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This guide covers the most popular telephone entry systems used for apartment and condo buildings. Most buildings are moving to video intercom systems due to rise in landline costs and lack of security and auditing.
Jump to a specific section:
- Landline usage statistics
- Entry systems with video (video intercoms)
- Best Telephone Entry Systems
- Best intercoms for apartment buildings
- Best intercom systems for offices
Best telephone entry systems for buildings
What are telephone entry systems?
Telephone entry systems are intercoms placed outside an apartment or condo building, that provide ability for visitors to communicate with residents. The visitor can start a call on a tele entry system, which uses a traditional phone line to make a phone call to a resident’s phone. The resident can receive the call, have an audio call and generally press a button to send a signal to release the door remotely.
Landline Usage is declining
Landlines are a dying breed, however still used for many telephone based building entry systems.
36% households still had a landline in 2020, but this number is rapidly dwindling.
According to the latest CDC-NHIS survey, fewer than 40% of U.S. households now have a working landline telephone. So, why do you still want to use a telephone line for building entry? The answer is that you don’t.
Telephone Entry Systems with Video
Most apartment and multi-tenant commercial buildings are moving to video intercoms, instead of telephone intercoms. While telephone intercoms have been common, the new video intercom technology has rendered them obsolete. Video intercom systems are getting popular due to the following reasons:
- Package theft is a major problem now and video intercom ensures verification of the person before letting them in
- Video intercoms provide remote door buzzer capability which is very convenient when you are away from home. You can unlock the door from the app anytime
- Video intercoms are often cheaper to retrofit, since they dont require landline costs, and can be programmed much more easily through a web browser without technical training
Watch how the Swiftlane video intercom system works
Top Telephone Entry Systems Available in 2022
We have so far established that anyone looking to buy a telephone entry system in 2022 is probably looking for a smartphone- and cloud-based system, considering all the advantages that we just discussed.
Let’s look at the 10 of the best systems available on the market today and try to figure out which particular make and model your building might need.
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Best Apartment Intercom Systems
Best Office Intercoms
Doorking 2112 eVolve Telephone Entry System
Doorking is the telephone entry system most of us grew up using. The solid-state DKS push-button entry station is the staple of American multifamily buildings.
Is Door King Right for Your Building?
The 2112 has a browser-based control interface, so users just need an internet connection to program and control their system virtually from anywhere. The DKS 2112 mobile app lets users grant remote entry to guests. The hardware can control up to 3 entry points and place calls on up to 4 cell phones simultaneously. eVolve video entry system can connect to the internet via Ethernet or via cellular data connection by adding a piece of hardware to the main door station.
Doorking security issues
Please note, that many Doorking models have known security issues and can be easily opened by intruders with easily available hacks. This video sums it all up:
How DKS Cellular Entry System Works
Considering DKS Telephone Entry System? Read the Full Review
Read our blog on the best apartment intercom systems
Linear EntryPro Telephone Entry System
Founded in 1961, Linear is a leading manufacturer of telephone entry systems, gate and garage door operators for multifamily communities. The Company’s flagship model EntryPro is a 36-door telephone entry system that can be expanded to 64 doors.
Is Linear Entry Pro Right for Your Building?
Though sleek and modern-looking, EntryPro depends on plain old telephone lines for installation and operation. It provides clear two-way voice audio calls but does not support video calling. Remote management, self management and mobile calling features are also not available. The system can, however, provide VoIP functionality through third-party adapters.
How Linear Telephone Entry Works
Considering Linear Telephone Entry System? Read the Full Review
Viking Door Entry Phones
Viking Door Phones are legacy devices used for two way voice and video communication at single-family homes as well as small-scale multi-tenant applications. A traditional entry telephone in every sense, the Viking Entry System depends on POTS (plain old telephone service) to work.
Is Viking Telephone Entry Right for Your Building?
