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New Project using NUC’s

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  • #64095
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg

    I have a new project, a shop being converted into a Physio clinic, 4 treatment rooms, staff room, reception, gym all stuffed with IOT physio gizmos. There is a line of business Cloud app that will do all the heavy lifting and we’re going Google Workspace (G Suite) for everything else. The basic tier will do just fine and at £4.80 per user per month is a lot cheaper than MS Teams and a lot easier to administer.

    I’ve discovered a way to use a generic windows login with Chrome in Guest mode to cut down on staff churn admin and still keep within GDPR requirements. Workspace allows you to manage the local Chrome instance and all local documents will be purged when someone logs in. Guest mode means no passwords or anything else can be saved. Workspace will be perfect for scheduling staff meetings and customer appointments in person or via video link. It includes room resources as well as human ones and is simple to set up.

    I’ve been using Teams for myself and it suffers from MS feature bloat and a very fragmented admin process. It’s got a real issue with MS legacy now it’s capable of hybrid AD i.e. a mix of on and off premises. Both however suffer with feature deprecation at whim.

    We decided as it’s a spanking new premises that it would be good to keep it all looking nice and clutter free. So, it’s going to be 24″ monitors with built in speakers on gas arms with a NUC mounted behind, wireless keyboard / mouse set and a webcam mounted on top. Using my 6th gen i5-6200u with SATA SSD laptop as a benchmark i.e. if benchmarks at least as fast it’s going to be OK, it’ll be Intel 10th gen i3-10110u with 8GB ram and a 250GB NVMe. One will also power a multimedia signage TV in reception.

    The CCTV and door entry release and video intercom system will be all Hikvision and whilst the cameras will record to an internal SD card it needs a PC app to manage everything. I’d like a bit more grunt than the i3 but it will live in the comms cabinet so needs to be small a cool. I noticed Asus (amongst others) are doing their own “NUC”, the PN50, with Ryzen 4000 series mobile CPUs, so I’ve ordered on with a 4300u, benchmarks +25% on the i3-10110u. It’ll be useful to have a 24 / 7 dump for things like drivers and other software files not appropriate for Cloud storage.

    There will be a site wide Wireless Access Point but to provide some redundancy and not spot coverage, reception and the larger treatment rooms will also have a WiFi / Poe / triple RJ45 wall port. Normally this would be Ubiquiti kit but TP-Link are really going for it at the moment, so I’ll be using their Omada kit not least because I can get a free on premises Cloud controller.

    There will be a lot of PoE kit so I’m going straight for an all PoE switch. TP-Link are again making an offer you can’t refuse with their Omada enabled TL-SG2428P JetStream 28-Port Gigabit Smart PoE Switch with 24-Port PoE+ This means I’ll be able to manage the whole network, wired and wireless, from one console anywhere with an internet connection.

    The router will be my go-to DrayTek Vigor 2762 Triple-WAN job that allows me to create two IP subnets, VLANs, QoS etc. and includes a dial in SSL VPN. Should they ever get another premises it can handle 2 site to site VPNs too. No wireless on this one, but you can have Ac1200 if you want and it can control it’s own (small) Mesh wireless network.

    So, the network can all be managed remotely and to keep an eye on the PCs I’ll be using O&O Systpectr. Whilst that has a remote desktop capability, I’ll be using AnyDesk for that. Unlike Team Viewer it keeps itself up to date and it’s a fifth of the price that they want for a licence. It’s cross platform, I use it on my Pi’s, and is free for personal use.

    To avoid supply shortages, a real issue at the moment never mind any potential Brexit nonsense, we’ve decided to get the PC kit in now even though opening day won’t be until mid Feb. Also a post referendum like drop in Sterling would blow a big hole in the budget. Should be here on Wednesday so I’ll be flat out configuring PCs ready to go to the storage unit.

    It’s been a while since I had brand new premises to kit out, and whilst not on the scale of a Mail Centre it’s been a real joy to be given a budget and let loose. No legacy to deal with and two new technologies to get to grips with, Google Workspace and Omada network management. Marvellous.

     

Viewing 20 replies - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
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  • #64101
    Participant
    JayCeeDee
    @jayceedee
    Forumite Points: 5,799

    Well, that answers my “Is the NUC job a collate, build and supply, or is it fit and commission too??” question from the `CCTV on Ebay’ topic!!!

    That sounds to be a real joy of a job – I can hear the anticipation in your words!! As said, good luck with it all and congrats!!👍👍

    Will you be able to access the premises ahead of time to run your cabling in, or is there going to be extensive construction before you can get in there?? Do they have the plans yet, or is it with Planning for any change of use?

