Thin Client Network Connections
Once you have performed the steps as outlined previously, you will need to fi nalize your design for the thin clients themselves. If your current deployment is only capable of 10 Megabit, you will defi nitely want to upgrade the wiring and move to a minimum of 100 Megabit. 100 Megabit provides plenty of bandwidth for very crisp response time from the servers, and mouse and user interface response is excellent. At the time of this writing, running Gigabit to the desktop has not been tested by the author; but if your thin clients support that speed that is an excellent buffer and should provide even greater capabilities. If users are using devices such as laptops, always encourage them to use a wired connection in the offi ce. In the case of X windows, it will avoid having to use a licensed bandwidth compression interface.
At the time of this writing, Gigabit connections to the desktop are becoming more and more commonplace. If part of your deployment is a redesign of the network, run the highest-rated wiring that you are allowed. The author is anticipating that Gigabit thin clients will become available very shortly. More and more software is making use of the
3-dimensional capabilities of thin client video cards, and each step in this direction requires additional bandwidth.
Testing the Network
Anyone that has supported users knows that often they will discover things that the technical staff never anticipated. It’s important to turn that into a positive, and isolate as many problems as possible before fi nal
deployment. It’s effective to place a few thin clients at each of your sites, and on each of the networking technologies that you have selected and perform their regular day-to-day duties. Some types of connections such
as X windows sessions are not stateless, and will drop if the network under-performs. If you are considering a new vendor for networking hardware, they should allow you to install demo devices and test them on your infrastructure. Be mindful that sales people sometimes over sell their products or don’t understand exactly your design goals, so a realworld test with their hardware before major purchases is always a good idea.
In this chapter we see that though the complexity of networking cannot be stated strongly enough, it is important to design a rock-solid and stable network before your deployment begins. Follow standard methods and designs and work with your hardware vendors to make the best possible use of their equipment. Once you plug the thin client in the wall, you will be excited at the things to come and will be ready to confi gure the application servers.