Some of the Viking models (such as the AES-2005F and 2005S include a color video camera, so the recipient can see who they are talking to. Viking also offers multiple models of door entry phones for individual apartment units. You could say Viking is a plain old telephone entry system that offers none of the latest features and benefits that today’s cloud-based cellular entry systems do. Viking recently introduced touch free entry in its door intercom model E-30TF-IP, a VoIP entry phone that uses a motion sensor to enable touchless calling.
How Viking IP Telephone Entry System Works
Kantech Telephone Entry System
Straight out of a ‘80s James Bond flick, these classical-looking electronic devices are still in service at many small, medium and large buildings, gated multifamily communities, and industrial sites. Kantech Telephone Entry System (KTES) is a part of Tyco, so the equipment can work seamlessly with a full range of Tyco security products.
Is Kantech Right for Your Building?
The KTES enables residents to communicate directly with visitors from a telephone landline or cellular phone and grant or deny access with the touch of a button. The system can be managed remotely using Kantech’s EntraPass software. It has a built-in directory that can store upto 3,000 contacts and can use one phone line to support up to five units.
How Kantech Telephone Entry System Works
Mircom Integrated Telephone Entry Systems
Mircom is another well established manufacturer of apartment intercom systems and accessories. The Company has been providing a broad range of voice entry and communication products since 1991. Its latest offerings include TX3 Series Touch Screen Voice Entry Systems. The TX3-TOUCH-22, TX3-TOUCH-15 and TX3-Nano come with built-in HD cameras for video communications between the entry station and apartment units.
Is Mircom Right for Your Building?
Mircom Telephone Entry System looks modern and impressive with their large 15” and 22” full color touchscreen interfaces. Behind the slick-looking faceplate, Mircom offers a 2,000 names electronic directory and TCP/IP connectivity for remote programming using a PC. The system uses SIP calling to connect with mobiles, although many router models are blocking Mircom provided SIP services. Mobile video and audio calling is provided via the MiEntry mobile app, which only works with specific TX3 series touch phone models. All in all, it is a traditional telephone entry system with a few modern tweaks that give it video and mobile calling capabilities.
How Mircom TX3 Touch Telephone Entry System Works
Interested in Mircom Telephone Entry? Read in-depth Review
Liftmaster Video Intercom Entry System
You may recognize Liftmaster from its automatic garage door openers and heavy-duty commercial gate operators. The Chamberlain Group owned brand also provides a range of access control products and audio and video intercom entry systems.
Is Liftmaster Right for Your Building?
The Liftmaster device looks sleek and impressive. The system can be managed from anywhere through the cloud. Residents can receive visitor calls on their smartphone running the myQ mobile app and unlock the door remotely. The entry phone has a 1080p camera that can make only one way video calls and requires a Phone.com VOIP subscription.
How Liftmaster CAPX Video Entry Works
Considering Liftmaster Telephone Entry? Read the full review.
Summit Control Telephone Entry System
Summit Control Ascent X1 is a cellular telephone entry system with a keypad. The system can control up to two gates or doors and allows rollover 4G LTE calling and SMS notifications to auto three different phone numbers. It can also capture HD still shots of the visitor and send them to your mobile phone via the Summit Control mobile app.
Is Summit Control Right for Your Building?
The Ascent X1 is a traditional telephone entry system that has seen better days. Summit Control has tried to keep pace with the advancing technology by introducing mobile app notifications and remote unlocking feature, but has stopped short of video calling. You can control up to 2 doors through six different control methods including app, text, voice, call button, or keypad. You can add or remove Up to 10,000 users and assign up to 1,000 keypad codes using Summit Control’s online portal.
AES Telephone Entry System
AES Global is one of the largest manufacturers of telephone entry and access control products including cellular, wireless, IP and hard-wired entry intercom systems. AES’ wireless range of Spartan intercoms uses RF to call up to 4 apartment units or handsets. Its Multicom family of LTE intercoms can directly call up to 1000 apartments (3 users per apartment) from a single SIM card. The recipient can speak to the person at the door and release the door by dialing a code on their mobile.
