Fixed Or Rolling Code: Which Garage Door Opener Is More Secure?

There are two different types of entry systems available for garage doors -- fixed code and rolling code systems. While both systems open your garage door with a simple push of a button, one is far more secure than the other. Read on to learn about the differences between fixed and rolling code garage door openers, and why, if you're storing valuables in your garage, it's best you implement the latter option.

How A Garage Door Opener Works

A garage door opener has two components -- a remote transmitter and a receiver. The remote transmitter is the part of the system that you keep in your car; it's the little battery-operated device that you push a button on to open your garage door. When your entry system is programmed, your receiver (located on your garage door) is set to understand a particular set of codes associated with your transmitter.

When you push the "open" button on your transmitter, the action closes a circuit and allows your transmitter to send a coded radio frequency signal to the receiver on your garage door. If the receiver understands this signal, your garage door will open.

Fixed Code Transmitters

If you've got a fixed code transmitter, your remote will send the same exact code to your garage door receiver each and every time. The transmitted code is one of 4,096 possibilities available for fixed-code transmitters. While this is a rather large number, it's not considered entirely secure in today's technological world.

In fact, since the transmitted code is the same every time, some tech-savvy individuals have developed ways to log the keystrokes pushed on garage door transmitters. Should somebody log the keystrokes on your fixed code garage door entry system, they can enter your garage and gain access to your belongings any time they wish.

There are some advantages to fixed code transmitters, though. Because the codes can be easily duplicated, you can usually have a duplicate transmitter made quite easily by any garage door vendor should you happen to lose your original. However, if your neighborhood sees its fair share of theft, it's best you opt for a rolling code transmitter.

Rolling Code Transmitters

Instead of transmitting the same code to your garage door receiver each and every time, rolling code transmitters alternate that code so that the same code is never delivered twice in a row. The receivers on these systems have a large memory and, during programming, are set to understand a code sequence instead of a single coded frequency. While your transmitter will deliver a different code each time, each code will follow the predetermined sequence, thus enabling the receiver to understand the codes and open your garage door.

Unlike the minimal 4,096 code possibilities of fixed code systems that can be duplicated with a keystroke recorder or cracked with a little time and effort, the constantly unique codes delivered by rolling code systems make your garage virtually burglar-proof. 

There's one disadvantage to a rolling code garage door entry. If you lose a fixed code transmitter, you'll need to get a new one and have it programmed to deliver the correct code again. If you lose the transmitter to your rolling code system, however, you'll need to have both the transmitter and receiver reprogrammed to understand the same code frequency. Rolling code system programming is a bit more costly than fixed code programming, but it's well worth the additional charge if you've got valuables stored in your garage.

Of the two different types of garage door transmitters, those that rely on a rolling code radio frequency are far more secure than those that deliver fixed codes. If you're about to have a garage door opener installed, definitely opt for a rolling code system. If you already have a fixed code system on your garage door and are worried about theft after reading this article, contact a garage door repair specialist; they can easily switch out your fixed entry system for the more secure rolling code type.

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