Glossary of key entrance control terms

If you’re looking to buy entrance control for the first time, or just want to refresh your memory of some of the key terms, our ‘entrance control 101’ glossary of key terms covers the basics.

Access control/access control system

An access control system is the software and hardware that identifies individuals and assesses whether to authorise their entry, based on the credentials they present. It does not enforce that decision; that is the job of entrance control. A credential could be a face, fingerprint, PIN number, key card, smartphone etc.


ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA provides and enforces strict regulations to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else. This act was made law in July 1990. An ADA-compliant gate or turnstile has been manufactured in compliance with this act, which requires the lane to be at least 32 inches wide.


A system designed to spot the scenario of an unauthorised person clambering over the entrance control unit. Fastlane products include anti-climb sensors which can detect any such attempt and alert security personnel.


A system designed to detect a person attempting to crawl under a turnstile barrier. The same infra-red beam matrix that Fastlane products use to detect tailgating and other attempts at unauthorised entry will note the presence of any such entrant and generate an alert.

Anti-pass back

Passback is a collusion activity where one individual properly passes through an access control point, and then hands their credential back to a companion, who attempts to use that same credential.

If a system has anti-passback capability, that means it can detect and prevent this, typically by preventing use of the same credential twice in quick succession.


400 Plus TurnstileBarrier arm turnstiles

These turnstiles use retractable metal arms to create psychological deterrence and a physical barrier. Fastlane barrier arm turnstiles are designed with the latest infrared technology to optimise and monitor the passage of individuals entering and leaving a building.




A bi-directional turnstile or gate allows people to both enter and leave. A typical unit can be set up to be bi-directional or not, as the operator prefers, so you might have side-by-side entrance lanes, exit lanes and bi-directional lanes, all using the same model of turnstile.

BIM (Building Information Modelling)

This is a broad term which describes the process of creating and managing digital information about a building or similar asset, typically including 3D digital models of the structure. The data is useful to those involved in designing, constructing and managing buildings, as well as security professionals.


Biometric access control

Fastlane Turnstiles

Using biological features such as fingerprints, voice, retina or face, as credentials to identify and authorise users. Modern biometric systems are sophisticated, with options such as touchless fingerprint recognition available.


Breakaway force

Breakaway in various contexts is used to describe systems that are designed deliberately to give or break, so as to avoid some risk or unsafe scenario. In entrance control, the breakaway force, or breakaway pressure, is the amount of force that needs to be applied before barriers will non-destructively yield, especially important for emergency-escape planning.


BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

An access control method which makes use of users’ own devices, such as smartphones, other mobile devices or wearable tech, meaning those users don’t have to remember separate, additional credentials.



Another word for pedestal.


Capacity Control

Using your access and entrance control systems to count people in and out, and ensure the number of users in your location, or section of your location, doesn’t exceed the capacity limits you have set.



Modern card readers are electronic devices that can read the computer chip, bar code, magnetic strip or other source of data on a plastic card. Card readers can be integrated into turnstiles and used to assess credentials. Increasingly, these days, when people use the term, they mean a contactless option such as a proximity card reader or contactless smart card reader.



Collusion is when an individual deliberately acts to let someone, who otherwise wouldn’t gain access, in through a secured point, for example using passback.


CredentialsFacial recognition AI

The thing you present to identify yourself to access control or to pass through the turnstile. Credentials can include ID cards, biometrics, QR codes on smartphones and other possibilities. Access control systems assess a user’s credentials when making the decision to permit or deny entry.


DDA compliance

Originally meant compliance with the UK’s Disability Discrimination Act 1995. For our industry, this often refers to the need for access lanes to accommodate wheelchairs. The abbreviation DDA is still widely used to discuss this area of compliance, even though the act has now been withdrawn and replaced by the Equality Act 2010 (except in Northern Ireland, where the DDA remains in force). Fastlane turnstiles can be installed in a variety of widths, including a fully compliant 914 mm option. This may be insufficient for some situations, such as sports wheelchairs, so we offer even wider options too.


Fastlane Door Detective Plus door entry system entrance control securityDoor Detective

An IDL product, Door Detective provides barrierless entrance control. The Door Detective units are installed either side of a door frame, and passage is monitored by a matrix of infrared beams. Security staff are alerted if someone passes through without presenting proper credentials, or if behaviours such as tailgating or passback are detected.

Door Propping

Authorised but non-habitual users of a space, like workmen, are especially prone to finding ways to save time on the re-presenting of credentials, such as keeping doors propped open, even emergency exits! This is clearly an invitation for someone unauthorised to enter the building. Door Detective has the capability to detect when this is happening, and alert security personnel.


The exit of a user from a building, including through a turnstile.

Entrance control

Our company offers entrance control systems, which means turnstiles and other units that enforce the authorisation decisions made by access control.

Entrance gates

These are entrance control units that are well suited to providing wide lanes, including lanes wider than minimally DDA compliant ones.

Equality Act 2010

See DDA compliance.

Fail safe and Fail secure

Turnstiles can be programmed to respond to power interruption in one of two ways. Fail safe systems release all locks and barriers, permitting egress during emergency.

Fail secure systems lock, preventing passage. Fastlane turnstiles are capable of a sophisticated version of fail secure in which they ensure no person is within the unit, and then lock.

FastlaneFastlane Turnstiles IDL logo

Fastlane is a range of entrance control products – which includes speedgates, barrier arms and optical turnstiles – designed and made by Integrated Design Limited at the company’s manufacturing facility in Feltham, West London.


