What I learned from Paxton’s installer training

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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
April 4, 2018


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When Paxton suggested I take one of its installer training courses, I figured taking part in half of a full day’s hands-on training workshop (I skipped the second, software-focused half) might help me understand my subject matter a bit better.

For the same reasons Paxton, the UK designer and manufacturer of access control systems that accounts for 25,000 installations a year globally, puts all new staff – whatever their role – through a day of installer training too.

Having not inherited my father’s aptitude for engineering, I approached the training if not with trepidation, then without expectation that I’d grasp the technical side too easily.

Nevertheless, while I don’t think I’ll be installing door entry systems any time soon, Paxton endeavours to make the installation process of its products as simple and straightforward as possible. They’ve also made efforts to minimise or eliminate some of the most common problems encountered on the job.

That’s not to say that installing security systems is now easy. Clients increasingly demand that a myriad of security and other building systems are integrated together, and installers now have to grapple with IT and cybersecurity issues in what is now increasingly a software-based industry.

Where to get training

The training took place in the company’s new R&D and training facility, based next to its Brighton HQ.

Paxton also conducts training sessions elsewhere in the UK if that’s too far. You can even arrange training at your installation firm’s premises for groups of three or more.

The company’s global training manager, Steve Woodbridge, told me that Paxton training is the same the world over, with similar workshops also held in France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, the US, South Africa, the Middle East and Scandinavia. Installer training remains central to Paxton’s growth strategy, he added.

Last year the company trained more than 7,300 installers globally. It’s on course to eclipse those numbers comfortably

Last year the company trained more than 7,300 installers globally, 4,300 of which in the UK. It’s on course to eclipse those numbers comfortably having trained double the number of installers globally in January 2018 compared to January 2017.

Responding to strong demand from installers, the company recently introduced a new training programme for its door entry system, Net2 Entry.


Founded by Tony Ratcliffe in 1985, Paxton’s founding mission was an emphasis on product simplicity, straightforward installation and ease of use. The FT1000 company continues to operate on these values today.

Our trainer for the day, Andy Waller, also cited top-class technical support as a key part of Paxton’s offer to installers. What company would say otherwise, you might think, although there was clear agreement from at least one installer in the room that Paxton was succeeding in this goal.

All Paxton products are covered by their five-year guarantee and ultimate returns policy

Waller, a field training engineer, said that all Paxton’s products were covered by the company’s five-year guarantee. This also includes issues where the installer may be at fault.  If the problem can’t be troubleshooted by Paxton’s telephone support team then the products can be returned for a free exchange.

Training also includes some examples of common installation issues and how to rectify them.  For example, when an access control system on site is expanded, sometimes more doors are added partway along a chain rather than at either end.  This results in data rerouting to, and terminating at, the new doors, cutting doors further along the chain off from the system.

Pretending I know what I’m doing

Tips and tricks

Working in pairs as part of the hands-on workshop, we connected a single Net2 plus system, comprising a reader, control unit and exit button.

We also learned about the key features of a Net2 system these include:

  • Manage 1000 doors, up to 50,000 users
  • Event reporting
  • Scalable; add to systems easily
  • Integration with other building systems
  • Proximity, magstripe or keypad readers

And other functionality we learned about included:

  • You can have two readers per one reader port for example when readers are required at different heights. This might include a reader positioned for wheelchair access.
  • You can extend a system via IP with an existing LAN for installation flexibility
  • A Net2 Entry panel can also be registered to a SIP (session initiation protocol) server for compatibility with third-party VoIP equipment.

Waller offered a few tips and tricks for faster, simpler installation and to avoid operational problems and, thus, costly follow-up work. We learned, for instance, about the importance of installing proximity readers at suitable distance intervals, lest their signals interfere with one another.

Paxton product suite

Net2 Entry Touch brings door entry bang up to date with our touchscreen-dominated world. Developed in response to requests from customers for an aesthetically and functionally slick product, Net2 Entry Touch is a touch-screen door entry product with dynamic search functionality alongside customisable branding options.

The product has won multiple design awards – notably an iF Design Award and Red Dot product design award – and is popular among architects and in design-led environments.

Though it does boast chemically strengthened glass, Andy Waller conceded that the product might not be the wisest choice for an installation in an area with potential high vandalism risk.  For these installations, Paxton’s Net2 Entry range includes a vandal-resistant panel.

The Net2 monitor has a reassuringly simple and intuitive design

The Net2 monitor has a reassuringly simple and intuitive design.  The system can accommodate if required, up to 1,000 entry monitors per site and has a bell input and video voicemail which can store up to 20 voicemails.

Net2Air, a proprietary wireless product, allowing installation in areas where cabling might be an issue. Comprising of:

  • Net2 Nano is a wireless door controller. Commonly used in school portacabins or areas where it is difficult to run data cable, Nano can coexist with Net2 plus, Net2 Entry and Net2 PaxLock.
  • Net2 Paxlock door handle. Should the battery run out – despite battery alerts – the door can still be opened with an override key or given temporary power by holding a PP3 9V battery against contacts found on the bottom of the unit in conjunction with the presentation of a valid token.

Final thoughts

Overall I found the training well-structured and well-paced. More than just a linear run through the steps to competent installation, it also included tips and tricks for simplifying installations and avoiding repeat visits and unhappy customers.

The trainer, Andy Waller, was engaging and a nice guy to boot. He was more than happy to clarify or explain things again in a different way if anyone was confused.

Naturally, he spotlighted the merits of Paxton products, but was happy to admit limitations too – all the better for helping installers optimise their project designs (see my comments about how the Net2 Entry Touch was not suitable for high-risk environments, for instance).

Breaks between sessions were well timed – at least in terms of my concentration span. There was a tranquil, well-equipped kitchen area, with a decent coffee machine, in which to chat.

I always think food tastes better when it’s free, but the complimentary sandwiches were genuinely a high standard!

If you install Paxton systems, or would like to do so, then you can find out more and register for training here.  

Paxton is exhibiting at IFSEC International, 19-21 June 2018, ExCeL London. You can find them on stand D410. Register now.


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