Dahua Access Control Tested

By Brian Rhodes, Published on Oct 10, 2017

Can Dahua become a major force in access control? We bought Dahua's ASC1202B [link no longer available] to find out.

We tested Dahua access and its management application to see how it stacks up to competitors in the security space.

With this report, we cover these findings and more:

  • 4 key strengths and 5 key weaknesses
  • The biggest disruptive element of Dahua's access control
  • Dahua-only compatible elements of the platform
  • A teardown view image showing the inside of the Controller
  • 4 video screencasts explaining how Dahua's management client works
  • Comparison of Dahua's Controller to Axis, HID and Mercury
  • Examination of video verification strengths and weakness
  • Challenges with system reporting
  • Initial cybersecurity review

Inside, we detail our findings on how well the system operates, where it is weak, and how it compares to other access systems.

[Note: We have bought and are testing Hikvision's access control offering as well, expect that report later in October.]

Key ****** ********* 

*** ***** ****** *****'* key ********* ***** ** challenging *** ********* ********* who ********** ****** * times **** *** ***** controllers / ********:

  • ******** ********: ******* ***** *** ******, no ****, *******, ** confusing ******** *** ********.  In *** ****, ***** always **** *** **** relays ********, **** **** multiple *********** **** *********. While ******** ********* *********** slowed **** ** ***** to **** ******* ** *** ****** ** ******** *****/********* increased, *** ******** ********** never ****** **********, ****** up, ** ****** ** perform **'* ***** ****** control ********.
  • ******* ***** ********: ** ****** *****'* 'Emergency ********', '***-*** ******', and '***** **** ******' features, *** **** ****** reliably. ***** **** *****, basic ****** ******* **** not *** *****, *** fact **** *** ******** in **** ***-**** ******** for **** ***** ****** charge ********* ***** **** Dahua ** ********* ****** for ****.
  • ***** ******* ********:***** ****** ******** *** photo ** ********* ********** with * ***** ****, so ** ** ******** to ******** ******* ********** holders *** ****** *** ones ***** ****** ****** at * ****** *** not ************ ***********.

Biggest ******** ** ********** *****

*****'* ******* ********** ****** is *** * ****** value, *** * ***** pricing **********. *** ********* differentiation ***** ****** ** low *****. * *** door ********** *** * street **** ** ~$***, a ******** ** *** $500 - $*** **** of ********** ***********. **** means **** ** ********* Dahua ****** ****** *** hit **** ** **** below ***** ****** *** many ********* ****** *********.

*** *******, ***** ** ~70% **** ********* **** Axis ** ***. *** example, *****'* * **** IP ********** ** * price ** ~$*** ****** the **** ***** ** a ***** ** ~$*** and *****'* ***** ****** RFID ****** ** ~$** versus ** *** ***** for ~$***.

*** **** ******* ******** against ********* ****-**** ****** kits, *** *** ***** *** ********* ******** Access ******* ****.