    I’ve got two monitors on a dual gas arm setup here, with a wireless keyboard and mouse, – it does looks great and started out clutter free, but more desk space just meant more room for odds and sods!!! Everything from battery chargers, Smart Meter remote display, pills for daily consumption, spare glasses, stapler, sellotape, torch, letter opener, recent mail………etc, so best of luck with that, although having it cleaned by contractors was a great incentive to keep my desk clear when I was with BT!!

    Edit – are they having an alarm fitted, if so, will it be a Pyronix?? Would be good to get feedback on it for mine.👍👍

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by JayCeeDee.
    #64105
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,804

    The building work is approaching first fix, held up by asbestos. A small extension needs to be built and work starts on that any day. All the rooms are roughed out and the cabling is mostly in, done by the young sparkie who shows great promise, son of the main contractor. He’s done CCTV and alarm work before and whilst I have taken over the CCTV and door entry I have yet to steer the alarm system my way.

    My cabling days are over, I have a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis  (arthritis related, my lower spine is fusing itself together amongst other things) not that I did much before. I will probably be doing a lot of the termination though and intend to build the comms cabinet. I will not being going up any ladders but I’ll be teaching the sparkie how to deal with Hikvision kit so he can use proper stuff in future, not the random junk building suppliers source.

    My future lies much as my past did, in consultation and design of networks and their administration plus some hands-on PC work. I’m hoping to work with the sparkie a lot more, he has the right work ethic, and enable him to seek out and take on the larger jobs.

    #64111
    Participant
    JayCeeDee
    @jayceedee
    Forumite Points: 5,799

    I have a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis  (arthritis related, my lower spine is fusing itself together amongst other things)

    That’s a bummer!! My SiL has got spinal stenosis so I know what problems in that area can cause, and the wife has arthritis in the lower back along with a disc missing. :negative:

    However, it’s good to see knowledge and experience passed forward to the next generation – it’ll be the best tool in their  box, plus if you’re working together in the future, that’s a good combination of experience and youth working together. It’s also good to keep the brain working, even if the body takes a while to catch up. It’s frustrating all the things we took for granted growing up – like sitting down or standing up without an accompanying ooh!! or an ahh!! or an ouch!! I’ve been assembling some shelving units for an older friend’s garage, which has involved a lot of kneeling down and I’ve been limping a lot more than usual!! :wacko:

    Best of luck.👍👍

     

    #64117
    Participant
    Drezha
    @drezha
    Forumite Points: 3,303

    The PN50 is a cracking little device. I have the 4300U version as well, as it’s currently my daily driver machine for work, teamed up with 16GB RAM and a ADATA NVME 512GB SSD. Quieter than my Intel machine it replaced (which needs to go on eBay).

    Only machine I have to get rid of now is my gaming rig – I’m only currently keeping that around as I’m expecting to get my technical report for my chartership approved in January, which means I’ll have to run a lot of CFD models. Better to make use of that, rather than this, my gaming laptop or the Mac Mini! (Gaming laptop is used more now, as I can sit downstairs with the wife in the front room, but still get some games in :good: ).

    Out of interest, if they record to microSD, what’s the PC for? Does it offload the data back to the PC itself?

    "Everything looks interesting until you do it. Then you find it’s just another job" - Terry Pratchett

    #64119
    Participant
    PlaneMan
    @planeman
    Forumite Points: 7,726

    I have a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis related, my lower spine is fusing itself together amongst other things)

    That’s rough Dave. Is it related to your motorbike crash or just bad luck, like me? I had x-rays just over a week ago on my pelvis and both shoulders as they are increasingly giving me trouble. I’m seeing the consultant early next month and the surgeons whenever that’s going to be possible.

    The job sounds like a great one. :good:

     

    #64124
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,804

    The bike accident doesn’t help, but no it’s the family curse, Rheumatoid Arthritis. I thought I’d dodged it, all my joint woes are Osteoarthritis and there the accident has accelerated things on one side.

    However there have been other problems that seem to be OA but go away of their own accord after a day or two, or even weeks, and don’t reappear for months or longer. My right shoulder being one of them and some chest pains that aren’t anything to do with my heart or lungs – I know what they feel like.

    The diagnosis came about from my eye problems, apart from long sightedness due to age they’ve been trouble free until 3 years ago when I had my first bout of Uveitis. The middle layer of tissue in the eye wall becomes inflamed and your iris becomes stuck, which is incredibly painful. They don’t know exactly what causes it but being inflammation is becoming increasingly linked to arthritis. So they did a test for the HLA-B27 gene and found it. When asked if I had lower back pain, which I have had for years, I was referred to Rheumatology.