Is AES Right for Your Building?
AES fundamentally uses outdated technologies to which it has added modern tweaks over the years. Video calling is only available on the hardwired StylusCom domestic intercom. Most of its products are designed for domestic use and small apartment buildings,except the Multicom Classic. There’s no cloud coverage and the RF wireless models have a working range of 150 yards only.
AES Multicom Classic Video Review
FAAC Entry Automation System
FAAC is a more than 50 years old British manufacturer of gate-, door-, and barrier-automation and access control products. FAAC does not offer a voice or video based telephone entry product. However, you can control each door from mobile devices running the Simply Connect mobile app. Using the app, you can authorize employees, residents or suppliers to personally open and close each entrance.
Is FAAC Cellular Entry Right for Your Building?
FAAC may be a good solution to manage and control entry gates, barriers, parkings, and community access, but it does not offer the benefits of modern video intercom and cellular entry systems. It is much harder to customize and scale compared to modern cloud-based entry systems.
Recommended reading for you: Best Office Intercom Systems
Swiftlane Video Intercom
Which Telephone Entry System Should I Buy?
10 Questions Every Building Owner Must Ask
In addition to the number of entrances and units that you need to manage, the choice of the best telephone building entry system depends on the needs of the community occupying and managing your building.
Here are 10 questions you must ask before investing in a telephone entry system.
- Do your residents want to take visitor calls when they are not in their units?
- Do employees and residents need to manage and program the system remotely?
- Would they want to unlock the door remotely using their mobile phones?
- Would your residents or employees like to watch the person at the door as they speak to them?
- Is package theft or porch piracy an existing or potential problem at your building?
- Would you like to enable your security team or residents to program self access for certain guests?
- Does your facility require facial recognition access? Do you want to offer it as a value multiplier?
- Do you need built-in access control, video monitoring, and multifactor authentication?
- Will you need to install POTS lines in each apartment or office unit in your building?
- Do you want your entry telephone system to look sleek and offer all of the advantages of a fully integrated multi-tenant video intercom and cloud-based access control system?
If you answered all of these questions with a ‘yes,’ we’re afraid none of the 10 best systems that you read about it might perform to your entire satisfaction. You need a system that is futuristically modern, fully featured, and insanely user friendly—a mobile and cloud based system like Swiftlane.
Telephone Entry Systems FAQs
What is a telephone entry system?
A telephone entry system allows residents to unlock the door remotely by pressing a button on their landline or mobile phone, depending on the type of system used. The term telephone entry system, sometimes also called an intercom entry system, broadly refers to a variety of telecommunication devices and software used to gain access to a building. Different telephone entry systems can use different backend technologies, but their end goal is the same—to establish voice and sometimes video communication between the front door and the residents or tenants of a building, so that visitors can call their hosts and request entry.
How do telephone entry systems work?
Legacy telephone entry systems use POTS (plain old telephone service) lines to relay frequency modulated voice signals to hardwire handsets inside the building. The latest telephone entry systems use wireless technologies such as WiFi, LTE and SIP to enable VoIP voice, video and data communications between the entry station and the recipients smartphones as well as a cloud server, which stores the visitor data and runs numerous apps to provide a diversity of benefits; such as remote management, easy scalability, and a variety of access control methods.
How much do telephone entry systems cost?
The price of a simple two-door telephone entry system may start from $1,000 and may go upto $10,000 or more for an all-in-one multi-tenant telephone entry and access control system. This does not include the cost of installation hardware and labor charges.
How do I get a telephone entry system repaired?
Telephone entry systems can develop hardware and software issues when not serviced and upgraded regularly. How you get it fixed would depend on where you bought it from. If it is a fully serviced system such as Swiftlane, you have nothing to worry about. The system will auto detect the problem and alert our technical team, who will resolve the problem remotely or by visiting the site. Often, it might be cheaper to upgrade to a smart video intercom rather than paying for maintenance and service costs of telephone systems.
