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Frequently Asked Questions About NCD and Thin Client Computing

About NCD?

Founded in 1988, Network Computing Devices, Inc. (OTC BB: NCDI) is a leading provider of innovative products and technology for the thin client and Internet appliance market. The company's offerings include its flagship Thinfrastructure family of products, comprising of software for the management of thin clients and PCs, as well as the NC900 Business Network Computer X-terminal. NCD focuses on the future of server-based computing as it expands to encompass thin clients, PCs, PDAs and other mobile devices, and offers its customers the knowledge, experience, solutions and services necessary to make it all work together seamlessly.

What is Thin Client Computing?

The term thin client originated in the 90's to describe a new category of client devices such as NCs, X Terminals and Windows-based Terminals (WBTs) that run "thin" operating systems locally as opposed to the traditional "fat" PC operating systems (Win95, NT, etc.). Today, the term thin client computing defines a network-based approach to information processing that is comprised of both hardware and software elements. Together, thin client hardware and software translates to simpler, more cost effective access to information.

What is a Thin Client Device?

Thin clients are easy-to-administer, cost-effective hardware devices that provide customers with access to centrally-controlled applications.

What is Thin Client Software?

Thin client software accesses practically any operating environment, permits local printing, audio and serial device support, and provides tools to deliver simple, cost-effective remote management and support of a thin client network, including both thin clients and PCs.

What are the Benefits of Thin Client Computing?

Ease of management, rapid deployment and outstanding reliability are the key benefits of thin client computing. Thin client computing also delivers a reduced total cost of ownership, which includes not only the up-front cost of the hardware, but also the price of installing, supporting and updating the device over time.

Does Thin Client Computing Differ from the Terminal-Mainframe Approach of the 1960's?

Apart from the very simple desktop management and elimination of frequent desktop upgrades, thin client computing differs greatly from the terminal-mainframe model in three primary ways:
  • Access to All Network Operating Environments—Thin client computing provides simultaneous network-based access to applications running in multiple environments (including Windows, UNIX, legacy, and Java) from one graphical desktop. The mainframe computing model usually provided a connection between the terminal and one mainframe host.
  • Graphical Desktop Interface—Thin clients present a user with the familiar Windows or UNIX graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and provide full support for audio and high-resolution imaging. Character terminals provided access primarily to character-based applications.
  • Local processing—Thin clients contain powerful CPUs that are used for a variety of display and input-output functions and also run local emulators, a web browser and Java-based applications. Character terminals provided very rudimentary local capabilities.

What is the Difference between a Thin Client Device and a Network Computer?

"Thin client device" is a generic term referring to a device that displays or processes applications that reside remotely on network-based servers. Typically, these applications reside and are processed on Windows, UNIX or legacy hosts. Display processing takes place locally.

Windows-based terminals are Windows-CE based devices that are optimized to access Microsoft Terminal Server (a multi-user version of Windows NT). These machines access Terminal Server through the embedded Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), and do not require a third-party layered protocol. These terminals can access legacy environments through either client or server-based emulators.

Network Computers, another type of thin client device, are optimized to access X11 applications running on UNIX servers. Network Computers can also access Windows applications residing on multi-user Windows NT applications servers via an ICA client. In addition to other thin client capabilities, the Network Computer supports a local Netscape Navigator browser and runs local Java-based applets (version 1.1).

What is NCD Thinfrastructure?

NCD Thinfrastructure is a complete, end-to-end solution-not just devices, not just client management software -- for accessing, delivering, and managing information over networks. NCD Thinfrastructure includes:

  • Award-winning NCD ThinSTAR hardware devices accessing applications under Microsoft Windows Terminal Services or Citrix Metaframe
  • Superior NCD ThinPATH client management software providing critical functionality on the desktop
  • World-class service and support ensuring ease of deployment and use

What is the NCD ThinSTAR Famiy?

NCD ThinSTAR family is made up of Windows-based terminals (WBTs) and Linux thin clients that provide cost-effective access to Windows applications residing on multi-user network-based Windows NT application servers. The NCD ThinSTAR family provides the enterprise user with the easiest to install, administer and use desktop devices available.

What is the NCD ThinPATH Family?

The NCD ThinPATH software family is a tool box of software packages that enhances the functionality and flexibility of PCs, ThinSTAR terminals and Microsoft Windows Terminal Server and its embedded display protocol, RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol).

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What are the NCD ThinPATH Software Products?

NCD ThinPATH PC-configures and manages PCs as thin clients to access server-based computing. ThinPATH PC reduces the cost of using PC desktops and also presents an ideal transition point for companies looking to migrate to thin client appliances. The user interface makes it simple to access applications, but it also protects the PC from unapproved desktop changes. Applications run from Citrix MetaFrame, Nfuse, Terminal Services, Web server or locally on the PC.

NCD ThinPATH Portal-is an evolutionary tool that empowers your IT department to easily manage and deploy thin client desktops, whether they are NCD's award-winning ThinSTARs, other selected thin client devices, or PCs converted to thin clients by NCD's revolutionary ThinPATH PC software. ThinPATH Portal provides automated software deployment, centralized configuration distribution, and remote management.

NCD ThinPATH Executive-a bundled software package that provides you the greatest flexibility and control in server-based computing. ThinPATH Executive includes:

  • NCD ThinPATH Plus-enhances the both Microsoft Terminal Services and Citrix MetaFrame by providing support for devices that are connected to the desktop through parallel and serial ports and Windows audio input and output (Wav or AVI files). With NCD ThinPATH Plus, customers can support industry-specific applications that require local attachment of printers, PDAs, readers and other devices.
  • NCD ThinPATH Desktop Mirror-enables remote, centralized desktop support for Windows Terminal Server Edition installation on PCs and NCD ThinSTAR terminals. Via only an IP address, a person can request to "mirror" another user at any resolution or color scheme and use both the keyboard and mouse devices. Everything including RDP, ICA, terminal emulations and locally running applications can be seen and problems corrected without visiting the user's desktop.

ThinPATH Portal Annual Subscription Plus--provides one year of software updates and email technical support for ThinPATH PC, ThinPATH Portal and/or ThinPATH Executive. Purchase this service for added peace of mind and to avoid further upgrade charges within the given year. This package offers the added security of email technical support to ensure easy installation and continued smooth operation.