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  • Writer's pictureProdataKey

How to Build the Perfect PDK System

The perfect PDK system with a diagram of how the PDK products work together

Wondering how to build the perfect ProdataKey system? In the quickly evolving landscape of security technology, deploying reliable and efficient access control is a must for organizations of all sizes and industries. When it comes to designing a solution for your clients, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. This article is a comprehensive guide to maximizing PDK’s products to their fullest potential.

Needs and goals on a blueprint

Access Needs and Goals

Before diving into the installation process, the first step is to define the organization’s needs and goals while on the job walk. Ask discovery questions about what the organization would like to accomplish with its access control system, and find out their experience managing their previous system to identify how PDK can improve upon it. Consider the size of the premises, the existing infrastructure, the number of users, and how many access points are needed. From here, you can begin to build the system layout, determine the labor involved, and offer the customer the right products.

Existing Infrastructure & System Design

Having a good idea of the building’s existing infrastructure is crucial to building an optimum system design. Sean Blaisdell, PDK Inside General Sales Manager, points out that determining the type of ceiling the building has is important.

“Running wire is much more simplistic when the ceiling is drop tile. If it's a hard cap, then you obviously can’t run wire above the ceiling and hide it,”

Sean Blaisdell, Inside General Sales Manager at PDK

On the job walk, it’s also essential to determine the location of the MDF/IDF (the network). You will want to start building the system around this location because the central cloud node must be connected to the network.

The flexibility of the PDK system means that there are often many options for how to design a system. It’s common for integrators to centralize all headend equipment (Cloud Node, controllers) in a single location and run the wiring out to all the doors. In instances where each entry is far from the network, it may make more sense to put the controller above the door and run a single wire back to the network.

System Surveyor on a monitor

“When it pertains to the reader’s distance to the controller, there’s only so many feet you can go before you start getting pretty severe communication delays. In larger installs, you may have multiple locations where there are network drops; if there are, now you can really get creative with your design,” says Blaisdell. PDK is an integration partner with System Surveyor, a design software platform that allows integrators to create effective designs and accurate bills of materials easily.

Red Cloud Node

Selecting Hardware

The key components of a PDK access control system are the Cloud Node, controllers, readers, and credentials. The Cloud Node is the primary system panel and gateway to the cloud platform. Each site requires only one Cloud Node to communicate with all local door controllers. To future-proof your installations for later expansion, Blaisdell typically recommends PDK’s RCNEW Cloud Node, which is enabled with both Ethernet and Wireless. Having the Wireless capability allows you to be flexible when installing extra doors in the future.

Controllers are added to quickly scale a system with network, PoE, and wireless options. ProdataKey offers a wide range of Red high-security controller options, including one-door, eight-door, outdoor, and auxiliary controllers, to meet the needs of organizations of any size. Their plug-and-play functionality makes initial installation and further scalability a breeze. Adding a PDK WiMac module to a controller can be very useful when extending the network to a gate or other outdoor location.

PoE ++ and Wireless module

Readers are placed at any entry that needs to be controlled, like a lobby, individual offices, storage rooms, parking garages, or any other area requiring security. ProdataKey offers a variety of reader options for any application, including Red High-Security, Ruggedized, and Keypad Readers. When designing a system, it is important to consider the environmental factors of the site. PDK Rugged Readers are great for outdoor applications as they are resistant to damage from severe temperatures, weather, and vandalism.

PDK Red Readers offer the most versatility and breach protection with high-security, standard prox, keypad, and Bluetooth options. Blaisdell recommends putting Red readers in all installs as another way to future-proof and save costs down the line. Even if a customer chooses not to use BLE credentials initially, if they decide to upgrade in the future, all it will require will be making a simple change in the software.

Red Readers

One often overlooked aspect of an effective access control system is door position sensors/switches (DPS). They are critical because they allow users to monitor a door’s open/closed status.

“If you can’t determine what’s going on with your door, you eliminate a lot of what the power of the PDK software allows you to do. You can create system events that notify you if something happens with the door. It’s a very underrated, very inexpensive addition to the system,”

Sean Blaisdell


ProdataKey’s open API allows customers to integrate their access control system with many other 3rd-party platforms, including video surveillance, intercom systems, and visitor management, to build a comprehensive security solution. VMS systems work hand in hand with access control to offer visual verification for any access event. With PDK’s open API, integration possibilities are essentially endless. In cases where customers have their own platform, “we can build an integration so that they can utilize the app they have created but have PDK operating in the back end,” says Blaisdell. Operating various systems under one unified platform delivers a streamlined user experience.

PDKio API showing integrations

Measuring Success

Ultimately, creating an efficient, convenient, and secure customer solution is the top priority. The unique thing about access control is that it can truly transform how people go about their day to day. Building the perfect PDK system requires skillful design, thoughtful consideration of hardware and software components, and planning for the future. The PDK team is there every step of the way.


The Perfect PDK system sheet



Listen in to the conversation with the PDK Inside Sales Team, as we talk about what goes into building the perfect PDK system.


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