Network Setup Dialog
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This function under Maintenance / Network Functions will only be available if you are authorized for networking (more than one workstation), and changes can be made only if you're logged in with an Administrator access level. Note that these options are stored in the file Campground Master.ini, so they must be set up separately for each workstation.
The descriptions here give basic information about the options -- for complete information on network functions and options, refer to the other Network Functions sections.
Maximum number of workstations authorized -- This value is determined by your authorization (the number of workstations for which you purchased a license. It is not editable.
This Workstation's ID -- Each workstation must have a unique numeric ID, which starts at 0. So for instance in a 5-workstation system, this number will be in the range 0 to 4. The workstation ID will be shown in the caption bar for easy reference.
Nickname -- You can give a workstation a nickname, which will show in the caption bar and is also used in diagnostic messages. This is optional, so you can leave this field blank. The nickname will also be shown in the caption bar.
Master (server) workstation ID -- One and only one workstation is designated as the master, and will be running the server side of the network. This is usually the workstation with the ID of "0", but may be changed if necessary. It's critical that this is the correct ID -- it must be the ID of the workstation at the given IP address!
Master IP address -- This is the IP address of the master workstation (server). This value is not used on the master itself, so it will be greyed out for the master, but all other workstations must have this set properly. While this is usually a numeric IPv4 address, it's possible to enter an URL in case you have a custom DNS setup (an advanced procedure that would be up to your network specialist).
Show IP address button -- Shown if this is the master (according to the ID's entered). You can use this button to show the IP address of this computer.
Test (Ping IP) button -- Shown if this is a client workstation. You can use this button to test the connection to the IP address entered for the master.
TCP/IP port -- This is the port number used for communicating. All workstations must use the same port number. A number above 6000 is recommended to reduce the change of conflicting with other communications software.
Password -- You should choose a suitable password to protect access to your data (especially if connected to the internet). A default will be used (which is different for every database), but it can be changed here. It must be at least 8 characters long. We recommend changing this password every 90 days or less, or whenever an employee leaves the company, to minimize risk of unauthorized access.
Max allowed client time diff -- This setting (for the master workstation only) specifies how may seconds the clocks can be different between the master and a client computer and still allow the client to connect. This is important for proper database synchronization between the computers. This is initially set for 120 seconds to minimize connection issues, however we recommend that you lower this as much as possible to improve synchronization. If the computers are all on a local network and have internet connection, this can usually be very low, like 5 seconds, since the computers will automatically synchronize their time from the internet. Note that different time zones are automatically accounted for, assuming the computer's time & date settings are configured correctly.
Show "Connecting" progress window -- When this is enabled, a window will automatically open any time the a workstation (excluding the master) is attempting to make connection with the server. This should be left on to server as an indication whenever the connection is lost. (The window will automatically close 5 seconds after a connection is made.) However if the network is unstable and workstations require reconnecting often, this window may be disabled to reduce the annoyance.
Time-out for requests (3 to 600 seconds) -- Enter the number of seconds to wait for a response from the server when communicating (requesting a record lock or sending changes). Typically this should be about 3 to 5 seconds, but for slow (internet) connections you may raise this. It may also need to be raised if you're running a large number of very active workstations.
Remote update refresh delay (0 to 600 seconds) -- This determines how long to wait before the program is considered "idle" and can refresh the screen when an update comes in from another workstation. It does not mean that the data update itself is delayed. The purpose of having a refresh delay is so that the screen doesn't refresh frequently when you're trying to look at something or click on a function. It also determines the minimum time to wait between updates while idle, avoiding network delays for instance if the refresh takes significant time and there is a lot of network activity that would otherwise cause constant refreshing. Any time the mouse is moved or clicked, the program is considered "active" and screen refreshes from other workstations will be delayed until activity stops for the indicated number of seconds. If you open and close a dialog or change tab views, the screen will refresh immediately, so an easy way to force an immediate refresh is to click on another tab view and then click back, or to press F9 for the Search function and then Esc to close it.
