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Are cybercafes with thin-client networking wishful thinking?





xcapi
Hi,

for a normal business / office / corporate environment, it is recommended that a thin-client or virtual desktop network is ideal, for reasons of cost, restricting what your users do on your business network, environmental issues, manageability, security etc

However, for a cyber cafe, where users are often streaming media, using VoIP, watching video etc, can a thin-client / virtual desktop network really work? Many of these thin-client solutions can't really cope well with multimedia, and not to mention you need powerful servers as the host computer (and these don't come cheap and nor are they exactly energy-efficient)

Has anyone actually seen a cyber running on a thin client network?

From a cost perspective, thin clients are often no cheaper than a desktop - initially anyway; you could argue they have lower costs long-term as you don't need to replace failed components etc

any insight will be appreciated! thanks Smile
ocalhoun
Probably the cheapest and easiest way to work it is to just use older, inexpensive full computers as the client machines. Complete computers can be had for prices very comparable, and often cheaper than, thin clients, and doing so would let you use a much cheaper network, and perhaps no master server at all.

(Where to find such cheap computers? Try ebay's wholesale lot section, where you can find lots of anywhere from 2 to 1000 used computers, at a cheap per-computer price. >Example< Computers like that won't be playing fancy games, but they should do great for internet cafe type duties. Add 10 monitors, keyboards, mice, a 10 port network switch, a router, and a fast internet connection, and you've got the basis for your internet cafe.)

Of course, thin clients are still a viable possibility; You just have to provide a very powerful host server, and a fast (probably gigabit) network.

xcapi wrote:

From a cost perspective, thin clients are often no cheaper than a desktop - initially anyway; you could argue they have lower costs long-term as you don't need to replace failed components etc

Any system will still require maintenance and replacement of parts. Thin clients can break down too.

If you do use whole computers, may I suggest the deep freeze software? It makes the computer's software revert to a 'frozen' state every time you restart the computer. That way, you'd never have to worry about software issues caused by random people installing things and messing with settings: if there was any software problem, you could just solve it by rebooting.

For hardware problems, perhaps you should buy more computers than you actually need? You could use them as quick-replace spares, or use their parts to repair the in-use computers that break. For the benefit of customers, you might want to keep some extra network hardware around, so that the only thing that could cause a long outage would be a failure of your internet connection(s).
xcapi
thx, deep freeze is an excellent idea. Thx also for the ebay tip
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