a frequency which totally eradicates the good manners of the targeted individual.

MELD (Manners Eradicating Light Device) will, for the first time in the history of the access control industry, address the weakest link in every access control system sold globally to date - manners.

When you go through a secured access door and someone is coming in behind you, you hold the door open for them. If you see someone knocking on the glass doors in the lobby who looks like they belong, you let them in. Your Mom would be proud of you. The Director of Security where you work - not so much.

So after all the billions of dollars spent on electronic access control systems, it turns out your Mom is responsible for rendering them ineffective. Who knew!

I first realized this in the mid-seventies when I was working for the Bank of Montreal and was responsible for electronic access control systems for all the bank’s data centers across Canada. Way back then, there were only TWO major card access control players in the word - Rusco Electronics and Cardkey. Today I think there may be two on my block. One of the first sites where access control was deployed by the bank was the building in Montreal where I worked which housed the facilities planning group. We occupied 5 floors of a 12 story building.

On the first day the system went live (a Rusco MAC 540 for you trivia buffs), I came back in the evening just to make sure that all the readers and locks were operating properly. On each of the five floors there was a reader at each end of the elevator lobby securing the bank’s offices. I checked each of the 10 mag lock secured glass doors to make sure they were secure. Nikola Tesla held up his end of the deal in protecting the facility but Mom broke everything. At one of the lobby doors I was tugging on, a cleaner was diligently vacuuming just inside. I had never seen this person before nor was I known to them, although I probably “looked like I belonged”. As soon as he saw me tugging on the doors, he instinctively came over and hit the exit button to let me in. He did not ask for any identification. He was just being polite.

Some might say this was a result of not having employed a “systems” approach which would take into consideration not only the hardware, but would include teaching the people using the system to abandon their good manners and act like access control police. Good luck with that in any commercial environment.

Things are different in a military environment where security is paramount and anyone violating the rules knows they will be severely punished. I experienced just such an environment many years ago when Cansec was invited to exhibit its Zodiac fingerprint reader at a show at the Marine Corps base in Quantico Virginia. To enter the base, we had to place all our exhibit equipment on the ground and back off 10 feet while it was inspected by marines with machine guns and bomb-sniffing dogs. Inside there were signs that read “PHOTOGRAPHY PROHIBITED. LETHAL FORCE APPROVED”. Naturally, I took a picture of one of the signs. If I was threatened with death I would have explained that I had a problem with my short-term memory and did not want to forget what the sign said.

So next time you are designing a big, expensive, complex and high tech access control system for the commercial market, think of your Mom.

Stay tuned for an upcoming article titled “Elevator Access Control - Don’t waste your money”.

For the record

Although Cansec Systems Ltd. has been designing and manufacturing access control systems since 1987, it was preceded by Cansec Consulting Ltd., founded in 1979 which is still in operation. We take great pride not only in the quality of the products we make but in the quality of the advice which we offer freely on your projects.

Fred Dawber

Owner and CSO - Chief Simplification Officer Cansec Systems Ltd. 

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Less Work, More Money

If you are currently installing card access control systems and are looking for better profits and recurring revenue, you may want to consider becoming a  Cansec Cloud Lock Partner.

b2ap3 large CloudLock Logo

Cloud Lock is a true SaaS (Security as a Service) access control solution consisting of MAP1 access control panels connected to the Cloud Lock server which is hosted at an IBM data centre in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Since there is only one instance of the Cloud Lock software, every user always has the latest version. The system is managed via web browser from a desktop, tablet or smart phone.  The service is subscription based and very competitively priced. MAP1 (Modular Access Panel) controllers can be provisioned for 2 or 4 doors and can be upgraded easily in the field from 2 to 4 doors by simply purchasing an upgrade provisioning code. 


Cloud Lock Partner Benefits 

  • Same profit on equipment and installation as conventional systems
  • No software to install
  • No static panel IPs to be assigned
  • No firewall port forwarding to configure
  • Cloud Lock Partners share in ongoing subscription fees.  As systems grow, your revenues grow whether add-ons are done by you or others
  • MAP1 controllers can be provisioned for 2 or 4 readers - pay only for what you need
  • Easier to sell than conventional client/server solutions
  • Support your clients from anywhere via browser – no software required
  • No sign-up stocking requirements
  • No minimum annual sales volumes
  • To retain your Cloud Lock Partner status all you need to do is sell one new subscription per year

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a Cloud Lock Partner, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line “Cloud Lock Partner”.  Please include your contact info as well as your company web site address.  On receipt we will email you the whole exciting story, including pricing.

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Africa Famine Relief

Even though the people in famine ravaged areas are far away, their suffering is real and cannot be ignored.  Yesterday the federal government announded that they are matching all donations,  I decided today to donate $500 on behalf of Cansec and challenge all our suppliers and customers to help support this cause.