    Got a cancellation so saw them very quickly. The doctor was very thorough with hands-on manipulation and questioning but considered it probably was wear and tear and not ankylosing spondylitis. Given the damage caused by the accident that has always been the opinion of anyone I’ve seen, but he got some x-rays done of my lower spine as that would help whoever I saw next in a plan of action.

    The x-rays showed chronic AS, it’s probably been going on for 25 years+, so it’s back to Rheumatology but not until April and that’s a video appointment. I need an MRI before then to assess the inflammation.

    AS is incurable so it’s about managing it. I have been on pain killers for years but physio can help and medication to ease the inflammation. However due to my heart problems anything aspirin based is out so all that’s left is Anti-TNF medication. TNF is a chemical produced by cells when tissue is inflamed.

    My physio mate says they are “heavy duty” and can interfere with the immune system. There are other more exotic drugs too. The point of these medications is to slow the onset and I’m way past that, so it may be I decide the cure is worse than the disease. But there’s not just my spine to consider, that may be past help but there’s all the other things, especially the Uveitis.

    I can’t blame the bone docs too much for missing this, my accident was a plausible explanation for a lot of the symptoms and the physio says the average time to diagnosis of AS is 7 years. My ankle was the most pressing concern and that took 10 years to get to the replacement surgery. I think they thought that may relieve some of the other musculoskeletal issues.

    It’s the tenacity of the ophthalmologists that have got me to here (they did the blood and gene tests and linked them to the back problems) and they’re frustrated that they can’t refer me directly to the services I need. Never mind, the GP did as he was asked and the Eye Hospital is following things as closely as they can.

    #64128
    Participant
    JayCeeDee
    @jayceedee
    Forumite Points: 5,799

    It’s the tenacity of the ophthalmologists that have got me to here (they did the blood and gene tests and linked them to the back problems) and they’re frustrated that they can’t refer me directly to the services I need.

    My current medical issue was similarly discovered. I have an Abdominal Aortic Aneurism, a swelling of the main blood vessel below the heart, it’s in the middle of the ‘small’ category at 3.5cm so just under observation. It was first noticed a couple of years ago on a CT scan at the Marsden and added as a notification for my GP. They referred me to the hospital for a closer scan of the issue. Recently the Marsden noticed a tiny increase ( 0.1cm ) and noted it down to my GP. I’m waiting for an appointment now with the Specialist.

    The reason it’s stayed dormant is that I was already doing ( most ) of the things they suggested to deal with it. I had stopped smoking ( albeit years ago ),I ate healthily, with low fat ( piggybacking  on the wife’s low fat diet ), I went down from 17 1/2 stone to 15 1/2, and cut down on the booze ( marginally ). The one thing that I could do more of is exercise, but as I’m on painkillers for a torn meniscus and other problems in my left knee, that’s a vicious circle!!

    All fun and games in the daily battle of life versus age!! :wacko: :yahoo:

    #64137
    Participant
    PlaneMan
    @planeman
    Forumite Points: 7,726

    Dave, I wish you well.

    If you haven’t already done it get the P.I.P and blue badge forms done ASAP.

    Was supposed to get my x-ray results today, the surgery told me maybe Friday, maybe Friday next week. No idea in other words. :wacko:

    #64143
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,804

    Yes I’ll be reapplying for the blue badge, it got taken away when I had my ankle replaced.

    Will have a look at PIP.

    #64175
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,804

    Just set up the first i3 NUC and it’s a little cracker. Of course the NVMe SSD makes all the difference, I went for a boring Kinston A2000 but it’s still PCI-E 3.0 x4 and 2200 MBps (read) / 1000 MBps (write).

    So far it’s been very nippy installing Windows and all the software and is extremely responsive. Will see what the WiFi performance is like given the antenna are so small and my AP is 2 floors away.

    One down five to go then I can have a look at the Ryzen powered Asus PN50. Internally both are very accessible for the things you can change and top quality build. Surprisingly heavy, the box with 5 x NUCs in did me no good at all 😣

    I’m glad to say that the OEMs are cutting down on single use plastic, I literally only have a handful having built all the units. That all came from the ram and SSD packaging and all looks recyclable. Of course there is a ton of cardboard!

    #64177
    Participant
    Drezha
    @drezha
    Forumite Points: 3,303

    Have they improved the accessibility of the NUC’s? My 8th gen one wasn’t great, with cables snaking all over the place for the SATA drive – however, the PN50 was dead simple – screw into place and close the lid and it’s all set.

    "Everything looks interesting until you do it. Then you find it’s just another job" - Terry Pratchett

    #64185
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,804

    There’s still a cable like an umbilical cord to the “lid” but it’s a lot thinner in all dimensions and more flexible than I’ve seen before. I’m using M2 drives so didn’t touch it. The reason I went for the tall version was a comment about the thin M2 only variant’s fans getting a bit excited when worked hard.

