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What is a telephone entry system?

A telephone entry system is used to communicate with a visitor at a secured entry point such as a common entry door to an office or apartment building. Once communication is established, the visitor may be granted/denied access remotely. The most popular model used is basically a speed dialing hands-free telephone with the ability to open a door. The unit is wired to a separate phone line, just as any telephone, and tenant telephone numbers are programmed into the unit for auto dial. When a visitor dials a predetermined code, i.e. apartment number/suite number, the system dials that tenant's phone number. When the tenant answers he/she can then press a number on the telephone to allow the visitor to open the door. Many models are available with a variety of options relating to mounting, finish, and directory listings of tenants.


Another type of telephone entry system available is sometimes referred to as a "no phone line" type system. This system looks and functions like a "phone line" type system; however, instead of using a separate phone line to dial out, it is physically wired into the tenant(s) phone lines.

There are applications suited for both types of systems depending on the situation. See the chart below for comparisons.

"Phone Line" Requires separate phone line.

Monthly charges apply

Visitor receives a busy signal if they don't have call waiting service Ringing from entrance cannot be distinguished from an "outside" call. Any telephone number can be programmed, even off site. Useful for property managers. Recommended for office buildings because of the variety of phone systems in use. Also larger multi tenant buildings.
"No phone line" Extra equipment is required. Higher initial cost. Call waiting is built into system. Not required by tenant Distinctive ring from entrance. Can be distinguished from an "outside" call. Only tenants in the building can receive calls and allow access to visitors. Not recommended for office buildings or buildings with inadequate phone wiring.



Telephone entry systems for homes/businesses.

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These systems provide a cost effective alternative to running wire throughout a home or business for an intercom system. The smaller size of these units make them more suitable for home use than multi unit systems as described above. The system consists of a speaker with call button (or keypad depending on the model) which when pressed rings the homeowners telephones. As with the "no phone bill" system mentioned above, the system provides a distinctive ring to let the homeowner know they have a visitor. In addition, a call waiting feature is built into these systems allowing the user to put an exsting call on hold to answer the door or gate, allow visitor access, and return to the call in progress.

These systems can work equaly well for small businesses as described above with single line phones or they can be hooked into a small business phone system on an unused "CO" line port. You need to verify with your telephone system vendor if you have any line ports available. Your telephone system may already  have a provision to add a door/gate speaker in which case you should contact your telephone vendor for information.