Systems frequently possess capacity beyond that which a single user utilizes. In some organizations, multiple PCs are deployed when only the computing capacity of a single workstation is really required. But, because other users must simultaneously access e-mail, the Internet or other data, additional systems are required. A computer terminal, such as nComputing's L200 PC Expanion, enables users to connect to a single system using only an existing LAN and their own PC Expanion (each user also requires their own mouse, keyboard and monitor).
Rather than purchase, deploy and maintain additional systems for users, organizations can turn to nComputing's L200 PC Expanion Multi-User Computing Terminal and leverage existing hardware capacity. The small hardware device, which measures roughly two-thirds the size of a 12-inch PowerBook laptop, enables connecting multiple users to a single system (using only a single PC or server).
Instead of deploying (and having to maintain) multiple systems, an organization can install a single server (or PC) and roll out an nComputing PC Expanion device, mouse, keyboard and monitor to each user, thereby enabling the user to take advantage of the capabilities that single system provides. Using the L200, up to 10 users can connect to a single desktop (or up to 30 users can connect to a single server).
nComputing's L200 PC Expanion possesses several advantages:
- Multiple users can share a single PC or server
- Administrators need not maintain security and driver updates on multiple systems even if numerous users connect to the system
- Software setup is clean and easy
- Windows 2000 (Professional and Server)/XP Home/XP Professional/XP Media Center Edition/Server 2003 and Linux are supported
- Fast performance
- USB support (simplifies user's adding data to the host system)
- Touch screen support (via an included serial port)
- Graphics support up to 1280x1024 with 16-bit color
There are a few drawbacks, however:
- Limited Windows support (no Vista or Windows NT/ME/98SE/98/95) support
- Performance may degrade as additional users stress a single host's capacities (although nComputing claims only a P4 3.2GHz CPU and 2GB of RAM is required, for example, to support 10 users connected to a single XP machine)
- USB support doesn't work with Linux
- Notebook PCs don't work well as hosts
- Cost (at about $220 each, not including a monitor, keyboard and mouse), a new entry-level PC doesn't cost much more
The Right Tool for the Job?
nComputing's L200 access terminal helps organizations leverage today's faster and more potent PCs and servers while minimizing support requirements. The software is easy to use, includes a centralized administrative console and is easy to set up when using existing Ethernet LANs.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.