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What’s inside a proximity card

A proximity card or prox card is a "contactless" smart card which can be read without inserting it into a reader device, as required by earlier magnetic stripe cards such as credit cards and "contact" type smart cards. The proximity cards are part of the contactless card technologies

What are Proximity Cards?

Because of the convenience they offer in security, identification, and access control applications, proximity cards continueInternal Components of a Proximity Card to grow in popularity, especially for door access where fast, hands-free operation is preferred.

Proximity cards use RFID (radio frequency ID) which is a wireless technology for communication between electronic devices. In the ID card industry, RFID technology enables a contactless smart card to communicate with a reader.

The technology that makes a proximity card work includes both an antenna and electronic chip. The antenna is a metallic coil, which allows the card to communicate with an external antenna. The chip is a piece of semi-conducting material (usually composed of silicon) on which an integrated circuit is embedded.

The antenna and chip are embedded inside of a proximity card at the time they are manufactured and can be used to store user information and access privileges as well as providing added security to prevent card counterfeiting. All proximity brands (ValuProx, HID, Indala, Kantech, Keri, Casi, AWID) use a similar technology where elements are embedded inside the card.

Because the cards require only close proximity to an RF antenna in order to be read, they are referred to as contactless cards. The range of operation for prox cards is typically from 2.5″ to 20″ (63.5 mm to 508 mm) depending on the reader.

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