Troubleshooting Network Zero Client Deployments

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Copyright © 2016 Userful Corporation. All rights reserved.
(Updated 2016.06.10)


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See documentation for the latest products: http://support.userful.com.


Introduction

Network zero client devices are generally easy to setup and use, but troubleshooting can be a challenge. Problems can be loosely grouped into two categories:

  1. Transient Issues
    • Can be difficult to reproduce; that is, they do not occur consistently.
    • May be caused by temporary software glitches or isolated problems with the zero client devices themselves.
    • Can often be solved by restarting/resetting the device or system.
  2. Persistent Issues
    • May indicate software bugs or hardware problems (either with hardware itself or how it is connected/configured).
    • Are often easy to reproduce.
    • Could require technical expertise to investigate and rectify the issue.

Correcting Transient Issues

If only one or a few individual network zero client stations are not operating properly (station not starting, or station won't assign to host PC), and there is no problem with firmware or network infrastructure (see below), it could be a transient software/hardware problem. Try the following, in order, to rectify the issue:

  • Reset/reboot the device through the Control Center or by issuing this command in the terminal (device must be unassigned first): userful device reset <MAC.address>.
  • Power off/power on the device.
  • Physically reset the device:
  • For HP T200, a physical reset button is there.
  • To reset Atrust m320 device:
  1. Power-off device and disconnect any LAN cable.
  2. Install 4 pcs of USB keys into all 4 USB ports of the device.
  3. Power-on the device and within 10 seconds, the power-led of the device starts flashing.
  4. Un-plug all 4 pcs of USB keys from USB ports in 10 seconds.
  5. The Power-led would become solid blue indicating "reset" state on.
  6. Power off/on the device again; this would reset the device to factory default.
  • Reboot the host PC.
  • Reset Userful Multiplatform (through the Control Center, Help and Support > Troubleshoot > Reset Userful Multiplatform).

Investigating Persistent Issues

If problems are persistent and cannot be resolved by rebooting/resetting/restarting the system or device, following the simple steps below can identify many problems with network zero client setups.

  1. Check your network cables.
    • Network cabling should be high-quality Cat-5e.
    • Ensure that all network cables are securely plugged in. Examine the connectors and replace any cables with broken latching tabs as these connections can easily be dislodged.
  2. Check that power supplies and USB cables are secure.
    • Network zero client devices must be used with a power supply. Ensure that the power supply is firmly plugged into a working electrical outlet, and that the power adapter is firmly plugged into the network device. Most models of network zero client devices have lights which indicate that a power supply is connected.
    • If mice or keyboards are not working, check to ensure that they are securely plugged into the ports on the network zero client device. Try swapping out input devices to rule out hardware failures (either a defective mouse, keyboard or USB port).
  3. Check the device firmware.
    • Network zero client devices contain a chip that is capable of storing a small amount of data; this includes the hostname of the host PC that the device is assigned to as well as the device firmware. It is very important to have the right firmware for a given network device.
    • If any network zero client device has firmware that is not up-to-date, a warning dialog message will appear whenever Administrators open the Control Center. See Updating firmware section of Managing Network Zero Clients.
  4. Make sure that all network devices (the NIC in the host PC, any switches or routers used) are working at optimal capacity.
    • Networks running at less than sufficient speeds can result in intermittent dropping of network zero client stations and/or performance issues.
    • For more information on network requirements for network zero client systems, please see the Guidelines for Network Zero Client Deployments.
  5. Check the network configuration for transmission delays and packet loss.
    • Network zero client devices must be within 1 millisecond of the host PC. You can ping the network device from the host PC to find out what the delay is. Please note that routers can introduce significant (greater than 0.5 ms) delays and should NOT be positioned in the network between the host PC and any network device.
    • Network zero client devices are sensitive to packet loss. Ping a network device from the host PC for 60 seconds to determine the percentage of packets lost. If packets are being lost, it can cause network zero client instability.

If the steps above do not lead to a solution to the issue, please consider reporting the problem to Userful for investigation.

The easiest way to do so is to go to Control Center > Help and Support > Contact Support > Submit Trouble Report to Support. This opens a page with links to relevant documentation that will be most helpful in solving a problem.

If a problem cannot be solved using Userful's documentation, the next step is to report a problem to Userful.

To report a problem, click the "Submit Trouble Report ot Support" link near the bottom of the "Help and Support" page. A new page will open with a simple form to be filled out. When completed and submitted, the information provided will be e-mailed -- along with a selection of debugging information pulled from the computer system logs and files -- to Userful Customer Support.