ID Cards

Understanding the 26-Bit Proximity Card Format

The industry’s most common proximity card format is a 26-bit card (also referred to as H10301). This is an open format which allows you as the consumer to order proximity cards from any photo identification retailer. This is essential in helping keep your costs down for the cards while ensuring ongoing access to purchasing them for years to come.

One of the biggest complaints we receive on a daily basis is the vendor a customer used to order their Proximity cards from has shut down and are no longer in business.

Other proximity card formats may include

  • 37-bit (also called H10302)
  • 40-bit (also known as C10106)
  • many proprietary formats

Proprietary formats are more secure, but they are routinely higher in price and considerably more difficult to order, especially if your vendor closes their business.

HID and the various other manufacturers offer their proximity technology in several options, such as cards, fobs, and micro prox tags. Essentially, all of these formats work the same on your door access control readers. They require the facility code and start number programmed in order for your access control system to recognize your card.

What is a Facility Code?

This is a number that represents the facility or building that the card will be used in, and it will be the same for all employees at a location. Your Facility Code is a number that’s programmed on every single proximity card in your ID card program.

With a 26-bit card, the maximum Facility Code you can choose is 255. Some access control systems allow multiple facility codes to do one of the following three things:

  • accommodate restricted access points in your facility
  • differentiate certain personnel or departments
  • allow for access across multiple office locations

With a 26-bit card, the number must be between 0 and 255. Some access control systems allow multiple facility codes to accommodate to companies with more than one location. You may see Facility Code abbreviated as FC and some companies use the term site code, which is the same thing.

What is a Start Number or Serial Number?

For a 26-bit format, every proximity card will have a unique start number programmed into it. This is used to identify or represent each cardholder (this can include employees, contractors, vendors, etc.). Your access control software will allow the system administrator to set access privileges for each card holder.

With a standard 26-bit card, the maximum start number that can be programmed on a card is 65,535. If your company has more employees or if you want increased security, you may want to consider HID’s Corporate 1000 programming option. To get the most out of your system, you will want to take steps to prevent cards with duplicate serial numbers.

Brand Name or Compatible Prox Cards?

In addition to offering genuine HID proximity cards, we also carry other brands and compatible options that will work on your 26-bit system. An example of a compatible 26-bit card is our ValuProx proximity cards.

The biggest benefit of the ValuProx option is the significant savings you and your bottom line will notice — both up front and when you determine your cost per card. In addition, the ValuProx cards can be ordered in smaller quantities for those who don’t need larger volume proximity card orders.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Prox cards are custom programmed with the facility code and start numbers requested by you. For this reason, it’s important to have the correct numbers at the time an order is placed.

Quick TipJust like HID proximity cards, ValuProx cards are universally compatible with 125kHz prox card readers. To ensure compatibility, reorder with the details from the packaging on your original order or call an ID Professional.

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