Synel Time and Attendance Systems
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Time and Attendance Home Media FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions


What types of encoded media (badges) can be used with Synel terminals?

Synel terminals can be used with barcode, proximity, magnetic stripe, and Weigand (e.g., HID, Indala) badges.

Are there any limitations on the number of employees or locations for SYNEL terminals?

Synel terminals are scalable, to grow with your company. When using the internal memory, the terminal can accommodate thousands of employees, and by using the host database directly, its capacity is limited only by the type of database. SYNEL terminals can accommodate multiple locations operating anywhere around the world.

Can SYNEL terminals be used on their own or do they require a host computer?

SYNEL SY-XXX series terminals have the ability to collect validate and store transactions as an off-line, or 'stand-alone' unit, provided they are equipped with batteries. These terminals can perform in on-line mode (with host validation), off-line mode (batch processing), and/or a combination of both.

In the off-line mode, if the terminal cannot communicate with the host, it automatically validates and stores transactions internally. When a transaction cannot be validated locally it will request validation directly from the host database, and reject the request if the host is not available.

When host communications are re-established, the terminal can be configured to automatically send the stored transactions to the host.

In an on-line mode, all transactions performed at the SY-XXX series terminals will be sent immediately to the host for validation, processing, and return messaging.

What communication cabling can be used with Synel terminals, and what are the maximum terminal distances from the host computer?

SYNEL provides multiple communication options to suit the distance requirements and cabling of each implementation. SYNEL communicates via RS-232, RS-485, modem, and Ethernet.

Type of Cable Type of Communication Recommended Maximum Distance Configuration/
number of terminals
RS-232 Point to point 50 feet Maximum of one terminal per host, via serial connection.
RS-485 Direct 6,000 feet Facilitates communication with up to 32 terminals per serial port.
Modem 1200, 2400 or
14,000 baud rate
n/a Standard analog telephone line (often can be shared with fax or data line); automatic transfer of transactions to host may be scheduled.
(Cat 5)
Wired or wireless TBD by network configuration Terminals are assigned an IP address and connect to existing Ethernet. This connection can be established via Ethernet cabling or wirelessly with Synel's 802.11 or Blue Tooth technologies.

What are the recommended cabling, cable installation and mounting guidelines for SYNEL terminals?

Communication cabling guidelines:
1. Always use the cable recommended by Synel.
2. Thread communication and power cables a safe distance away from high voltage power supply cables.
3. When using shielded cable, make sure the ground wire is properly attached.
4. For longer-range cabling, use at least 22AWG shielded cable, or consult Synel's Technical Support team
5. For RS232/485/422 cable, use shielded twisted-pair cable.
6. For aerial installation, use NYY-shielded cable.
7. If the SY-65 converter is required (for multiple terminals or long distances) place the converter no more than 15 yards from the host PC, using 22AWG cable with RS-232 communication.

Guidelines for the installation of communication cables:
1. Install the cable away from sources of EMI (electromagnetic interference) such as:
  • Motors, generators, alternators, and transformers
  • Air conditioners, elevators
  • Radio/television transmitters, signal generators and internal communication networks
2. Cables should be installed at least:
  • 1 foot (30 cm) away from 5 KVA power lines.
  • 2 feet (60 cm) away from 5-10 KVA power lines.
  • 5 feet (1.5 meters) away from power lines exceeding 10 KVA.
3. Cables may run parallel to power lines for a maximum of 50 feet (15 meters).
4. Ideally, use a single, continuous cable for the communication line. If this is not possible, the cable should have only one indoor connection, with two connectors with appropriate shielding and covers, inside a connection box.

Mounting Guidelines:
For the user's convenience, mount the terminal at a height of approximately 4-1/2 feet, or about 1.4 meters (measured from the top of the terminal to the floor), at a distance of 6" or 15 cm. from a wall or other obstruction on the right side (closer to the sensor). For complete guidelines, please refer to the specific product manual or download a manual here

How are IP addresses assigned to the Ethernet terminal?

A Network Administrator assigns the IP address, subnet mask and port designation either at the terminal keypad in 'Setup' mode, or via the host. SYNEL Ethernet terminals work with both static IP addresses (assigned by your network administrator when your server and terminal device is configured) and dynamic IP addresses (randomly assigned from a pool of addresses each time you logon to your network).

Are SYNEL Ethernet terminals compatible with Microsoft and Novell networks?

Because the TCP/IP protocol is the same for virtually all network operating systems, Synel Ethernet terminals work with both Microsoft and Novell networks.

Biometric Fingerprint Unit:

What is biometrics?

Biometrics refers to a type of personal identification that relies upon physical characteristics that are not shared by any other individual, such as a fingerprint or an iris.

What are the benefits of using fingerprints in biometric technology?

