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Evolution 8 + Intel Compute Stick... I think I am in EAA Heaven

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#276 Noah4x4

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 05:39 PM

Does anybody have performance problems with his Intel stick pc now that the Intel security problem got patched by Microsoft?

 

I never had problems with my stick PC in terms of CPU and memory usage even with SharpCap, Stellarium and PHD2 running in parallel. But since yesterday (when several updates got installed) I have terrible lags and an overall slow EAA system. mad.gif

I am running a wireless EAA system where an NUC i5 is doing the processing at the scope controlled by a seperate laptop in my (warm) office and the NUC images reviewed remotely over TeamViewer. This too was working fine but once Windows 10 updated yesterday (a massive update that took ages to download!) I started to suffer significant 'lag' that was not present before.

 

At first, I thought the bottleneck was my office laptop with a mere Celeron processor. However, TeamViewer normally transfers data via its server's over Internet and my fast LAN at 802.1ac and cabled broadband was previously satisfactory. But as I could find no other reason, I assumed that the Internet step was the likely problem.  I hence changed my settings on both PCs to <Accept incoming LAN connections so that they could communicate directly via my home network and not over Internet. This improved things. But it was not until I added a cheap WiFi extender between my router (inside my house) and office (inside garage) did things revert to their previous speed.  It might be just coincidence and merely a local Internet bandwith glitch, but I too attributed it to the Windows upgrade. This perhaps reinforces what I had previously mentioned. The computing power and wireless standards required are sensitive to camera data requirements. Too little and lag will occur. But I can't explain how/why the update has impacted.



#277 ldcarson

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 09:51 PM

Hi Everyone  Just wanted to chime in here.  There are a lot of great products out there.  I have a remote weather site that is located about 590ft from my house, too far for ethernet and trenching, at least for me, so I went with creating a wireless "Pipe" using these.  Ubiquiti NanoStationM2 Bundle of 2 NanoStationM Indoor/Outdoor airMAX CPE Router.  There are other brands that are cheaper and more expensive.  Basically these will work up to a couple of miles line of sight.  So I have my master one connected to my router at the home via cat 6 cable.  This is mounted on the side of my house and points directly to my remote site.  At the remote site I do have power and a small switch.  The weather station is connected via cat 6 to switch.  The other side of my pipe is another Nanostation that is connected to the the switch and is mounted on a poll and aimed directly back towards my house,  I am getting great throughput directly to my router at the house from the remote site.

 

So having said all that, I am sure one could set up a wireless pipe from your site to your house with a small switch or travel router at your site and use it to connect back to the house.  Think of it as a wireless cable providing the connection.  Some of these units can act as an AP with DHCP or not and can allow wirelss connectivity to it and send it on to the home router.  While this may be overkill for some it does work and is used to provide internet for many remote sites that need the connection.  Just a thought anyway....hope it helps someone.  I seem to recall TPLINK also makes these in 2.4 or 5ghz.


Edited by ldcarson, 08 March 2019 - 09:53 PM.

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#278 Noah4x4

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 02:57 AM

I think I have found the 'silver bullet'.

 

Windows Remote Desktop and similar products compress screen data before its transfer to under 10Mbps to prevent any single user throttling a commercial network. This means you will never get more than that down your wireless or  cable "pipe" even if you have a 867Mbps WAN like me. I unnecessarily spent a fortune upgrading my network until I discovered the solution.

 

In Windows 10 Professional Group Policies you can disable 'RemoteFX compression". Sending uncompressed screen data across your WAN/LAN will turbo-charge it. But don't run this at work or over the Internet. After, a year of struggling, I can now send end to end 4K UHD camera data across my astro WAN, no lag, no stutter. It also improves performance over Cat6 cable as that is being similarly choked by this RDP compression. I have posted fuller instructions in the Celestron Forum where I discuss wireless remote control of CPWI.


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#279 roelb

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 06:18 PM

I think I have found the 'silver bullet'.

 

Windows Remote Desktop and similar products compress screen data before its transfer to under 10Mbps to prevent any single user throttling a commercial network. This means you will never get more than that down your wireless or  cable "pipe" even if you have a 867Mbps WAN like me. I unnecessarily spent a fortune upgrading my network until I discovered the solution.

