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Thin Client FAQs


What is a Thin Client?

A thin client is a computer with no hard drive or other moving parts that can lead to machine failure. Thin clients operate on a main frame paradigm. All instructions and sessions come directly from a central, secure Windows server. Each thin client realizes its own session and operates independently from the other thin clients. Because thin clients have no hard drives, there is no loss of data if a local thin client gets damaged or has a local power failure.

Why use a Thin Client instead of a regular PC?

The main reason thin clients are better than PCs is because they offer "Lower Total Cost of Ownership". By reducing maintenance and install time, thin clients keep downtime to an absolute minimum. For example, to update 5 PCs you need to reinstall and configure all 5 PCs one at a time. With thin clients you would simply make the update once on the server and all 5 thin clients would realize the update immediately.

ThinManager software allows you to configure and manage all connected thin clients from the central, secure server.

Where should I use a Thin Client?

Thin clients can be used anywhere you would normally have a PC workstation. ACP has a number of partners who provide state of the art Thin Client hardware. These Thin Clients range from office grade, to light industrial, to heavy industrial including Class I Div 2.

Thin Clients are particularly favored in harsh conditions - most Thin Clients do not have cooling fans, are very small and easy to mount, and can be replaced within a minute or two.

Who should use a Thin Client?

Anyone seeking a Lower Total Cost of Ownership over expensive Industrial or Desktop PCs.
Anyone seeking to cut downtime and maintenance to a minimum.
Anyone that needs enhanced security and reliability.

When should I use a Thin Client?

Use thin clients when you need to have one or several PC workstations that substantially "Lower Total Cost of Ownership" while remaining easy to install and support. Use thin clients when you have harsh factory conditions or when you don't have the time or money to hire an IT staff to keep your industrial or office systems up and running.

How do you use Thin Client's I/O?

Thin Clients have serial ports that map back to the server. This allows the application to simply read and write serial I/O as if the program was running locally. High Speed industry specific and time critical I/O should not be routed through a Thin Client.

Can I have a mixed environment of Thin Clients and workstations?

Yes. The protocols that Thin Clients use to communicate with the server are standard Ethernet, and so don't interfere at all with regular network traffic. In fact, there are many applications where replacing PCs with Thin Clients can actually decrease overall network traffic. Many of our customers install a Thin Client system gradually, first putting a Windows server on their network, and then replacing PCs one or two at a time with ACP Enabled Thin Clients.

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