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Let's talk about C-more Remote Access (aka C-more Console)

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  • Let's talk about C-more Remote Access (aka C-more Console)

    Remote Access is a critical feature for SCADA systems. It can save thousands of dollars per year in on-site technicians and travel costs.

    Unfortunately, C-more Remote Access over the internet sucks (and that's being polite). In central California, most of our customers have internet connections with no more than 5 Mb/s upload speed. This isn't a problem in itself, it's fast enough for Team Viewer, LogMeIn, RealVNC, RDP, GoToMeeting, or pretty much any other remote viewing protocol. The problem is that C-more panels want to use ALL of the bandwidth.



    Here is an example of one of our common screens reaching 19.1 Mb/s on the LAN. Why, with default settings (60% graphic quality) would I ever need 19 Megabits of data per second? That's over 2 MegaBYTES. I just want to see the current screen image, I don't want to transfer DSLR photos. Somehow worse, is that reducing this value has no apparent benefit. I'm currently looking at "1% Graphic Quality", and sure it looks like crap, but it's still using 10 Mb/s. Why?

    It seems that this egregious use of bandwidth comes down to polling. There are two settings in the Setup under "Updating interval":
    Screen (ms)
    Object (ms)

    Screen seems to do jack squat. I can set it to 2 (ms) or 20000, and it does the same thing. No visual difference, no control difference, no bandwidth difference. Unless I'm mistaken and it has some very specific usage, it's broken.

    Object, however, does seem to have a usage. Lower values keep my Mb/s at a sickeningly high level and causes anxiety. Higher values cause delays in when the panel updates on the Console (remote access) side and make you question whether you pressed the button or not. This is somewhat expected. Sadly, once the Object poll time comes back around, it still tries to pull that massive image over the wire. Were this an internet connection, I'd run the risk of hitting the timeout.

    Ah, the timeout. This is the value that I have to raise in order to use the Remote Access feature at most facilities. The default 3000ms is enough to connect and look at some screens for up to a minute before getting kicked. I've learned to copy/paste the password to get back in as quick as possible.

    Screens with less information update faster, so it's possible that some of you aren't seeing the issues that the rest of us are. Or, you are unknowingly spoiled by amazing internet connections. I know there are people who have issues with this feature. Voice your struggle here.


  • #2
    Thank you for doing the actual bandwidth test! This answers a lot of questions to the problems I've been experiencing.
    PLEASE if there is any workaround or fix for the high-bandwidth issue, anyone with any ideas/input - advice appreciated.
    We use mostly cell modem connections with a VPN and usually works great, except the exact problems you're describing.

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    • #3
      I was glad (and even excited) to share my findings, thinking they would be useful to others. I had a second post in this thread with even more information I had learned in my extensive testing. It was unceremoniously deleted by a moderator. I still have a copy of what I posted (in case of deletion), but the authorities have me wary of being "too helpful". I'm glad you found my post useful. Unfortunately there is no solution or fix other than to drastically limit what is displayed on an individual screen. All suggestions from tech support are either blindly missing the point (made by the data I've presented), or just plain unhelpful. Since my post has been deleted, I have no faith that the dialog is open with AD or that their engineers are even aware of the fundamental flaws with the remote viewing functionality.

      Sorry if that sounds dreary, dramatic, resentful. I'm actually feeling quite well!

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      • #4
        This being a "known issue" I'm surprised it hasn't been addressed by now, could it really be a hardware issue that can't be solve by firmware re-working?

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        • #5
          That's where my data ends and speculation begins. But I believe the problem is solvable in software. Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol is the best example and the basis for TeamViewer and the like. The philosophy is "why draw the whole screen, when you can draw only the pixels that have changed?".

          C-more could do something similar and only draw Objects that have changed, and at the very least it could do it on the "writing" side of data, as in, when we make a change to an object on the remote client and send that to the C-more screen. If I hit a push button, the app should send that data (the push button action) to the c-more. Instead, it send the whole screen and every object's status. This is evident by how a simple screen uses little bandwidth and a complex screen uses gargantuan bandwidth.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Orion HE View Post
            I was glad (and even excited) to share my findings, thinking they would be useful to others. I had a second post in this thread with even more information I had learned in my extensive testing. It was unceremoniously deleted by a moderator. I still have a copy of what I posted (in case of deletion), but the authorities have me wary of being "too helpful". I'm glad you found my post useful. Unfortunately there is no solution or fix other than to drastically limit what is displayed on an individual screen. All suggestions from tech support are either blindly missing the point (made by the data I've presented), or just plain unhelpful. Since my post has been deleted, I have no faith that the dialog is open with AD or that their engineers are even aware of the fundamental flaws with the remote viewing functionality.

            Sorry if that sounds dreary, dramatic, resentful. I'm actually feeling quite well!


            We actually have very few rules for post deletion. If a post was deleted it was very likely because of one of these reasons:


            1. It was blatant advertising. We do not allow commercial advertising. If a forum member recommends something or has a one off of something for sale that is fine, but we do not allow people to post ads. If we did, that's all the forum would become. Asking for assistance or recommendations is perfectly acceptable.

            2. Foul Language or being rude, obnoxious, or outright mean. This includes anything that might be deemed Not Safe For Work (NSFW). This is a forum for help, not a place to attack others just because you are upset or disagree. If you have an issue we want to hear about it, but we do not tolerate rudeness. Play nice please.

            3. It was spam. We get a lot and we do our best to combat it.

            4. The post had confidential information in it that should never have been posted to a public forum; addresses, phone numbers, email, etc. Again, this happens infrequently. This sort of information should be sent in a Private Message to the intended party.

            5. It was an accident. It happens once in a blue moon. We are human and occasionally we accidentally tag something that shouldn't have been tagged. If this is the case, we apologize.


            That is pretty much it. There are probably a few other outside cases where a post might get deleted, but that covers the majority of the things that happen.

            We welcome feedback. It helps make the products better. Better products are better for us as a company and better for our customers. It's a Win-Win. Occasionally (<5%) there really isn't much we can do with feedback due to design issues. Most of the time (>95%) the feedback gets put into our database for the vendor to work on at some future point. Development takes time although I am sure that everyone wishes that it didn't.

            I hope this provides some insight.
            If you have an urgent issue, please contact AutomationDirect's Technical Support team.

            AutomationDirect.com Technical Support: 1(800) 633-0405 or (770) 844-4200 Email Tech Support

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            • #7
              I've sent a PM including the verbatim deleted post. As I said, I saved it just in case someone thought it shouldn't exist. I'm sure it falls into the edge case scenarios. I won't defend my honor by posting it again publicly. It most likely was deleted because it had information that wasn't in the documentation. I posted it because it was valuable. I still don't see why C-more users don't deserve to know that information, since it applies directly to our usage of the product.

              I agree that it's helpful to receive feedback. Hopefully you can do something with the feedback in the deleted post that contributes to improving the product.

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