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1. Background

Sun Ray Thin Clients are "headless" terminals, which means that they do not function as computers autonomously. A Sun Ray has no CPU, no hard drive, no memory, and no CD-ROM or floppy drives. Instead of incorporating these essential computer building blocks in this textbook-sized unit, the Sun Ray Thin Client makes use of another computer's resources, called the Sun Ray Server. Any Sun Machine can be configured as a Sun Ray Server, and any number of Sun Ray Thin Clients can make use of this server's resources; however, the number of thin clients is usually matched against processing power of a server. The only required peripherals for a Sun Ray Thin Client are a standard monitor, a USB Keyboard and Mouse, and of course a network connection. The Sun Ray Thin Client also features an RCA video input, microphone input, and speaker output.

When using a Sun Ray Thin Client, one essentially works on the Sun Ray Server, using its memory, hard drive, CPU, etc. The advantages of such a setup include simplied and central maintenance of software, and central storage of ones files and directories.

Figure 1.1: Sun Ray Thin Client Setup

A typical configuration of Sun Ray Thin Clients harnessing the power of one large-scaled server is in a lab or any other physically local setting. For example, a lab or office space would implement many Sun Ray Thin Clients connected via a high speed (100 Mbits) network to a large-scale Sun Server running the necessary Sun Ray Server software. However, the Sun Ray Server must not necessarily be located on the same subnet. Newer versions of the Sun Ray Server software allow for a much more distributed setting of Sun Ray Clients and Servers. More specifically, Sun describes 3 network topologies:

  1. Dedicated, private, non-routed Sun Ray network: Sun Ray Thin Clients are connected directly to the Sun Ray Server.
  2. Shared network with non-routed Sun Ray appliances: Sun Ray Thin Clients are connected to the same subnet as the Sun Ray Server.
  3. Shared, routed network: Sun Ray Thin Clients are on a subnet different than the Sun Ray Server. Client and Server may in fact be separated by a long distance, e.g. Server in California, Client in Europe. Note: Tips for setting up the Sun Ray Server in a shared, routed environment are available in the Reference/OS section .

For a local network (1. and 2.) the server and clients can communicate easily by using the services set up by the Sun Ray Server software (discussed later). However, when Server and Client are not on the same subnet (3.), a Sun Ray Thin Client cannot be simply plugged into a distant network and be expected to connect automatically to the right Server.

This project examines and provides a simple solution to the requirements of enabling a successful long-distance Sun Ray relationship.

Figure 1.2