The following table lists the differences between a hardware zone, a virtual zone, and an I/O zone, and can help you decide which type of zone you need to create.
|Characteristics||Hardware zone||Virtual zone||I/O zone|
|Recommended use||Hardware zones are recommended when quick responses and offline operations are crucial for your security system.||Virtual zones are recommended when flexibility is required, and when access control units are not available.||I/O zones are recommended when quick responses, offline operation, and I/O linking across multiple units are required.|
|Role||Access Manager||Zone Manager||Access Manager|
|Required unit type||HID or Synergis™ unit||Any type of unit with inputs and outputs1||Synergis™ units2|
|Unit operation mode||Online and Offline||Online||Online and Offline|
|I/O linking execution||Access control unit||Zone Manager||Master unit3|
|I/O linking (inputs)||All inputs must be from the same unit||Can combine inputs from any unit of any type||Can combine inputs from any unit|
|Logical operator (inputs)||OR/AND||OR/AND||OR|
|I/O linking (outputs)||All outputs must be from the same unit as the inputs||Can trigger outputs on any unit of any type||Can trigger outputs on any unit|
|I/O linking configuration||Zone configuration + event-to-actions||Zone configuration + event-to-actions||Zone configuration alone|
|Arm/disarm from Security Desk||No||Yes||Yes5|
|Arm/disarm using actions||No||Yes||Yes5|
|Arm/disarm using key switch||Yes6||No||No|
|Arm/disarm on schedule||Yes7||Yes8||Yes9|
|Arming delay||OFF/ON (mm:ss)||OFF/ON (mm:ss)||No|
|Entry delay||OFF/ON (mm:ss)||OFF/ON (mm:ss)||No|
2 Requires Security Center 5.5 and later, and Synergis™ Softwire 10.2 and later.
3 The master unit is the Synergis™ unit that you select to do I/O linking.
4 Up to 15 Synergis™ units can communicate directly with each other, as long as they are all under the same Access Manager.
5 The master unit must be online.
6 The key switch must be wired to an input on the same access control unit.
7 Only one schedule at a time, and cannot be combined with the key switch approach.
8 Supports multiple schedules.
9 Supports multiple schedules, including exception schedules.