RFID or NFC Access Control?

I’m toying with the idea of doing some sort of an access control system beyond the code-based deadbolts that a lot of us use. I’ve been looking at some of the HID proximity cards, and trying to figure out a good solution like that. Implants are something that I’ve always found fascinating, and I would absolutely do if I had a good working use case like this. However, there’s no way I’ll convince anyone else to do that. So, I’ve found several rings that are using either NFC or RFID, and I’m trying to figure out what the best route to go with would be. General idea would be a reader by the front door, wave your hand, door unlocks.

There are some good RFID readers out there already by Honeywell (OmniProx) that speak the Wiegand protocol, and would probably be fairly easy to integrate with ESPHome to throw the messages over MQTT. However, it would also be cool to use NFC and be able to authenticate with your phone (Although, iOS hasn’t given us full access to card emulation yet). Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any of the same commercial-grade readers for NFC. Both passive RFID & NFC tags seem to run at 13.56 MHz (With most HID prox cards running at 125 KHz). NFC is supposedly a subset of RFID (I think?) The Honeywell OmniClass series works at 13.56 MHz, but I don’t see any mention of NFC.

Am I just missing something? Should I just stick to RFID? I’ve seen a couple of topics where people are pulling this off with custom hardware, but I’d like something I can slap on the outside of my house and not have to worry about falling apart.

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I think using a dedicated NFC or RFID reader might be overkill. There’s an app for connecting NFC tags to Hass.io scripts. It’s super simple. Install the app, setup the config with your home assistant, then program the NFC stickers. I use the stickers for locks and doors, I even painted over them and they still work. I’ve only tried it on Android, so I can’t speak to the iOS version. I’m using Nabu-casa for external access, but at one point i had it connected to a duck DNS url - but i don’t think you’d need even that, because presumable you’d be connected to your home network when you were locking/unlocking at home.
Here’s the app:
Here’s a thread about it:
Hass NFC - Control Home Assistant with NFC tags
Here’s some NFC stickers that I got on Amazon. (You can get them even cheaper from Aliexpress)

There’s going to be a similar functionality built into iOS 13 coming later this month, and I’ve thought about doing that. You just put your device to a tag, and something is triggered by the device. The thing is that I’d like to do this the other way around. User has the tag, not the reader. This way, you could embed the tag into something like a ring, bracelet, implant, or even a card, and give that to the user. User swipes their badge, something happens.

Think of unlocking your front door with the Jedi hand wave.

I’m also considering looking at BLE to unlock the door if I walk up with the right device. Again, the Honeywell OmniClass readers seem to be able to do everything. I just haven’t seen anyone integrate them with HASS. Although, they do still speak Wiegand. I might just give it a shot.

One of these https://esphome.io/components/binary_sensor/pn532.html plus an esp82566/esp32 should do the trick, but you’ll need to put it in something and supply power.

We have rfid tags at our office to enter the building and the floor we occupy. We have key tags like this size. https://www.adafruit.com/product/363. You have to wave them pretty close to the reader to get the door to unlock. It’s kinda jedi waving your keyring at the door and it unlocks, but the other keys rattle :slight_smile:

The office one is something installed by the landlord, I have no idea what lies behind the box on the wall.

Hi !

I want to do the same kind of system with a real reader on the door and some RFID wearable device to open the door. The goal is to NOT use any smartphone in the process as I want to be able to open the door even with no battery…

So today I’ve found only one solution on the market that sound pretty easy to do (still not done) : https://www.planete-domotique.com/blog/2018/09/07/lecteur-biometrique-zwave/
The guide is in French but you’ll understand it very easily with the wiring schematic : they use a ZKteko reader that is able to output Weigand as well but also some logic output. Those output are connected to a Zwave module but you can even put it on a Raspberry Pi or whatever you want like an ESPhome device

As I have already said this is entirely possible with quite cheap hardware in terms of the reader.

The problem with the cheap hardware is that it simply looks like crap and whatever 3D printed enclosure won’t hold up to the elements if you mount it outside. That’s the main reason to look into commercial-grade hardware, most of which speak the Wiegand protocol.

My primary question was if there was some sort of a commercial-grade NFC reader, as I can find RFID all day. However, in doing some more digging, it would appear that the Honeywell OmniClass readers can read MIFARE NFC tags. They are just 10x more expensive than the OmniProx series…

With that said, it would be cheapest to get a Honeywell OmniProx reader and just stick with 125kHZ RFID tags.

Interfacing should be fairly straightforward, as there are established Arduino libraries out there that you can probably build into ESPHome as a custom component. I’m in the process of moving right now, but I will probably look into this once I get settled in the new house. You could use something like this to use these commercial-grade readers.

If anyone currently has access to any of these components, I would be more than happy to help get them integrated as an ESPHome custom component. I would love to have the badge reader outside of my front door, do the jedi hand wave, and the door unlocks.

Additionally, most companies who install these types of access control systems buy way more readers than they actually need, and it’s really easy to find liquidated overstock for cheaper than the PN532 boards. And, again, they look way better.

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Hi all,
Please notice that NFC and RFID don’t have any security onboard. Google Attiny85 nfc and you can simulate your own chip.
You can use the for activating an alarm but I don’t use it for door locks


I am using the M5Stack with RFID face to arm/disarm my alarm. The housing looks Rather professional.

Gr. Remco

I ended up going with NFC. Instead of putting out readers, I just put out tags and used my phone to essentially authenticate. Actually looks way cleaner, as the tags can be painted the same color as whatever they’re attached to, and they blend right in. An iOS shortcut is executed on my phone that will toggle the lock via HomeKit.

The only thing I need to get better at is digging through my logs and firing off a notification of who triggered the event for the sake of audit logging.

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So nothing to do with home assistant in the end :slight_smile:

Actually, all of my devices are presented to HomeKit via Home Assistant. It’s just the way I figured out how to do it.

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