 

In Windows 10 Professional Group Policies you can disable 'RemoteFX compression". Sending uncompressed screen data across your WAN/LAN will turbo-charge it. But don't run this at work or over the Internet. After, a year of struggling, I can now send end to end 4K UHD camera data across my astro WAN, no lag, no stutter. It also improves performance over Cat6 cable as that is being similarly choked by this RDP compression. I have posted fuller instructions in the Celestron Forum where I discuss wireless remote control of CPWI.

Actually the 'silver bullet' was found by <james7ca> : https://www.cloudyni...cpwi/?p=9176884


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#280 Noah4x4

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 04:24 AM

Actually the 'silver bullet' was found by <james7ca> : https://www.cloudyni...cpwi/?p=9176884

True Roelb, credit where credit is due, although my solution differs marginally from that of James7ca.  My comment about discovery was in the context my own quest to find a solution to using wireless on a 4K UHD 'end to end'  basis.

 

Sadly, unlike the title of this particular thread, I was never in "EAA Heaven with a compute stick" and spent a small fortune on computer/network upgrades.  But  others similarly struggling with large senser high resolution cameras can probably now succeed with lesser computing power given that this tip has been identified, but I agree, top work by james7ca. I was experiencing stutter and lag even when using cat6a cable. 16 megapixel cameras evidently bust through regular RDP limits. 

 

James7ca's initial post appeared in a thread that I started seeking solutions to wireless control of CPWI given that the SkyPortal external WiFi accessory has a short range. But after james7ca's post, we seperately explored and experimented (bold stuff as we were not sure of the consequences!) and are now applying different settings. I have fully disabled RemoteFX and at the last count I believe James7ca was using the compromise setting that is like a half way house. Different compression settings probably suit different situations. 

 

It would now be good to hear from somebody that is using (say) a modest processor Compute Stick and merely a 802.11a/b/n network that has succeeded with a 16 megapixel camera and 4K display by applying ONLY this tip of disabling/reducing RemoteFX compression. I have a suspicion that I didn't ever need to upgrade my computer/network etc. and I could well have been in "EAA Heaven with just a Compute Stick". But that is what Cloudy Nights is about; sharing experiences for the benefit of others. Frankly, I think james7ca's original post is a significant landmark in the development of EAA, and I am happy to acknowledge his genius in finding it.



#281 Biggen

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 08:47 AM

@Noah4x4 I'm not sure where you are in your venture even with reading most of your posts.  As a network engineer myself, you could have saved a boatload of money just hiring a consultant for a few hours to tell you what you needed.

 

Didn't you end up just running an active HDMI cable?  This is the best and most elegant solution.  I did the same thing. I have a dedicated NUC on my outside patio for the scope.  I ran both a Cat5e cable (1Gbps network) and an active HDMI cable from my NUC, up the inside of my patio wall, through the attic, and down the inside of my living room wall to the back of my Denon AVR.  I have an ethernet switch back there that I back haul to my cable modem in another room (via a pipe duct in that same wall back up into the attic)   That way I can control the scope from my living room on my 60" TV.  I then ran a 15 meter active USB 3 cable from the NUC to the scope for the camera.

 

If we are talking distances greater than 100 meters of ethernet cabling, then running fiber would have been my second option.  Barring that, then wireless would have been the way to go but would have necessitated a MUCH more complicated network approach.  In other words, wireless would have been my last NOT first choice.

 

I would have setup a dedicated wireless AP just for the outside scope/NUC and then would have had to setup PtP links in order to back haul that back to my wired network in my house.  

 

Hopefully you got everything figured out.  Next time, seek out he help of professionals and get it done right the first time!


Edited by Biggen, 10 March 2019 - 08:48 AM.


#282 Noah4x4

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 10:00 AM

@Noah4x4 I'm not sure where you are in your venture even with reading most of your posts.  As a network engineer myself, you could have saved a boatload of money just hiring a consultant for a few hours to tell you what you needed.

