Thin client computing is becoming an increasingly popular option for IT managers and integrators. A thin client network is composed of thin client PCs along with specialized management software together with the server hardware on which all files, programs and applications are stored and maintained.
But not all thin clients are created equal. For situations that require a more reliable hardware solution, an industrial thin client is likely the best fit. This blog answers the question – “What is an Industrial Thin Client?”
What is a Thin Client?
A thin client computer is a device with little or no onboard storage designed to deliver programs and applications to the user from a centrally located terminal server. In contrast to the laborious task of maintaining a large deployment of individual terminal (desktop) PCs, thin clients allow for all program installation, patches and updates to be managed from the server and deployed as needed to the various thin clients on the network.
Thin Client vs. Industrial Thin Client
Thin clients are designed to provide an inexpensive, easy to maintain alternative to traditional user terminal networks. However, many thin client computers suffer from the same performance challenges as their “fat client” counterparts. While many thin client computers are fanless, they may still rely on perforated enclosures to keep the system cool. In more challenging computing environments, like those often encountered in warehouse management and manufacturing applications, these standard thin client systems struggle to stand up to the prolonged exposure to airborne particulates that can collect on internal components and cause damage from shorting or overheating.
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What is an Industrial Thin Client?
Industrial thin clients are specifically engineered to resist dust and debris. These systems feature fully fanless and ventless enclosures that protect internal components from damage while still keeping them cool. In addition, some industrial thin clients take this protection one step further. These are known as rugged thin clients. They can withstand other environmental factors like extreme temperatures, shock and vibration. These industrial and rugged thin clients also feature specialized I/O for the various displays, peripherals and supporting equipment required in many commercial applications.
What is a ThinManager Ready® Thin Client?
Thin client computers are only one part of a fully realized thin client computing solution. In addition to server hardware to store the distributed files and programs, thin client networks also require specialized management software to ensure effective data distribution and system maintenance. ThinManager is one of the most widely-used thin client management platforms available, allowing users to most efficiently utilize all of the features of thin client PCs. Some of the benefits of ThinManager include:
- Centralized Management
- Enhanced Network Security
- Extended Hardware Lifecycle
- Simple System Replacement
- MultiSession Support
- Failover Protection
Systems certified as ThinManager Ready undergo rigorous testing by ThinManager to ensure optimal software performance. The ThinManager Ready designation helps ensure ThinManager users and integrators that their thin client hardware has been engineered to seamlessly interface with ThinManager networks.
ThinManager Compatible vs ThinManager Ready
ThinManager maintains a full list of supported ThinManager hardware, however there’s an important distinction to be made between ThinManager Compatible systems and those certified as ThinManager Ready. Only ThinManager Ready computers have the appropriate BIOS pre-configured on the device. This enables them to download the necessary firmware directly from ThinManager. ThinManager Compatible thin clients on the other hand do not store the necessary static IP addresses and require DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) in order to assign the client an IP address. Essentially, ThinManager Ready thin clients allow for a simpler, plug and play experience.
OnLogic offers several ThinManager Ready solutions that combine the cost saving longevity and reliability of an industrial thin client with the proven efficiencies of the ThinManager platform. To learn more and to speak to one of our ThinManager specialists, connect with our technical sales team.
We originally posted this blog on December 10, 2014. We updated it for content on Feb 10, 2022.