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The Complete ID
Printer Buyer's Guide

This guide walks you through all the important considerations you'll need to know when selecting an ID card printer.

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Understanding iCLASS Cards

Understanding iCLASS Cards

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Created as a powerful and secure upgrade to standard proximity cards, iCLASS smart card technology gives users more flexibility and data security. Key upgrades you’ll find in iCLASS cards include mutual authentication between card and reader, encrypted data transfer, and 64-bit diversified keys for read/write capabilities.

What’s the Difference Between Prox & iCLASS Cards?

Proximity cards first became popular in the 1990s and provided convenience over traditional locks and keys when controlling access into buildings or secure areas. Still common today, prox cards are easy to scan and lost or stolen keys can be quickly turned off for security (a cheaper and easier option than changing locks on your doors).

But prox cards have limits – they are read-only, the data is not secured, and cannot contain multiple IDs or other data types.

iCLASS smart cards evolved to meet those limitations by using 13.56MHz high frequency technology. This allows an iCLASS card and the reader to communicate and mutually authenticate the card’s data, adding important layers of security to your card program.

Most often, iCLASS cards are used as a transition between an older prox system and a modern smart card system because the larger, more secure cards can be used for more than just access control like cashless payment systems for parking, vending machines, or cafeterias.

What Forms Do iCLASS Cards Come In?

iCLASS cards come in a wide range of forms, just like the prox cards you may be more familiar with. You can choose from:

  • Standard CR80 30mil size cards
  • Clamshell cards
  • Adhesive tags
  • Key fobs