Userful™: Setup Guide
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This page will walk you through setting up your Userful appliance and network zero clients. Please read it entirely before beginning, and ensure you have all the prerequisite components.
This guide is for IT administrators and other users who are already familiar with basic networking and operating system deployment.
Prior experience with Linux or thin/zero clients is not necessary to deploy Userful.
Before you begin, ensure you have all the necessary components.
- A copy of the latest version of Userful
- Your Userful license key
- A certified or compatible computer to act as the Userful host, with at least a temporary accompanying monitor, keyboard and mouse for the installation phase
- A compatible Nvidia offload card is recommended
- If applicable, a compatible capture card for video walls
- One or more compatible zero clients
- Necessary accessories for each zero client - keyboards, mice, displays
- A network switch with sufficient ports to deliver 1Gbps connectivity to each zero client, and at least 1Gbps to the Userful host
- A 10Gbps uplink (between Userful host and switch) is recommended if the Userful host will be serving more than 25 displays concurrently
- Category-5e (or better) Ethernet cabling throughout is recommended. Category-6a is recommended for 10Gbps uplinks
- Internet connection for easier access to Userful Support, sharing files, or streaming content from a CMS
Once all the components are ready, refer to network preparation section for the network guidelines.
Userful zero clients are extremely bandwidth intensive devices and their deployment requires planning before implementation.
- The Userful host and its zero clients should be placed on their own subnet. A router or a second network interface can be configured in the host to allow Userful to create and manage its own completely isolated LAN when connected to its own dedicated switch
- No more than 30 zero clients should share the same subnet if they do not uplink to the Userful host with a 10Gbps connection
- For optimal performance and reliability, the Userful host(s) and the zero clients should be configured with static IPs
Note: The Userful system should NEVER share a subnet with WiFi or other network devices that are not critical to the functionality of Userful.
- If you are installing a capture card, open the computer and install it into any available PCIe slot
- Insert the Userful install media into the computer and configure your BIOS to boot from it. While you are in the BIOS:
- if you intend to use VDI desktops, ensure virtualization support and/or acceleration options are enabled
- if you intend to install the product from USB Flash drive, ensure that UEFI Boot Order is disabled
After the Initial setup, before connecting any zero clients, the following steps are recommended.
- Ensure you are able to log into the Linux Desktop session from the default Welcome Screen, then log out again
- From the Welcome Screen, enter the Control Center by clicking the "gear" icon in the lower-right corner. Use your account password set during install to access the Control Center
- From the Control Center, note and address any pop-up warnings that appear
- Check for and install any available updates by going to System Operations -> Check for Updates
- Configure a static IP for the host from the same screen.
- If you are using a Blackmagic capture card, see the FAQs for information on how to check for and apply firmware updates.
At this point you should ensure you are able to access the Control Center via a browser on the network by entering the IP address of the Userful host into the browser's address bar. This is the preferred method of managing Userful. Once you have confirmed this, you may disconnect the peripherals attached to the host.
Set up and connect your zero clients in any way you see fit. It is highly recommended that they be fastened to the backs of the displays and powered using VESA mount screws and brackets, for any type of deployment, to avoid unintentional damage to the client.
Note: Use native connections where possible from the zero client to the relevant peripherals to minimize the risk of issues with automatic screen resolution detection.
When you are ready, power on the clients and connect them to the network.
Once all the clients are online, go to the "Network Stations" section of the Control Center. The most efficient process to make a zero client operational is as follows:
- Assign static IPs to each client
- Apply any firmware updates necessary
- Name each zero client as you see fit ("stn_##", "top left", "3rd from right")
- Finally, assign to the Userful host.
Proceed to Control Center to begin managing your new Userful system.
- Certified Host PCs
- Control Center
- Supported Capture Cards
- Supported Zero Clients
- Installation Guide
- Station Mapping Guide
- Configuring Video Wall
- Frequently Asked Questions