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Networking with AXWareTS

A Network Module for AXWareTS provides the capability to control Events across several computers. This can greatly improve and speed up the registration process and provides flexibility during the event by spreading the functions and process to multiple computers, rather than having everything managed by the timing computer alone.

Networking AXWareTS is managed using TCP/IP communications, is fast, flexible and supports whatever network setup you may be using.  

The Networking Modes are: 

  • Timing Server:  This is the computer with the timing hardware connected to it and is considered to be Timing Control.  It is the central data store and main gateway that exchanges data throughout the event. Network Clients connect to this computer and manage the event in real-time.

    The Timing Server is the key to providing the data exchanges between itself and all of the clients, coordinating and controlling data content and acting as a data router/gateway.  Timing data, changes to registrations and other data is sent to all active clients whether the changes originate from the Timing Server itself or from any other Networking client, such as the Registration and Audit clients. However, data exchanges only occur when the Timing Server is active.

    If the Timing Server is not active, Networking Clients, event though not connected, may cache data changes and once the Timing Server comes online, all data exchanges will commence. It is critical to note that you should, in all practical efforts, start the Timing Server before launching any other Networking Client in order to provide real-time exchanges and keep all your clients consistently up-to-date.  

    The provide networking, simple start the Timing Server on your timing computer and specify the Timing Server PC name on all other Networking Clients.

The Networking Clients (listed below) can provide functions and features similar to the Timing Server however access to data is specific to the Client Mode. 

Some capabilities on the Networking clients will be limited based on the Client that is loaded. This also includes features and functions that can help offset some of the key functions to Timing and Scoring. 

 Below is s list of specific features of the Clients.

  • Registration Client I & II: Registration Clients (2 clients are available)

    Registration clients provide remote registration capabilities. This can adds 2 additional computers that can help speed up registration or provide registration throughout the event, as necessary. All registration updates, new entries, edits, deletions etc., are exchanged between the Timing Server and these clients in real time.

    Timing control, timing data and related functions are disabled on the Registration Clients, rendering the Staging Grid in-active. 

    4 Total computers can manage Registrations, including Heat setup, class changes etc. These include the Timing Server, Audit Client and 2 Registration Clients. In a typical installation, the Timing Server and one or both Registrations Clients will suffice. For example: 1 Registration Client can provide a quick check in and payment line for online registrations and the 2nd computer (be it Timing Server or another client) can manage walk ups where additional data and thus time are needed.

    You can:
    • enter and edit registrations
    • print registration based reports
    • heat assignments
    • work assignment
    • grid assignments
    • most any feature of registration.
    • Note: No timing data will be seen on these clients.
       
  • Announcer Clients I && II: Announcer clients (2 clients are available)

    Announcer Clients provide a 'read-only' style of views allowing data to be displayed and viewed any way necessary.  These can provide your announcers full data access to pull up data in the registrations, staging, any reports, and even utilize the Announcer Window for interactive access to vehicles that are staged, running and a history of vehicles that ran.

    The Announcer Clients can view, print, display and manage anything, all without the ability to edit any data.  They even have the ability to display times on a Display or so configured. You can:

    • view

    • display times on displays

    • Announcer Window (real time announcer information)

    • print reports

    • print time slips

    • do live timing

    • live streaming

    • Timing Displays

    • Announcer Window

    • and view anything about the event.
       

  • Audit Client: The audit client provides full editing functionality of the data, including Registrations and Staging data.  You can edit entrants times, penalties and other effective timing changes.

    This relieves the Timing Server and the T&S persons from managing penalty changes, audits and edits during the event. Audit Client can make those changes real-time and seamlessly.  The T&S persons can then focus on staging cars and keeping timing rolling.

    The Audit client also has full access to all of the data.  You have access to view, display, use the Announcer Windows, print reports, print time slips, do live timing, live streaming, as well as other functions, all without affecting the Timing Server or any other client.  Timing Displays and printers may be configured to provide additional functionality as well.  Essentially the Audit client is almost as powerful as the Timing Server but without the timer connections.
     

  • AXWareStaging an AXWareTS DM (Distributed Management) Android application that provides staging control allowing you to easily and quickly stage vehicles into the T&S Server.  Very much akin to a bar code scanner but with simplicity in mind, the app loads the registration list from the T&S computer and stages entries with 1 button click. The app displays the Registration List in Class or Car Number order and allows you to easily scroll, view and stage entries, all while supporting your class structure. Clear and concise.
     
  • DM Client/Penalty Manager: The Penalty Manager provides full control of entering and managing penalties for 1-6 corners in real-time. The Penalty Manager receives staged entries via the normal Networking communications and provides direct penalty control for each corner station. This client can be used as a data entry client for penalties, relieving this duty from the T&S Timing computer, as well as a fully integrated WIFI setup that utilizes our AXWareTS Corners Android App at corner stations. 

    Using AXWareTS Corners Android App, corner stations are no longer required to radio in the penalties, but instead select penalties using the buttons in the Android App.  Simple and fast, the penalties no longer need to be acknowledge since they are provided to the Penalty Manager and relayed to the T&S Timing Server in real time. Confusion about which vehicle owns the penalty is also reduced since the App provides very clear and distinct information for each vehicle.  This effectively reduces voice interactions and the time it takes to acknowledge penalties and allows the corner station workers concentrate on the vehicles on course. See Penalty Manager for more information.

    The WIFI setup requires a robust WIFI Network that can consist of a high output AP (Access Point) similar to the Ubiquity Nanostation M5. Extending the network can consist of several Ubiquity Nanostation M5 running as AP-Repeaters that both provide WIFI support for Android devices at longer distances on course.  The location of the Nanostations is fairly important and should be in clear line of sight configurations.  The main challenge is providing power to the remote Nanostation, which is powered by PoE (power of Ethernet) with 24VDC support.  Golf cart batters, invertors and various other power systems can be used to provide the remote station power, which can include a generator with AC/DC adapter for PoE that comes with the unit.


Networking - WIFI for AXWareDM

One of the challenges for providing WIFI support is the range of WIFI networks.  We are recommending a particular setup that uses Ubiquity hardware components. They are in-expensive but very robust solutions than can provide miles of range and support.

In particular we have tested and recommend the Ubiquity NanoStation M5 (or newer) Access Points.  These Nanostations provide long range solutions at a very reasonable cost to value.  They also have excellent support and lots of information about configurations and setups that can be tweaked for most any setup.  Ubiquity also offers a software called airView that can be used to analyze frequencies in your area.  Ubiquity products can be purchased from many distributors including Amazon.

For our purposes, small autocross lots should be covered fairly adequate with a single Ubiquity NanoStation M5 acting as a Access Point for the Corner Stations.  For very long distances, long lots or runways may requiring an additional station. Setup if very straight forward and only requires you to modify your network settings and setup the Nanostation with a fixed IP address (and security as necessary).  some minor tuning and setup should be performed to tune the Nanostation to support a less used WIFI channel in your area, as well as various settings that support hand held devices like phones and tablets.

One of the challenges for remote Nanostations is the power supply.  Most of the Ubiquity components use PoE (24VDC) configurations.  Power can be provided using batteries, solar panels, generators, invertors and AC/DC power if available. For extended networks the Nanostations should be configured as NanoStation AP-Repeaters. This allows each station to act as an Access Points and still provide the bridging that is needed to extend the WIFI network. Ubiquity dictates ranges of up to 15km+ (~10miles), depending on configuration.


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