Key ****** **********

*******, *** **** ******* and ********** *** ********* to ***** ******:

  • ****, *** **********, ***** Verification: *** **** **** system ******** *********** ** video ***** ********** **** access ******. *******, *** process *** **** **** 30 ******* ** ******* when * **** ** scanned *** ********* '***** out' **** ** ********* video. ***** **** ********** a ******** *********** *** available ** **** ***** free ** ***-**** ****** platforms, *** **** *********** means **** ****** ****** have ****** ** *** time ***** ********.
  • ***** ****** *****, ** PoE: ** ****** ** furnish *** *** ***** transformer, ** **** ** sold **** *** ****. While ** *** ***** supplies *** *** ********* to **** *** ********* at **** **** $**, the **** ***** ******* furnishes ***, *** **** the **** ******* ***, power ******** *** ** extra **** ********** **** to ********. *** **** of *** ******* **** means **** ********** ************** needs ** ** *** to *** ****, * costly *** ***** ********* consideration *** ****** **** PoE ***********.
  • ***** ******** ****: *** ********** ** only ******* *** *****'* free ***** *** ********, and *** ********** ****** be ********* ** ******* through *** ***** ********. This *********** ***** **** Dahua ** ******* *** be **** *** **** of *** **** ******** features, **** ***** ************.
  • ******** ** ********: ***** *** ******* slow **** ********* ******* function **** **** **** than *** ********** ** being ****. **** **** performance ***** *** *** Smart *** ******* *** exceed *** ******** ****** in *** ******, *********** is ******** *** ***** activity ** *** **** is **********, ******** *** monitoring ******** **** ****** or ***** ***** *** take **** **** ** seconds.
  • ** *********: ******* *** ******** - ** ********* *******. Events *** ******, *** they **** ** ******** filtered ** ***** **** fields *** *** *** exportable ** *********. **** access *******, **** **** targeted ** ***** *********** of ***** ********* ******* basic *******.  
  • **** ******* ** ***** Readers: ** ******* ******* types ** *******, ********* Dahua's *** ******* ******, and *** *** *** or **.** *** ******.  The **** ****** *** connecting **** ** ***** units *** *****, **************, unsupervised *******. **** ******* systems*** ******* ****** ** ****** ** increase ******** ** *** reader ***, *** *****'* platform ******** **.
  • ********* ****** ********: ** *** ****, wiring *** ********** *** confused ** *** **** no ***** '**** #' labels *** *********. ** order ** ********* ***** set ** ***** ******** belong ** **** * and ***** ******* ****** to **** *, **** trial *** ***** *** needed. ****** ********** ***** be ******** ****** ** the **** ** ***** contact ******.

Compatible **** **** ***** ********

*** ******* *********** *** many ** *** ****** down ****** ** ***** Access *********** ** **** work **** ***** ***, which **** ****** ***** the ******** ****** *** market ******* **** ******** but ***** *** *** install *******. *** ****** controller ***** **** ***** PSS, ***** ** **** only ***** **** ***** IP *******, ** ******** equipment ****** ** ********* into *** ***********.

***** *** *********** ** free *** ** ********** software ********* ** ****** to *** ******** **** installed, *** **** ** only ***** **** ***** hardware ** ***** ** turn **** ****.

** ******** ** *** party ***********, ***** ******** with * ********, ***** Mercury ******** ***** **** 20+, *** ***** **** 10+, *** **** **** 8+ ********* *******.

Controlled ****** ***** *** ********** **********

*****'* **** ********** ******** combines **** *****, ******, video ******** ******** ********. 

*** **** ********* ******* performance ** *** ******** will **** ****** ** the ***** ** *** parent *********** *** *** many ** *******/***** *** app ** ***********.

*** **** *********** *** exceeded Dahua's ******* ***** [**** no ****** *********] ** ***** of **** *** ***** (our **** ******* *** an ** *** ** Dahua's ******* **), ** the ******* *** *** spec, *** ******* ******* GBs ** **** *** space. *******, **** **** just *** ********* ** camera *** *** ********* controllers, **** ******** ********* were **** *** **** 10 ******* ** ****** to ********. *** ******* number ** ********* ******* is ****** ** ***, so *** * ****-**** system *** *** **** be ~*,*** *****, *** slow ****** *********** ** likely ** ***** **** before *** ***.

** ***** ** ******* support, ***** *** ******** basic **********, *******, ********** video/access ***** ***********, *** manual **** '******' *** 'lock' ******** ******* ** other ***** ****** *********.

*******, **** ******** *** missing, **** ** ** ID ***** ********, *********** reports, *** ** **** multisite ** *****-******** **********.

Access ********** ******** ********

** ***** ** ****** construction, *** ***** ***** illustrates *** **** *** build ******* ** *** controller.
*** ********** ** ******** for *** **** ** wall ********, *** ***** an ********* **** **** other *******, *** ********* device ****** ** ******* if ******* ******* ** an ********** ********* *** included.

Teardown ****

****** *** **********'* *******, a ******** ***** *********** CR-2032 ***** *******, **** of ******, *** ******* 'TI' (***** **********) ****-** chips *** *******. (****** ******* ****):

No *** ********* *** *********** ***********

****** ********* **** * Dahua ******* ****** '*********', which **** ** **** as *** ****** ********** does *** ******* * webserver ** *****, ****** most ***** **** ***********.

