Anyone who has experienced installing an access control solution for a building knows just how complicated the process is. From start to finish, getting an access control system up-and-running is no easy task.
Even for the seasoned integrator, the requirement for bringing commercial access control solutions to function properly is a job that can take days, if not longer. However, just because this is what the industry has come to know and expect, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way to bring simplicity, ease-of-use, and efficiency to door management.
In this blog post, we walk through the well-known challenges of installing traditional access control and how Verkada is reapproaching everything from the controller to configuration and scale.
Modernized Access Control Topology
In a traditional access control system, everything starts with the main controller and subsequent door controllers.
The main controller is responsible for what is happening with the doors across a building, while the door controllers act as an intermediary dependent on what the main controller passes along. The main controller itself is dependent on a local server or PC, which provides everything from credential management to the settings and configuration of the system.
This configuration poses many challenges for teams. First and foremost, with so many components, there are multiple additional steps in the installation process to consider. Furthermore, the necessity for all the door controller wiring to make its way back to the main controller creates potential issues for larger buildings.
With Verkada, we’ve eliminated the need for main and door controllers. Instead, each AC41 is an all-in-one device with its own onboard processing and storage. Each controller connects directly to the internet, where Verkada’s cloud-based software configures and manages all the controllers under your organization in an intuitive, easy-to-use platform.
Since each AC41 acts independent of other additional controllers and servers, users can freely install an AC41 wherever they need. No longer do teams need to limit their installation to a specific area or plan for extensive wiring back to a central location. All that’s required is power and an active internet connection.
Streamlined Access Control Wiring of Door Hardware
Perhaps the most consuming part of any commercial access control installation — yet arguably the most critical — is the wiring of doors. Without correct wiring, doors will fail to operate as intended and will pose security and safety risks to your organization.
While not all door controllers are created equal, one of the most challenging aspects of many access control systems is wiring the inputs for door readers, locks and other peripheral devices to your control panel.
Since most boards group inputs by type rather than the door, if you don’t wire the lock associated with the reader in their same numbered input, you may need to trace back your steps to ensure each door component is connected to the right one.
Once wired, it’s then necessary to associate each input with the door. This means for every lock, DPI, REX, door strike or other inputs you wish to use, they will need to be added one-by-one. Since this is such a tedious and time-consuming process, it’s critical to know exactly which input goes with each door. Otherwise, any misstep can result in having to trace your access control wiring or start back over.
On the AC41, each door is managed by an individual cassette. These cassettes host everything from the readers (Wiegand and Verkada’s AD31) to each input.
Since each cassette manages a single door and all the wires installed, there is no guesswork, complex mapping or rewiring. For added convenience, once plugged into the ACU, Verkada’s cloud-based software will automatically configure and associate each of the peripheral devices, as well as help walk through any settings you may want to configure for the door.
Verkada also offers the option of installing doors in a wet or dry configuration. So if you don’t have an external power source, or wish to quickly bring doors up and running, the option is there to power your locks the way you’d prefer.
Intuitive Access Control Installation Testing Interface
After installing an access control system, it’s time to make sure that everything is connected and running properly. With a traditional access control solution, an installer will typically need to run multiple tests such as physically going to the door itself or intercepting wiring to ensure an active current flowing through the wires to the system.
Since testing is vital to ensuring that an access control installation has been done correctly, we built an integrated testing interface into the AC41.
Directly from the device, users can run tests for triggering the lock to make sure it is powered. Additionally, there is an option to emulate the REX and DPI to make sure all the door hardware is configured correctly.
Our testing interface has received praise from our authorized partners, noting the simplicity of testing everything they just did from the convenience of the controller.
To test your readers, users can utilize our “Scan Card” feature. Intended for quickly and easily adding new credentials to your system, this can also be leveraged for ensuring that readers are properly installed.
Future Proofed For Scale
Whether installing for today or planning for the future of your organization’s door management, the limitations of scale pose a wide range of challenges when considering traditional access control solutions.
One of the main challenges goes back to the main controller and the server managing the system. Since the main controller is designed to manage only a specific number of doors, teams need to choose between purchasing a controller that supports the perfect number of doors for today or more than they may need currently to support any future doors.
This is because these systems have bounded limits on the number of doors they can support, and adding more than what you have available means having to upgrade your system to an ACU that can support the number of doors you need. What does this mean for your existing access control installation? In most cases, you likely will need to start over. That was enough of a reason for one of Verkada’s first customers to make an immediate change to our cloud-based access control solution.
With Verkada Access Control, organizations have no limit to the number of doors within an organization. Whether it’s a single building with a few doors or an enterprise company managing thousands of doors across the world, Verkada can scale to meet the needs of your organization with no limitations.
The other factor to consider is the cost of adding that additional door. If dealing with a main controller that is limited to 10 doors, and you just need to add one more, your only option sometimes is to upgrade to their 25 door option. With Verkada, while each AC41 can support up to four doors, we only charge you for the doors you use. That makes it easier to understand and predict your costs today and overtime.