Can't find working solution for Plugable UD-160-A to be used in multipoint/multiseat/multistation environment


#1

Plugable UD-160-A as zero client can’t be used in multistation/multiseat/multipoint environment.

Multistation solutions available on market so far:

  • Windows Multipoint Server 2011 : Based on server 2008! Imagine the hardware driver support. Even generic MIDI driver doesn’t work. Not to mention graphic display drivers, and every other peripheral drivers on newer laptop models. The whole OS is joke.
  • Linux userful multiseat : simply doesn’t have many hardware drivers support, and not many application can be installed and run on it
  • Miniframe SoftXpand 2011 : The only solution that can run on Windows 7 (that support wide range of driver and applications), but just crash with DisplayLink driver and no fix so far.

Everything is dead end…
If you know any multistation solution that worked with Windows 7, please light me up


#2

Hi Sathya,

Thanks for posting and asking. One good thing is there are these several different options for turning one computer into many with relatively cheap USB client devices.

Of the multiseat solutions available today, we see Windows Multipoint Server 2011 as the best overall in terms of the factors that you mention (overall hardware and software ease of setup and compatibility). Microsoft has based this product on Windows Server 2008 R2 (which is based on the same codebase as Windows 7) – and this is the most recent Windows Server version (see http://microsoft.com/windowsserver/)). All the devices we sell (including all the functions of the Plugable UD-160-A http://plugable.com/products/ud-160-a/ ) have drivers available - so it’s really quite a good situation that way.

Did you have any trouble with the built-in display, audio, keyboard, mouse (and any USB drives also plugged into the dock), with the UD-160-A and WMS 2011? Let us know if so - we’ll be able to help.

Linux multiseat solutions can be great (whether commercial like Userful or open source), but definitely it’s not the same driver and application options as on Windows. Generally Linux is best where there’s already a comfort level there, or with web-focused use. We’re hopeful about coming fully open source solutions, just because zero per-user license cost will make a huge difference in the appeal of this kind of solution.

Miniframe modifies the operating system and graphics drivers to make multiseat work on an existing copy of Windows (they have different versions for XP and Win7). It has it’s own limitations, though, as you’ve seen - they have to integrate deeply with the OS and drivers to do their magic, and that can have its own consequences. They’ve previously had support for DisplayLink-based devices on their XP product, and are working on support for them on their Win7 product. We don’t have dates from them yet on when that support will be released.

I hope that little bit of additional background helps. Specific to our product, please email support@plugable.com if you have any troubles at all - we’ll be able to help solve the problem. And we never want customers stuck with product that isn’t meeting their needs, so we’re happy to arrange a return/refund if that’s best.

Thanks again,
Bernie


#3

Thanks for the reply.
Yes I ordered the dock stations for multistation purpose. Otherwise I only need a UGA if all I want is extended display.

I had tried WMS 2011 (free trial from MS) which I also thought should be anything but similar to WIn7 since it has the same codebase. But after a while, I found so many incompatibility issues. My laptop display driver doesn’t fully support WMS2011/WS2008. It may work but as generic plug and play display, which turned out to be laggy for both primary and extended display because it can’t use the full potential of the hardware. I also found this problem on several other devices such as bluetooth driver, etc. No matter what, laptop drivers these days only made for Win7 and XP. Another frustating bug was that WMS2011 can’t detect my MIDI device (a keyboard MIDI controller), it detected the device being plugged in, but it didn’t show up in MIDI setting of any application. I even thought that my controller was broken. But turned out, it works fine with XP and Win7. Plug n play.
As long as these incompatibility issues exist, there’s no application installed would run smoothly. This is why I concluded that WMS2011 is MS’ half-baked product.

As for Miniframe softxpand, I had tried both express (XP version), and 2011 (Win7). The XP version doesn’t have GUI, and seems to soon being replaced and abandoned by both company (MS and miniframe) and therefore will has no future support. Unfortunately, it is the most working solution by now. New laptops are shipped with Win7 anyway. There’s no reason to buy additional XP just for this. XP has just being considered obsolete by the whole industry.
This lead to Win7 as the most hassle-free solution with every hardware manufacturer and software programmers support. Everything is working except for the miniframe’s Softxpand. The key to split it into multistation enviroment…
As for miniframe, the company doesn’t talk. I had contacted them a few times but get no reply whatsoever. Their license also limited to only sold by resellers, which in my opinion so weird…since they’re selling something digital.

As for Mac, there’s no solution whatsoever so far. I also have high hopes for someone could develop such multistation feature… hopefully from Apple themselves.

Finally, I can’t return these dock stations since I live overseas. The shipping cost itself wouldn’t worth it. This is why I have a really high hope that miniframe would come up with a solution in near future. Or if there’s any similar solution out there that we didn’t aware of.


#4

Btw, I know this is not the appropriate place to nag about softxpand, but they just sooo…not working.

I mean they built the softXpand2011 FOR Win7, but didn’t come up with a solution for DIsplayLink chipset driver in the first place. In the meantime, most of the zero clients docking stations out there USING DisplayLink technology. There’re very few companies has their own technology for example nComputing. But they don’t need softXpand since they developed vSpace on their own.

I can’t figure out where’s the market for softXpand2011. Everything just doesn’t add up…


#5