*** ********* **** ** similar ** ***** **** on ***** ** *******. Once * ****** ** permanent ** ** ********, the *********** ** ** longer **** ** *********:

**** *********, ******* *** searched **** ****** ***** PSS, *** ***** *** use ******* ********** ********* or ************:

*** ******* ** ******* to ****** *****'* ** cameras, *** ****** ***** access ********* **** *** require ******** ***** ** be ***** ****** *** system ****** ****** *****, or ***** ****** ******* takes ***** *** *** controllers.*** ***** ***** ************ the ******* ** ******* detail:

Door ********** ****-**-**** ********** 

*** *** ********* ***** employs ** ********** ****** is *** ********** ******** direct *** **** ******** typically **** ** ********** environments. ******** ** * rail ******* ***** ***** in * ***** ***** enclosure, ** *** ********** itself ** *** ******* sealed *** *** ******* wired ***********.

**** * **** ***********, the ********** ****** ** rather ******. *** ***** two-door *** ****-**** ****** share ** ********* *******, but *** ******* ********* is ****** *** ***** more ***** **** ***** similar ***/*** **** ***********, as ***** ** **** image:

*** ***** **** ** the ********** **** ****** be **** ****** ** mounted ** * ******** enclosure ***, *** *** DIN ************* **** *** likely ** ****** *** the ******** ** *********** choosing ** **** ** enclosure ***** *******.

Vague ********** **** ******

*** ********** *** **** to ******* ** ****** control, *****'* ********** ****** ports *** *** ******* with ******* ****. *** example, ******* ***** ********* group ******* ** **** Reader #* ** ******* from *** ******* ********. In ********, ***** '*****-*******' brands ********** **** ********** benefit **** ****** **** color-coded ********* *****, ** that ******* ***** ** wire ********* ********** ** more ****** **********.

** *** ***** *****, contrast ** ***** ********, appearance, *** ******** ** compared ** **** ***** ***** ** **** ****** and ****** ** **** for '**********' ****** ********** than *** ***** ****.

Dahua's **** ********** *********

******* ***** *****'* ****** interface ** ** ********** with ***** ***** ****** platforms, ********* ******** **** pushed ****** ******, ****** access ********, *** **** controller *** **** ********** features ********.** *** ****, *** features ********** *********, *** not ******* ** ******** trouble ****** **** *****.*** ***** ***** ***** off *** ***** ********* and ******** ** ***** PSS's ********** *********:

*** ******* ** ****** cardholders *** ************ ****** is ******* ** **** access *********, *** ****** free ******** ****** *********, features **** ********* ** pictures *** ********:

*** ***** ***** ******** cardholder *** **** ******* creation ** *****:

********** ***** ************ ********, But ********** ******

*** '*****' *********** ****** Smart *** ** *** combination ** ***** ** cameras ** ******** *****.  However, *********** ** *** feature ** ****, *** the ****** ** **** needed ** ******* ***** will ** ****** **** the ****** ***** ** the ******** ** *****.  In *** **** **** one ********* **** ******, performance ** ******** ** video ******* **** ****** 40 ******* *** ********* timed *** **** ******* more **** * ***** window, ******* *** ******* will ******** **** **** access ****** **** **** take * *** ******* to ****** ** ********.

*** ********* ***** ***** an ******* ** *** 'popup' ****** ******* ***** happens ****** * ******, and **** ******* *** 'searching *****' ******* **** displays ***** *********** *** being ****:

*** ***** ***** ***** the **** ******* **** cameras *******:

******** *** *********** ******* doors *** ******* ** straightforward ** ** '*****', and ******* ***** **** video ******* ** *** every *****, ** **** on ******** ******** ****** like ****** **** ** invalid *********** ***** ****:

*** ***** ****** ************* Is *****

** *** ***** *****, we **** ** ******** readers ********* ***** ******* 13.56 ***, *******, *** Fingerprint ******. ** **** tested *** ********** ****** using ******* ***********, *** found *** ********** ******* supported ***** **** ***** units.

*** ******* ******** **** Dahua's ****** ******* **** ****, ***** ****** **** a ***** *********** ****** of ******** ****** *************.** **** ********* ******** and ********** ** *****'* companion ~$*** *********** ****** and ***** *********** ** par **** ***** *********** fingerprint *****.  *** **** detailed ****** ** **** vs **** ** *** device ** ********* ** a ******** ******.

