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MultiPoint Server Stations

In a MultiPoint Server system environment, stations are the user endpoints for connecting to the computer running MultiPoint Server. Each station provides the user with an independent Windows 7 experience. The following station types are supported:

  • Direct-video-connected stations

  • USB-zero-client-connected stations

  • RDP-over-LAN-connected stations (for rich client or thin client computers)

MultiPoint Server supports any combination of these station types, but it is recommended that one station be a direct-video-connected station, which can serve as the primary station.

Primary stations and standard stations

One direct-video-connected station is defined as the primary station. The remaining stations are referred to as standard stations.

The primary station displays the startup screens when the computer is turned on. It provides access to system configuration and troubleshooting information that is only available during startup. The primary station must be a direct-video-connected station. After startup, you can use the primary station like any other MultiPoint Server station.

Direct-video-connected stations

The computer running MultiPoint Server can contain multiple video cards, each of which can have one or more video ports. This allows you to plug monitors for multiple stations directly into the computer. Keyboards and mice are connected through USB hubs that are associated with each monitor. These hubs are referred to as station hubs. Other peripheral devices, such as speakers, headphones, or USB storage devices can also be connected to a station hub, and they are available to the user of that station.

ImportantImportant
There should be at least one direct-video-connected station per server to act as the primary station to display the startup process when the computer is turned on.

Image of MultiPoint Server USB-based system layout

Figure 1   MultiPoint Server system with four direct-video-connected stations

PS/2 stations

With MultiPoint Server, you can map the PS/2 keyboard and mouse jacks on the motherboard to a direct video connected monitor to create a PS/2 station. High-definition analog audio on the motherboard is the audio associated with this type of station. This does not apply to computers where there are no PS/2 jacks on the motherboard.

USB-zero-client-connected stations

USB-zero-client-connected stations utilize a USB zero client as a station hub. USB zero clients are sometimes referred to as a multifunction hub with video. They are a hub that connects to the computer through a USB cable, and these hubs typically support a video monitor, a mouse and keyboard (PS/2 or USB), audio, and additional USB devices. This guide refers to these specialized hubs as USB-zero clients.

The following diagram shows a MultiPoint Server system with a primary station (direct video connected station) and two additional USB zero client connected stations.

USB zerio-client connected stations

Figure 2   MultiPoint Server system with a primary station and two USB zero-client-connected stations

USB-over-Ethernet zero clients

USB-over-Ethernet zero clients are a variation of USB zero clients that send USB over LAN to the MultiPoint Server system. These types of USB zero clients function similarly to other USB zero clients, but are not limited by USB cable length maximums. USB-over-Ethernet zero clients are not traditional thin clients, and they appear as virtual USB devices on the MultiPoint Server system. When using these devices, refer to the device manufacturer for specific performance and site planning recommendations. Most devices have a third-party plugin for MultiPoint Manager that allows you to associate and connect devices to the MultiPoint Server system.

The following diagram shows a MultiPoint Server system with a primary station (direct-video-connected station) and two USB zero client connected stations.

RDP-over-LAN connected stations

Thin clients and traditional desktop and laptop computers, can connect to the computer running MultiPoint Server through the local area network (LAN) by using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or a proprietary protocol and the Remote Desktop Protocol Provider. RDP connections provide an end-user experience that is very similar to any other MultiPoint station, but makes use of the local client computer’s hardware.

Clients and devices that are running Microsoft RemoteFX®can provide a rich multimedia experience by taking advantage of the processor and video hardware capabilities of the local thin client or computer to provide high-definition video over the network.

If you have existing LAN clients, MultiPoint Server can provide a quick and cost effective way to simultaneously upgrade all of your users to a Windows 7 experience.

From a deployment and administration perspective, the following differences exist when you use RDP-over-LAN-connected stations:

  • Not limited to physical USB connection distances

  • Potential to reuse older computer hardware as stations

  • Easier to scale to a higher number of stations. Any client on your network can potentially be used as a remote station

  • No hardware troubleshooting through the MultiPoint Manager console

  • No split-screen functionality.

    For more information, see Split-screen Stations later in this topic

  • No station rename or configuring automatic logon through the MultiPoint Manager console

USB zero client connected station

Figure 3   MultiPoint Server system with RDP-over-LAN-connected stations

Additional configuration options

Split-screen stations

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 offers a split screen option on computers with direct-video-connected stations or USB-zero-client-connected stations. A split screen provides the ability to create an additional station per monitor. Instead of requiring two monitors, you can use one monitor with two station hub setups to create two stations with one monitor. You can quickly increase the number of available stations without purchasing additional monitors, USB-zero clients, or video cards.

The benefits of using a split-screen station can include:

  • Reducing cost and space by accommodating more users on a MultiPoint Server system.

  • Allowing two users to collaborate side-by-side on a project.

  • Allowing a teacher to demonstrate a procedure on one station while a student follows along on the other station.

Any MultiPoint Server station monitor that has a 1024x768 resolution or greater can be split into two station screens. For the best split screen user experience, a wide screen with a minimum 1600x900 resolution is recommended. A mini keyboard without a number pad is also recommended to allow the two keyboards to fit in front of the monitor.

To create split-screen stations, you set up one direct-video-connected or USB-zero-client-connected station. Then you add an additional station hub by plugging-in a keyboard and mouse to a USB hub that is connected to the server. You can then convert the station into two stations by using MultiPoint Manager to split the screen and map the new hub to half of the monitor. The left half of the screen becomes one station and the right half becomes a second station.

After a station is split, one user can log on to the left station while another user logs on to the right station.

Split-screen stations

Figure 4   MultiPoint Server system with split screen stations

Station type comparison

 

Direct Video Connected USB Zero Client Connected RDP-over-LAN Connected

Video performance

Recommended for best video performance

Use thin clients that support RemoteFX for improved video quality at lower network bandwidth

Physical limitations

Limited by video cable length and USB hub and cable length (Recommended 15 meter maximum length)

Limited by USB hub and cable length (Recommended 15 meter maximum length)

Limited by LAN distribution

Number of stations allowed

noteNote
Licensing limits:

  • Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 Premium: 20 concurrently logged-on stations

  • Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 Standard: 10 concurrently logged-on stations

Limited by number of available PCIe slots on the motherboard times the video ports per video card

Total number may be limited by USB zero client manufacturer (For more information, see the Note that follows this table.)

Limited by available ports on network switch

Split-screen

Yes

Yes

No

MultiPoint Manager station peripheral status, auto-logon configuration, station renaming

Yes

Yes

No

Access to server startup menus

Yes

No

No

noteNote
The total number of USB zero clients that are connected to the server may be limited by the manufacturer. However, if the limit is less than the number of stations that you require, there are several ways to use the MultiPoint Server system to build up to 20 stations. The use of multiple station types is supported on a single server, so you can add additional direct video connected stations, RDP-over-LAN connected stations, or split-screen stations to increase the overall number of stations.

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