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How much is unlimited?

In the begining, not to sound biblical, access control manufacturers published specific card reader and carholder capacities.  Life was good.  Sixteen readers and 1,000 cardholders.  The competition would be compelled to better these capacities and would release a system which doubled or tripled the card reader and cardholder capacities.  The spec war which ensued saw these claimed capacities grow by leaps and bounds.  Until a marketing genius somewhere came up with the idea of claiming "unlimited" card reader and cardholder capacity.

I have been involved in the design of card access control systems for close to 40 years.  Being a very simple, old fashioned  person, I established capacities of new systems by testing them under real and simulated loads and capacities.  Sometimes we found that, although a system was theoretically capable of handling say, 512 card readers, with 65,000 cardholders each using their cards several times every hour with many operators all concurrently managing cardholders and running reports, performace suffered badly.  We either found a way to make it perform better or we rolled back the claimed capacities.

Now, most new access control systems are claiming to support an unlimited number of card readers and an unlimited number of cardholders.  I can't help but wonder how they are testing these new systems?


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Cutting edge simplicity

You have probably noticed the tag line "Cutting edge simplicity" on every piece of product literature we produce.  It is also on all Cansec business card and is a registered trade mark in North America.  Ongoing advances in technology make it possible to develop products with ever increasing functionality.  There is a huge temptation to keep adding anciliary functions to new products to fully exploit the capability of the latest technology.  The key word here is "anciliary".  We have all experienced the frustration of using a product where it's primary functions are burried under a smothering layer of anciliary functions which will likely never be used.  "Cutting edge simplicity" is not just a tag line at Cansec, it is the guiding principle behind everything we do. - Fred Dawber CSO (Chief Simplification Officer)

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Which is best?  A two reader access control panel or a four reader access control panel?

Answer: YES

If you need two readers, a two reader controller is best.  If you need four readers, a four reader controlller is best.

The MAP1 Modular Access Panel provides a simple solution to this problem.  A standard MAP1 can be provisioned for two readers or four readers.  The MSRP when provisioned for two readers is $1,083  When provisioned for four readers the MSRP is $2,000.  You can even upgrade a two door MAP1 to a four door MAP1 in the field for MSRP $1,000 - no additional controller hardware required.  Simply load the new provisioning code into the MAP1 and you are done.

In addition to being provisioned for the number of readers supported, the MAP1 can be provisioned to work with Cansec's Cloud Lock subscription based service or Cansec's First Access software (a traditional client/server solution.

With the magic of provisioning, one size does fit all.

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Cansec Oops Warranty

You know how some days everything goes great and other days nothing seems to be going your way. We all have bad days occasionally. Like perhaps you are installing one of Cansec’s controllers and you happen to drop the circuit board. The law of Selective Gravity dictates that it will fall on the corner and break.

Or maybe, in spite of your highly honed installation skills, a stray piece of wire shorts out a track or two on a circuit board resulting in its demise.

With everyone else’s product, that honest mistake will cost you. But now, with Cansec’s Oops Warranty, your day will be a bit brighter because we have your back. Just let us know that you are sending back a product under the Oops Warranty, give us an Oops PO for the replacement product and we will send you an advance replacement. We will even pick up the standard shipping costs. When we receive the broken product, we will issue a credit against the Oops PO.

The Oops Warranty only applies to Cansec manufactured products and is valid for 30 days from the date the product was shipped. It goes into effect August 1, 2015.

And don’t forget, Cansec manufactured products still carry an industry leading 5 year warranty.

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Emergency Lockdown

Emergency Lockdown

One subject which ALWAYS comes up when discussing access control at schools is the issue of emergency lockdown. The image is of a big red button which, when pressed, will lock all or select controlled access doors.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Turns out it is a big nasty can of worms.

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Active Presence Reader - Machine Control


There is a rapidly growing emphasis on workplace safety being driven by regulatory bodies such as OSHA in the USA and the Canada Labour Code. In addition, the introduction of Bill C-45 in Canada established new legal duties for workplace health and safety, and imposes serious penalties for violations that result in injuries or death.

The unrestricted use of dangerous machinery on the shop floor constitutes a significant liability issue for employers as evidenced by a $190K fine paid by Walmart in August 2013 for, amongst other things, “unsafe trash compactor procedures”. Under the settlement, trash compactors must remain locked while not in use, and may not be operated except under the supervision of a trained manager or other trained, designated monitor.

Clearly, hanging a sign on a piece of dangerous shop floor equipment which says “To be used by authorized personnel only” is not adequate.

Access systems have been used for many years to manage physical access to restricted areas. However, they can also provide a cost effective means of insuring that dangerous machinery is only used by trained and authorized operators.

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