Fingerprints are impressions made of the minute ridge formations and patterns found on the fingertips. No two persons have exactly the same arrangement of patterns, and the patterns of any one individual remain unchanged throughout life. While other characteristics may change, fingerprints do not, offering a virtually infallible means of personal identification.

Why does Synel use fingerprint technology on data collection terminals?

Fingerprint technology is valuable whenever additional security, accuracy and personal identification are desired. This type of technology provides fast and accurate verification and identification of employees for purposes of Time and Attendance and Access Control for any size company. In addition, it is fast and easy for employees to use without supervision. This method can even be used to enhance the security of existing Time and Attendance systems.

How does biometrics save money?

Biometric technology such as fingerprint verification improves employee attendance and payroll accuracy. A study published in the magazine of the American Payroll Association, called PayTech (Jan. 2002), concluded that:
  • Buddy-punching accounts for up to 5% of the total payroll
  • Overpayments caused by human error can range from 1% to 8% of total payroll costs
Biometric technology saves money by eliminating buddy-punching, because the employee's presence is absolutely essential in order for them to clock-in at work. Fingerprint technology also eliminates the need for time cards which can be manipulated, lost, stolen or damaged, and are costly to replace.

In addition to the financial benefits, biometrics also provides several other benefits to businesses. Companies that use biometric technology have more secure environments: fingerprint verification allows employers to easily restrict access to each area of a facility by setting clearance levels for each employee, protecting assets from theft or abuse.

Biometrics also eliminate the need for building keys or access cards, which can be lost, stolen, forgotten or misplaced. And, when used for both Access Control and Time and Attendance, employees will never forget to clock in or out, as applying their fingerprint to the reader for granting passage through the entrance and exit means automatic, accurate tracking of time spent 'on the job'.

How easy is it to implement biometrics?

Fingerprint units can be implemented as easily as traditional data collection devices and are scaleable to any size company. Once installed, enrolling employees into the system takes just minutes.

What is the procedure for enrolling an employee in the system?

Each employee enrolls by placing a finger on the fingerprint unit sensor. The enrollment process creates a unique template (from one to ten templates can be stored per employee ID number) with a unique identification number. Instructions are as follows:

Employee Enrollment Instructions:
It is strongly recommended that each employee practices finger positioning on the sensor prior to actual enrollment (see diagrams below).
Recommended fingers: index, middle or ring fingers (thumb and pinky fingers are typically awkward to position consistently on the sensor).
Touch the sensor's plastic casing (black) in order to discharge static electricity.
Place the higher joint of finger on the ridge lock and lower finger onto the sensor surface.

Make sure all other fingers are held straight to avoid creating an angle between the enrolled finger and the sensor surface, which will result in incorrect positioning.
Keep your finger steady.
Press your finger gently onto the panel (excessive pressure will blur the print).
Make sure your finger is touching the sensor's drive ring.
It is recommended that the minimum quality of the template be 50% and the minimum content 90% (see samples below).
Make sure you use the enrolled finger for verification!
If your finger is extremely dry, touch your forehead or the side of your nose before placing it on the sensor - do not use a wet or moist finger for scanning.

On rare occasions, it may be impossible to sample an employee's fingerprint. In this case, disable the fingerprint verification and revert to card or code mode instead for that particular employee.

Can biometric fingerprint terminals be installed outdoors?

Synel fingerprint terminals are designed for indoor use. Installing the units outdoors is not recommended and may void the warranty.

Please note: fingerprint terminals installed outdoors are not supported by Synel.

How does biometric fingerprint technology work?

Sensors capture an image of the fingerprint and use a series of algorithms to create a unique user number, which is stored in the teminal and in the central database.

There are actually two types of fingerprint systems:
verification and identification.

In a verification fingerprint unit, an employee enters his/her employee ID number by keypad or badge and places a finger on the fingerprint unit. The system then compares the fingerprint being scanned to the employee's previously enrolled fingerprint. If the fingerprints match, the employee's identity is verified and the transaction is accepted.

In an identification fingerprint unit, the employee simply places a finger on the scanner. The system compares the fingerprint being scanned to all templates stored in the database, searching for a match. If a match is found, the employee is positively identified and the transaction is accepted.

How accurate is biometric fingerprint technology?

The system can be set for various security levels from 1 through 5. Level 3 (the default setting) ensures a 1 in 1000 False Acceptance Rate (FAR). Setting the unit to the highest level and enrolling two fingers will achieve a better than 1 in 1,000,000 (one million) FAR.

Can the templates be used by other databases?

The templates created by the fingerprint unit for each finger can be distributed to other terminals after enrollment, or they can be uploaded to, or requested from, the terminal using an application on the host system. Synel's SyServer software facilitates the integration of this data with any database.

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