See throughput.

Fastlane Glassgate 250 entrance control security turnstileGlassgate turnstiles

Unlike Speedgate, this is not an industry term. All of the Speedgates IDL offers have vertical glass barriers that open to permit passage, and consequently, all have a model name beginning Glassgate.






The entry of a user into a building, including through a turnstile.

Integrated Design Limited (IDL)

Integrated Design Limited designs and manufactures the Fastlane and Door Detective product ranges at our facility in Feltham, West London.


A lane is a passageway through an entrance control system. Lane widths vary according to end-user requirements.

Lift Integration

Modern access control systems are able to respond to a positive authorisation with more than simple entry permission. A display might, for example, point the visitor to the quickest lift (elevator) or escalator for their specific destination. In higher-security environments, the user may be pointed to a lift that cannot travel to more secure floors. In the most secure option, credentials must be re-presented in the lift before selecting a floor, with each user granted individually determined access rights.

Locking brake

A feature, available on most Fastlane products, which causes turnstile barriers to lock in place, even if someone pushes or runs at them hard. Our flexible systems can act as you prefer, engaging the locking brakes or not, or perhaps implementing an intermediate response such as generating a silent or audible alarm, but ultimately giving way to a harder push. One or other less firm response is often programmed for the exit direction, especially due to consideration of fire or emergency.

Manned lobby

A manned lobby is an area with a security guard, typically an entranceway or lobby.

Manual operation

If a turnstile is capable of manual operation, a security guard or receptionist will be able to manually and, sometimes remotely, open or close the turnstile using a control panel.

Motorised gate

A motorised gate is a gate that opens and closes by the power of an internal motor.

NFC (Near-Field Communication)

A set of protocols that enables the communication between two electronic devices over very short distances (a few centimetres). Almost all smartphones today are NFC capable. It is not the same as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and, unlike RFID, it is capable of two-way communication. It is what performs the communication when you use mobile payment apps, or if your security system lets staff use their own smartphones as credentials.


Fastlane Glassgate 150 entrance control security speedgate turnstile with beams

Optical from Fastlane

Our range of optical turnstiles. The term optical turnstile describes an entrance control unit that monitors passage using infra-red beams, and responds to unauthorised entry by alerting guards. Our doorframe-mounted Door Detective units are a separate, optical-only solution to the Optical range.

Barrier turnstiles like our Speedgate range have an optical element also, and can be set to an optical-only mode whenever you wish, perhaps to increase throughput on some unusually busy day.




See Anti-Passback


Also referred to as a cabinet, this is the main body of the turnstile which houses the mechanism, retracted arms and all other internal hardware. Our pedestals can be customised with bespoke finishes, including different metals, paints, vinyl wrapping and more.


Another word for tailgating.

Proximity Card Reader

Often used to describe any card reader that doesn’t need the card to be inserted or swiped, but in fact, Proximity Card denotes a specific and older technology which is different from a contactless smart card. Proximity Cards do not contain a processor or memory and instead contain a simpler chip which is able to transmit the card’s unique number when activated by the card reader’s electrical field.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

A system for short range, one-way wireless communication. It is different from NFC, which is a fuller, two-way communication system. There are two sorts of component in an RFID installation. Tags are small and light and generally mobile, and can transmit only. Readers are larger, fixed elements which can receive only. RFID tags can be used as a security credential.


In graphic design and digital art, rendering means creating a 3D model in a software package like AutoCAD, and then instructing it to produce a 2D snapshot of an item or location from that. IDL can use rendering to create detailed images of what your installed turnstiles will look like, in your location, before you commit to purchase.


Our own term for the situation where two people walk side by side through a wider lane having presented just one credential. The ability to detect sidegating is much newer than with the related issue of tailgating, but our proprietary technology can analyse the interruptions to the infra-red beam matrix present in our products and spot the existence of the second person.

Smart Card

A plastic card with an embedded microprocessor and memory which can be used as a credential and for other purposes. Most smart cards today are contactless, but that is not part of the definition of a smart card.


A type of turnstile or entrance gate that is the most common option today, increasingly replacing the traditional tripod turnstile and other options due to its greater throughput. A typical speedgate, including all of the models in our own Speedgate range, has vertical glass barriers that move quickly out of the way when a credential is accepted.

Tailgatingblurred image of tailgating

Tailgating, also known as piggybacking, is the act of following someone through a turnstile or other restricted access points without presenting a second credential. It can be a case of deliberate collusion, innocent error, or a user with a valid credential but in a hurry. Even where the tailgater has a credential, it is problematic, as your system has now lost track of who is in the secured area and who is not. IDL’s products have a matrix of infra-red beams in addition to any physical barrier, and can tell from the pattern of beam interruptions when two people in sequence are trying to pass.


Also known as flow, this is the number of people that can pass through a turnstile or other entrance control point during a minute or some other stated duration. Fastlane units can process 60 users of the system per minute.


Fastlane Tripod entrance control security turnstileTripod turnstile

A traditional sort of turnstile with three metal arms that can spin in one or two directions.


A turnstile is an entrance control gate that makes it possible to monitor and control entry and exit into and out of a restricted area.

Vinyl Wrapping

Printable vinyl wrapping is the technology used, for example, in company vehicles emblazoned with a firm’s name and details. This technology is one of the many ways in which Fastlane units can be customised in appearance, and can be used to bring any colour or design you wish to your turnstiles.

If there are any terms not covered in this glossary that you’d like clarifying, please get in touch with our team on +44 (0)20 8890 5550 or email