******** *** **** *********

*** ****** **** ****** poorly *** *** ******* to ***** *** ***** or ****** ******** *******. Aside **** *********** ******** on *****/ **** *******/ and *****, ** ***** specific ** ****** ******** are *********.********, **** *** ***** searches *** ****, ******** them ** ********* **** from ****** *** *********** is *** *********, *** outside ***** ** ********* are ******.  ** ******** **** ** the ***** *****:

***** ***** *** **** access ********* ******* ********* to .*** ** .*** files, ** ******* *** formatted *** ***** ******** in ******** *******. ***** access **** *** ***** any ** *****.

****** ***** ************* ******** Not *********** *****

*** ****** ** *****'* performance ** ******** *** how '****' *** ******* are ** ********, *** how ********** **** *** to******* ****** ***** ********.

** *** * **** scan, *** ***** *** controller **** * ***** common ******* ****, *****, for **** ******* *** outbound *********. *** ****** itself *** ** *********, and ***** ******* *** IP *******, *** ****** configuration *** ********** ****** in ********. ** *** *** **** *****'* ****** ******** ********** *** ******.

******* ****** ************* *** management ***** ***** **********, the ******* ****** *************** with ***** **** *** IP ******* **** *** apparent.  ** ********, ****** sniffing ******* ******* ****** data *** ** '**** text' *** ** ******** against ******* **** ********:

******, *** ********** **** default ********* *** ********* during *******, *** ****** specific ********* ** **** to ******** ****, *** platform ******** ** ******* or ******* ******* ****.

*** ****** ** *** unit's ******** *** *********** and *** *** ******* formal *********** ******* ** sophisticated *********** ** ****** security, *** ***** *** vulnerabilities ** ***** *******, no ********** ** ******** or ****** ****** ****** be ********. 

 

Comments (22)

Branded is totally different I bet. </sarcasm>

*Inside joke with IPVM staff*

Hi everyone,

in our company we have install this access control in 11 doors. 2x stand alone and 3 x 4 door controllers have been used.

All running on SmartPSS V2.01 including about 30 various dahua CVI and IP cameras (from 1Mp up to 4K resolution, including fixed, ptz and fisheye).

I forgot to mention that the company VDP is also running there.

SmartPSS is split in 3 monitors were monitor 1 display 11 of the most important cameras in extra stream, monitor 2 display access control and monitor 3 has an e-map.

All the above are on a dedicated network, not shared with the rest of the company.

As you can understand we are using our company also for live demonstration purpose.

For the total of the report i generally agree. After all as you said it is low cost and give features of much more expensive products.

But it would be a pity to dont mention that so far we have not notice any slow down performance on SmartPSS and also in case of event the camera pop up in about 2-3sec. We never experience 40sec of delay!!

Also the feedback that we are getting from local installers is very positive. Biggest installation is about 100 doors.

I have no idea how the system perform in more than this amount of doors, but for the price i guess is very good.

 

p.s. 1

You can buy Dahuas DSS platform that is open to ONVIF cameras. SmartPSS is free and is reasonable to be "locked" to Dahua.

 

That's helpful feedback, thanks!

We tested the US version with US firmwares on all devices and with the latest version of Smart PSS (v2.01.1 07/24/2017) for US release.  Are you using the same?

 

Hi Brian,

we are located in Europe but all the firmwares that we use are downloaded from the official www.dahuasecurity.com website.

 

SmartPSS we use v2.01.0 21/06/2017

Does Dahua list the power draw for the controller?  If it is under 2A, you could use an external POE splitter.  12V POE splitters are $9 on Amazon.  This is how ZK boards use POE.  

I am no computer guy but wondering if anything else was running on the test computer that may have slowed performance?

 

Also the report says only Dahua cameras can be used. Does the camera need to be connected to Smart PSS directly or will an NVR work with the camera integration? Dahua NVR's work with various cameras so unless I am missing something, saying the access control only works with Dahua cameras may be false?

 

The product could be great but a few shortcomings make me look elsewhere. We are new to access control but we installed our first takeover a few weeks ago. One key feature was the ability to import a user list. This was for a HOA with 500 homes and exporting a list from DoorKing, modifying and adding to the new system was key. Exportable reports were key to.