"Heartbeat" frequency (3 to 600 seconds) -- This time determines how often an "alive" message is sent to the server (or to other workstations from the server). This must be at least 3 seconds to avoid networking bottlenecks. This frequency also determines how often a workstation will check to see if it has been disconnected and will attempt to reconnect automatically (if the auto-start function is enabled). If all workstations are idle, this also serves to keep communications happening on the network, and will affect how frequently the network status indicator changes on the status bar.
Min. Delay between saves (1 to 600 seconds) Typically a 10-second pause in network activity is recommended before the database is saved, to avoid undue delays when there is a lot of activity. This setting specifies the minimum time it will wait after a change is received from the network before saving the database to the hard drive. It will wait for there to be no further network changes or keyboard & mouse activity before saving the data. If this is larger than the normal Auto-save time set under Program Options, this value takes precedence (unless the auto-save delay in Program Options is set to 0). However if this is smaller than the Auto-save time set in Program Options, then the Auto-save time is used.
Max. delay between saves (0 to 600 seconds) -- In case the network activity never has a pause long enough to meet the minimum delay setting above, this setting will force it to save the data after the period specified (assuming a delayed save is pending), so it's at least saved occasionally.
Max. block size for sending large files (kbytes) -- This sets the size to use when splitting up large files, like when sending the full database. The default size is 128K. Using a larger size might be slightly faster in total time to send, but at a certain point (over 200K), it can start causing delays in responsiveness. It's more efficient for the networking if it can process small messages, so it can handle multiple workstations at once without delaying other workstations from getting a response.
Networking Enabled -- Unchecking this option will completely disable all network functions.
Auto-start Networking on program startup (and reconnect if disconnected) -- This should be left enabled for normal operations, but may be disabled to avoid repeated connection attempts for workstations known to be disconnected from the network.
Force Autosave of the database -- The auto-save function under Database options should be enabled, but just in case it's disabled by accident, this function will make sure the database is still saved after every operation. While it's recommended that the database should always be auto-saved after every change, this can cause delays in very active network environments or for very large databases.
Log all network activity -- This option can be enabled to create detailed network activity logs for troubleshooting. These logs are generally small and can be created without any noticeable affect on the system. Like other logs, they are automatically deleted after 30 days (or whatever the auto-delete setting is under Database options).
Log record locks -- This is only for extreme troubleshooting, and should not be selected unless directed by support. This will generate much larger log files and slow down the system, but may be needed for certain troubleshooting issues.
Request a database update every time connected -- This can be a dangerous option, so be sure you understand it before using it! When this is enabled for a client, it will request the full database from the server every time it reconnects. This can be useful for seldom-connected workstations, since it may be quicker to get the whole database than to get all of the changes since last connected. However, this also means that any changes made on this client while offline will not be sent to the master and will be lost. So only use this option if you know that the client never is used offline to make changes.
Show an Alert when a network synchronization error is detected -- Normally you want to leave this enabled, since any synchronization problems need to be remedied promptly. If for some reason these Alerts are more of a nuisance than a help, then they can be disabled.
Auto-fix orphans when detected -- If any orphan-causing network sync errors are detected, will auto-fix any orphans (after waiting for 5 seconds of idle time). This action is generally "silent" but will be recorded in the audit trail and will be shown in the status bar as it's doing it, in case it takes awhile. This should help eliminate most Orphan problems, or at least make them get corrected quickly. If you suspect this is causing a problem for some reason you can disable it, but it's recommended that you leave it on.
Delete all old log files (except today) and Delete ALL log files -- These should only be done if directed by technical support, and only if you're sure that a verified working backup is available. These functions will delete all logs except the current day, and is typically only used to solve problems with network synchronization due to excessive log size (e.g. when a workstation has been offline for a long period of time). Without the log files, networking cannot automatically synchronize individual changes made on each workstation, so the server may need to send the entire database to each client.