Here are some of the things you can do if you need to get a self-serviced telephone entry system repaired.
- Contact your local installer. They might be able to help
- Search for contact info of security company that installed the system
- Consider replacing with a newer system, which might be cheaper to maintain and have more functionality, like video intercom systems
What are the different types of telephone entry systems?
Some confusion prevails over the types of telephone entry systems. Many times, two or more terms are used to describe the same type of system. For example, smartphone and cellular entry systems are also wireless entry systems using different technologies. Single-tenant and multi-tenant entry systems can be IP based, hardwired, cloud-based or cellular systems.
Swiftlane experts have identified at least 10 different classifications of telephone entry systems that you can find on the market today.
POTS or Landline Entry Systems: These systems use the plain old telephone cables to place calls to the reception or to each individual apartment, depending on whether you are using a single-tenant or multi-tenant system.
IP Entry Systems: IP based entry systems use Ethernet cables, TCP/IP or WiFi broadband to log on to the internet and perform a variety of tasks, such as data transfer, VoIP audio and video calling, remote door operation, cloud computing, and more.
Wireless Entry Systems: Older generation wireless entry systems used radio frequency (RF) to transmit data over the air. The transmissions are captured by receivers and converted back into voice and video. RF is prone to electrical interference and restricted in range. Latest wireless systems use broadband, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, and 4G technologies.
Multi-tenant Systems: Multi-tenant telephone entry systems are deployed at the entrance of multi-tenant office buildings and multifamily apartment communities. Visitors can place calls from the entry station to each individual apartment unit or office suite. The capacity of a multi-tenant telephone entry system may range from 2 or 4 units to multiple entry phones and hundreds of units across multiple buildings.
Based on the technology used, multi-tenant intercom systems can use telephone cables or modern wireless technologies to relay voice, video, and data between the entry phone and multiple landline or mobile phones in each unit.
Single-tenant Systems: These systems are designed for single-family homes and small offices. A single main door or gate phone can place calls to an indoor handset and also to a certain number of mobile phones, depending on the technology.
Cloud Based Entry Systems: The latest generation building entry systems make use of cloud-based software to connect visitors with residents via VoIP and LTE video and audio calling. The entry station is connected to the cloud and can run various apps to execute a variety of functions, such as remote door release, access control, video surveillance, and more.
Cloud managed telephone entry systems do not require maintenance or upgrades at the users end. Most of these systems can be self-managed by the user and are available for minimal capital expenditure and easy pay-as-you-go pricing.
Cellular Entry Systems: These systems use cellular technologies such as GSM and LTE to route calls to the recipient’s mobile phone. A SIM needs to be inserted in some of the models and you have to keep it loaded. Some POTS models can be converted to Cellular by installing additional hardware and an LTE switch.
Telephone Entry Systems with Cameras: Cameras can be added to many telephone entry systems that we have discussed in this article. This gives the tenants or residents more security and convenience as they can see the person who is calling. Telephone systems with cameras also store photo logs and also send them to designated mobile numbers via MMS or mobile app. Latest video intercom entry systems such as Swiftlane include built-in HD cameras and can make video calls to the recipient’s smartphone through proprietary mobile applications.
Intercom Entry Systems: The term intercom entry systems is used synonymously with telephone entry systems, simply because an entry telephone is basically an intercom. Today’s intercom entry systems reside in the cloud and provide audio and video calling capabilities as well as remote management from mobile apps and browser interfaces.Integrated Entry Systems: Integrated or smart entry systems join multiple technologies to create a unified building access control and security system. Some of the functionalities that integrated building entry systems provide can include audio and video calling, mobile app and browser unlock, keycard access, smartphone access, and face recognition access. Being cloud based, these systems can be integrated with a myriad of cloud apps such as Active Directory, fire alarm systems, video surveillance systems, and more. The best thing about these latest-generation systems is you and your staff can easily manage and customize them using native mobile apps and browser interfaces.
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