 

Didn't you end up just running an active HDMI cable?  This is the best and most elegant solution.  I did the same thing. I have a dedicated NUC on my outside patio for the scope.  I ran both a Cat5e cable (1Gbps network) and an active HDMI cable from my NUC, up the inside of my patio wall, through the attic, and down the inside of my living room wall to the back of my Denon AVR.  I have an ethernet switch back there that I back haul to my cable modem in another room (via a pipe duct in that same wall back up into the attic)   That way I can control the scope from my living room on my 60" TV.  I then ran a 15 meter active USB 3 cable from the NUC to the scope for the camera.

 

If we are talking distances greater than 100 meters of ethernet cabling, then running fiber would have been my second option.  Barring that, then wireless would have been the way to go but would have necessitated a MUCH more complicated network approach.  In other words, wireless would have been my last NOT first choice.

 

I would have setup a dedicated wireless AP just for the outside scope/NUC and then would have had to setup PtP links in order to back haul that back to my wired network in my house.  

 

Hopefully you got everything figured out.  Next time, seek out he help of professionals and get it done right the first time!

Why do you conclude I didn't seek professional advice?

 

What you also don't say is the specification of your camera. This challenge  is easy until you get into the realms of 16K megapixels and desire using a 4K UHD monitor as your display. I was told by three separate IT Professional pals that it was not possible to send 4K screen data over domestic wireless. Until two weeks ago, I accepted that advice, albeit it is wrong. Why would I want to pay for wrong advice? 

 

My objective was to create a wholly WIRELESS system capable of handling 4K UHD 'end to end'. The most popular route is two wirelessly networked computers and Windows Remote Desktop (or TeamViewer etc). But this route will indeed probably FAIL with a 16 megapixel or greater resolution camera unless you disable RemoteFX compression as described. 

 

As I said, I spoke to a number of IT Professionals, plus Cloudy Nights has many knowledgeable people and was repeatedly told it could not be done except by cable. During a year of activity involving a number of contributors chasing the same broad goals nobody ever mentioned the possibility of tweaking RemoteFX compression limits until james7ca and we have both since explored it and can confirm it works. However, the relevant Microsoft technical paper dates from 2007.

 

One contributor in another forum has since requested that we "don't do this on any commercial network that he manages" (fair enough!) as it is designed to avoid any single user from throttling the network. But it is patently a 'hidden' secret that the professionals either don't know or they don't want us amateurs to know. Yes, based on the professional advice I was given, I did attempt a myriad of cabled solutions like that you describe and yes, like you I succeeded with cat6a cable, which, due to my circumstances could not be permanent cable. However, there was still a trace of lag due to RemoteFX compression restricting screen data flow to under 10Mbps even over cat6a cable.

 

The significance of what james7ca discovered and first posted is that over a local WAN/LAN a wireless solution is possible avoiding the hassle of any cables. Frankly, it would not surprise me if I soon read of somebody that succeeds with an 'end to end 4k UHD system using merely a Win10 Pro Compute Stick and battered old laptop because they have disabled RemoteFX compression. ....no cables.

 

It would be irresponsible to encourage anybody to do this over the Internet or any other commercial network. But it is an innovation that anybody can embrace on their private WAN/LAN. Relatively few people have 4K CMOS cameras, but their number is fast growing. I suspect it won't be long before we see the next generation of (say) 8K cameras. My redundant DSLR has already 24 megapixels. I make no apology for ignoring professional advice and embracing this in my own back yard. 

 

EDIT

Just looked up the typical cost of the 'professional' wireless AP solution that you have recommended. That would have cost me more than my entire rig. As I said, I reckon it is possible to build a 4K wireless system using very inexpensive components if you disable RemoteFX compression. However, it is NOT advisable on a mutli-user commercial network. Hence the difference of opinion between professionals and amateurs like me.


Edited by Noah4x4, 10 March 2019 - 10:24 AM.

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#283 Ulmish

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 11:15 AM

I am curious how much compute sticks might have improved since this thread was started by Astrojedi back in Jan 2017.  Has anyone recently bought a late model compute stick for EAA who could comment?