 

One thing I didn't see is what kind of access levels were available and how granular could you control it?

 

It seems like it could be a great entry level product but like usual Dahua falls short on some key items and will probably never address them. 

 

Thanks for the comment.

During our test, nothing else was running on the machine, aside from the HTML5 based screen capture software.

Utilization did not exceed 10% of resources with Smart PSS exited.

With that said, Smart PSS does work with Dahua NVRs, up to '2000 channels' worth of video is the claim, but something we have not tested.  I'll clarify by changing it to 'IP Cameras' in the report.

Long story short we were running SPSS with Live View and the Event window open. No problem until I pulled the event tab into its own window so I could resize live view and events and have both displayed at the same time.

 

This brought my I5 laptop to a halt and put CPU usage at 80-90%. I can not remember the exact number.

 

Point being I found it pretty irritating. You would think it would be standard for someone to run liveview and events at the same time.

 

I have a few stations elsewhere running older versions of Smart PSS that have 4 monitors, and 4 liveview windows and they run fine...

 

Maybe that is the issue with the video feed? multiple windows open? Did you check resources with SPSS running?

 

 

You would think it would be standard for someone to run liveview and events at the same time.

I agree, and Dahua does not disclaim running the software in this way.

I did not experience this, but I only used one PSS session. Within PSS it is possible to open multiple tabs, but only one is shown.  I did use the software with 'live view' and 'access' modules loaded at the same time during the slow downs, but only one view was active in PSS.

FYI to all:

I just grabbed this from my workstation:

PSS is overreporting CPU utilization compared to Task Manager, but RAM is about equal.  I have one 3MP Dahua camera and one Dahua controller connected, Smart PSS, and one browser session open for this.

The  i7 CPU and 16 GB RAM this machine has far exceeds the i3, 2 GB RAM minimums Smart PSS needs according to the manual.  I am using Win 10, which PSS says is good to go:

If the build of this workstation contributed to poor performance, it would be unfair to criticize Dahua, but we have performed multiple tests using this machine with various platforms and not seen similar issues.

Dahua Smart PSS Minimum Requirements:

Integrated Video Verification Included, But Marginally Useful

Did you test playback to see if it was metatagged or equivalent properly? In other words, would the archived video contain the event, or did the delay cause the recorded video to be useless?

The IPVM staff who did the intro in the physical overview video sounds really depressed/exhausted to me. I even felt chest pressure after watching the video.

Am I the only one?

That was me.  I'm not depressed or exhausted!  

#3, that's an East Coast / Oklahoma difference you are seeing. Slower pace out there.

I have no ill intentions. Maybe I was at that point and projected the feeling towards the video I am watching.

No worries!

No surprises here from Dahua.

Shockingly cheap but functional hardware with some random software thrown in for good measure...

 

Don't disagree on any of the points listed. 

They have a controller available in enclosure (ASC1204C) but the cost is more than double of the DIN rail version.

The enclosure provide also PSU with a 12V/7A battery charger and tamper protection.

its not just a box.

This is interesting.  The kit including the enclosure and power supply/battery charger is about twice the cost of the controller less those parts.

 

Let me rephrase my unanswered question regarding:

"Integrated Video Verification Included, But Marginally Useful

One 'tight' integration within Smart PSS is the combination of Dahua IP cameras to specific doors. However, performance of the feature is slow, and the length of time needed to connect feeds will be longer than the actual event in the majority of cases. In our test with one connected test camera, performance in bringing up video streams took around 40 seconds and sometimes timed out with nothing more than a blank window, meaning the feature will outright miss most access events that only take a few seconds to happen in realtime."

So my question regards the retained video associated with the event. Does or did it actually capture the event? I can understand the poor performance regarding live, but think that for the price, if it is able to properly record events like forced door and held open alarms, it could still be considered for certain applications or solutions.

 

Hello, apologies for missing your initial post.

Video clips are recorded in full, so viewing them in playback shows the whole event including the portions initially missed live.

Like you note, forensic applications/research could still make use of the feature.  

Brian,

Greatly Appreciated!, sounds like something Dahua could eventually fix hopefully...

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