One of the benefits of utilizing a BeBop workstation is having access to a powerful workstation any where you go. But how do optimize our experience when accessing the workstation in the cloud? This article will cover a few "Best Practices" that can help provide you with the best experience.
Let's start with the minimum system requirements.
By far the best experience connecting to a BeBop workstation is on a "Zero Client." This eliminates any distractions from your home computer that could impair your experience. If you need help connecting via a zero client please see this article: Connecting to a BeBop Workstation from a Zero Client.
The BeBop Desktop client requires a computer that is running at least the Windows 10 operating system or Mac OS El Capitan (10.11) and above.
You'll need your required peripherals (Display, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, Microphone, etc.) to be connected to your machine BEFORE you connect to your BeBop Workstation.
You will need a stable 20mb/s internet connection as a minimum requirement. There is a lot to consider here. For one this is a minimum system requirement. We're creatives and don't typically work with minimum system requirements. We like to max out our RAM, have the fastest drives running our software, have the most stable software installed, etc. We will need to give that same consideration to our network connection. It is after all your lifeline to this powerful system in the cloud.
Before we get to a few ways to improve your experience with whats available to you lets discuss what we need.
The 20mb/s is for a single 1920x1080 HD Monitor. If you have two monitors you will need at minimum 40mb/s. If you have three monitors; 60mb/s. And so on. In addition if your screen resolution is higher than 1080p then you will need to increase your connection requirement. If you are using a 4k monitor you will need at minimum 40mb/s. Two 4k monitors? 80mb/s. And keep in mind that is a minimum requirement of a dedicated stable connection stream.
Distraction Free Stable Connection
The secure technology that is used to view the BeBop workstation requires a stable internet connection. But what does that mean? In an ideal world you would have a direct connection to the data center where your workstation is hosted. There would be no other network traffic that would interfere with your experience. But since we can't always predict where inspiration strikes or what situation we are required to work in we need to try and eliminate any variables that can impact the stability of your connection. This is why the Zero Client is the preferred connection method. PCoIP is the technology that is used to view your workstation. It works by sending only the pixels that are changing on the workstation to your display. This allows for a moderate internet connection to be used to view. But the minimum requirement may not provide you with the viewing experience you desire. So we'll discuss some tips to improve your experience in a bit.
Best Practices or "Tips & Tricks" for optimizing YOUR situation
Work Environment - Self Care
When we are working "on-prem" we are typically given a suite or bay that is designed both structurally and aesthetically to facilitate a distraction free environment allowing us to settle in to a creative mode. When you are working remotely you want to try and give yourself as much of that consideration as you can.
If you have a room that you can use as your remote office, DO IT! Close the door! Lock it if you have to! Anyone that has worked from home or at a coffee shop can tell you that even the smallest movement that is not your own can pull you away from your work. Don't work at your dining table if you can avoid it. Having your kids running up to you or your pet trying to get onto your lap constantly is a productivity ender. Dr. Evil definitely looked large and in charge sitting there with his pet in his lap...but remember that at the end...he didn't accomplish his goals.
Work Environment - Considering your computer
If you aren't able to utilize a Zero Client for your workstation you will want to give more attention to your PC. The operating system already has functions that will be utilizing your network connection to access the internet. Every time one of these tasks are run it CAN impact your experience on a virtual machine. If we can't stop those functions there are definitely some things that we can stop.
Just to name a few:
Dropbox Spotify Adobe Creative Cloud Time Machine iTunes
Most of the things that show up near your clock access the internet to check for updates or sync. Turn off those features or better yet shut down those programs while connecting to a BeBop Workstation. Additionally you'll want to make sure you aren't streaming Netflix or have a bunch of tabs open in your web browser.
Network Connection - Controlling what we can
After we have optimized our own computer to remove any distractions we will want to turn our attention to our own network. Do you have family members or roommates that are streaming Netflix? Is there someone using your network that could be causing additional traffic? We want to prioritize your connection on the network. If you can't ask other people to stay off your network you might want to try setting up a separate network using your routers control panel. Put everyone else on that network and keep your system as the only attached system on another. There are additional optimizations that can be done to prioritize your connection depending on the type of router that you have and its features. Consult your manual for more information.
Network Interrupts - Adapting to what we can't control
Now that we have done everything we can to optimize our own work environment network connection we need to look at other factors. One of the powerful components associated with working from a facility is the access to enterprise level network connections. When working from home or in the field we are connecting to our workstation using the "Public Internet." That means that between your display and the data center you have to travel through everyone else's internet traffic. Unfortunately their is nothing we can do about other people's usage.
The way that we can adapt to this challenge is to change our workflow a little. Remember that the network requirements are based on the number of pixels that need to be updated. So as we are playing back content at full screen resolution we are hitting the upper limit of the requirements. As soon as we hit the stop button our needs drop. We can improve our experience by minimizing what we are asking the technology to do.
- If you have multiple monitors running can you work on just a single display?
- Move your mouse to the top of the screen and select "Show Fullscreen One Monitor." This will drop your network requirements in half.
- Reduce Program monitor size
- If you don't HAVE to use full screen or larger playback then reduce the size of the Program panel. This can drastically reduce the network requirements.
- Turn off color scopes
- Although its cool to see the pixel parade while playing back content it does tax your network system more.
- Close or reduce panels that are constantly updating (TC Reader, audio meters, audio mixers, etc.)
Know any more tips or tricks that have helped you optimize your BeBop experience? Send us a note at email@example.com and let us know!