 

Seems to me one of the big tradeoffs of using compute sticks is memory (especially for running Windows/Sharpcap) as well as compute horsepower, which is why I ended up going the NUC route.  But for compactness/weight, the compute stick is an interesting alternative.



#284 Noah4x4

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 12:18 PM

You hit the nail on the head Roger.

 

I too went down the NUC route because my older laptop (arguably the equivalent of older Compute Sticks) stuttered and spluttered over Windows Remote Desktop when using my 24 megapixel DSLR (and hence also 16 megapixel Astro camera). But had we discovered then how to disable RemoteFX compression I think we could have saved considerable money. 

 

What we now need is somebody with a compute stick and (say) 802.11n WAN to prove that 4K UHD can be fine on such lesser kit if RemoteFX compression is disabled. However, your caveat about memory is timely. If folk are more into AP than EAA it doesn't take long to burn up 'memory' if saving 48Mb individual frames.



#285 Ulmish

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 07:00 PM

Well, I decided to do some poking around and found this site, which presumably has the latest info on Intel's latest compute sticks. 

 

https://www.intel.co...pute-stick.html

 

It shows the models that were introduced in 2016, and have already been discussed in this thread.  So it does not appear there is anything newer.

 

Looks like the m3 version with 4 GB memory and wireless-ac is still available at Amazon for the princely sum of $340.  But whether it has the horsepower to handle a 4K UHD camera is the question.


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#286 Stargazer3236

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 08:58 AM

What would be the best mini-computer to buy based on specs, CPU power, RAM and HDMI as well as many USB 3.0 ports?



#287 Ulmish

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 10:03 AM

David,

 

Here is my opinion on the subject:

 

There are lots of choices for mini's, but I am partial to the Intel NUCs.  They are available in lots of different configurations, from Celeron to Core i7 cpus.  They are larger than a compute stick, but have much more capability and give better bang for the buck. 

 

in my case, I bought  a barebones Celeron based NUC and added 8 GB memory and a 128 GB solid state drive. I had an extra Win 10 license hanging around and was able to apply it to the NUC. It seems to be a good match for my ASI224 and ASI385 cameras running Sharpcap, Cartes du Ciel, All Sky Plate Solver, ASCOM, etc.  It has 4 USB3 ports, and 2 internal USB2 ports so no external hub would be needed. I can run Remote Desktop at 4K with this setup, but I suspect a 4K UHD camera like the ASI294 might be a challenge - so a higher grade NUC with an i3 or i5 CPU may be desirable.

 

I think 8 GB is the minimum I'd consider for Windows 10.  You might get by with 4 GB, but it probably will impact performance.  2 GB memory is a nonstarter.  Make sure the memory is upgradeable so you have the option of adding more if necessary.   Also, buying the device bundled with Win10 is a good idea, it will be cheaper than buying them separately.  The Pro version is worth considering for Remote Desktop sending and having more control over tuning the operating system, but adds to the cost.

 

I think having at least 4 USB ports, preferably USB 3, is a good idea for future proofing.  Although you can add a USB hub, this adds to the clutter.

 

As for HDMI, make sure it is at the 2.0 spec, which will support a UHD display. HDMI 2.0 has been around for several years, so this is probably not an issue.

 

In general, the NUCs tend to meet the above specs, but there are other manufacturers who make minis that may fit the bill.  For starters, go to Amazon and search for "Intel NUC" and you'll see quite a few to look at.


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#288 james7ca

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 10:28 AM

What would be the best mini-computer to buy based on specs, CPU power, RAM and HDMI as well as many USB 3.0 ports?

You might want to review a thread that I started last year on the latest and greatest mini PCs for astrophotography:

 

  https://www.cloudyni...s/#entry8665020

 

Also, if you want to use WiFi for remote session control you may want to look at this thread on creating a high-performance WiFi network:

 

  https://www.cloudyni...s/#entry9123919

 

And lastly, some notes on optimization of MS Remote Desktop (some have found this useful for EAA):

 

  https://www.cloudyni...-2#entry9176884


Edited by james7ca, 11 March 2019 - 10:23 PM.

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