    The PN50 is a more flexible unit, I like the interchangeable port and the fact the type C supports DisplayPort. You could have 3 monitors with no chaining. Also the IR receiver for a home media centre. They’ve really thought it through.

    #64201
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,804

    Hmm, looks like I spoke too soon. The first NUC configured just lovely but the next one started extreme flickering and turning on and off of the monitor. It wasn’t straight away and doesn’t affect the BIOS screen so my first thought was drivers. Turns out it’s a bit more than that and whilst it doesn’t affect Linux so must be Windows, neither does it affect every unit so it is also hardware related in some way. The second unit is showing the same issue.

    There are fixes out there that involve HDMI firmware and BIOS updates. Not tried the BIOS yet but even doing the HDMI one was a real pain as it needs Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015 which are no longer included. Turns out it needed 32bit and no 64bit like the o/s. Made no difference, will try BIOS today but not expecting much.

    Apparently the guaranteed fix is to use the USB C Thunderbolt capable port as it has DisplayPort 1.2. I’ve ordered a USB C to HDMI adapter to test as I already have the very short HDMI cables I want. The monitors are DP capable but C to DP cables are all long ones.

    I am really disappointed in Intel, apparently this has been plaguing NUC since at least Gen 7. The extra cost of cables means that the Asus PN50’s are even closer in cost to the NUC and I’m starting to wish I’d gone down that route. I probably could RMA the affected NUCs but the hassle will be immense with no guarantee the replacement will be unaffected too. I’ll find out on Friday if the cable does the job.

    #64209
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,804

    Well it looks like I spoke too soon about speaking too soon :wacko:

    Booted up this morning and problem gone. I can’t see any driver updates so the HDMI firmware upgrade must have done something even thought the version looked the same. May have been a very minor difference in the many sub-version numbers, Intel do go OTT on their version numbering.

    Several unknown devices in Device Manager so back to the Intel support pages…

     

    #64219
    Participant
    Wheels-Of-Fire
    @grahamdearsley
    Forumite Points: 6,522

    Are you using BenQ monitors by any chance ?

    I have found that Intel graphics has a problem with the IntelieSense feature on BenQ monitors, even when its meant to be disabled, until you install the correct monitor profile from the BenQ driver disc.

    #64221
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,804

    I have bought BenQ monitors but they’re hooked up to I can’t remember what in the workshop.

    3 / 5 have had the issue but the HDMI firmware update solves it. I have to be quick and install AnyDesk and configure it as the flickering starts as soon as windows updates the graphics driver. It gets more intense until the monitor is off more than on within 2 minutes or so. If I’m not quick enough a reboot lets me start again, then I can remote onto the machine and get the firmware update done. I tend to do all setups remotely anyway.

    Each unit has been different as to what the official Intel driver assistant finds to install, but that may be down to timing and Windows getting there first. There’s always the same half dozen that don’t get installed but I have downloaded the official INF file and updating them manually doesn’t take long.

    Once that’s done they are very nice machines and I quickly got a toolkit set up on my Windows USB stick for everything I need. I just don’t expect this sort of thing from Intel though, especially as it’s been going on for several iterations and seems to affect all models.

    On the Google Workspace front I can centrally manage Chrome on each machine and apply all sorts of policies, by organisational groups if I want (machine level not user). This means I won’t need any tricks like Guest mode as I can force login before Chrome can be used and delete all local data when they log out. If anyone tries creating any shortcuts to circumvent this they get deleted too and passwords are not saved either. I can force extensions to be applied and ban users from adding their own. I’m still poking around to see what I can manage.

    This and a hell of a lot more can be applied to Chrome o/s too. I might start looking at Chromebooks as a serious business tool when I can. It’s a heck of a lot easier than dicking about with MS Group Policies and packaging and Google provide a .reg file to make enrolling a browser easy.

    Bear in mind all this is at the cheapy cheap end, under a fiver a user.

    #64226
    Participant
    Ed P
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 17,429

    I have two NUC boxes, but never again!

    As you found out, the Intel Update Driver Assistant is carp software and can even leave you worse off with an interminable message about updates being available. I have found that sometimes it is necessary to install each driver manually rather than to try and let the Assistant do its worst. :negative:

    #64231
    Participant
    Wheels-Of-Fire
    @grahamdearsley
    Forumite Points: 6,522

    The Intel assistant has never worked well for me either, usually gets as far as “scanning hardware” and then just sits there forever.

    #64239
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,804

    Finished 5 / 6 today, including all the production software, Bitlocker, AV, remote monitoring etc. Tweaked the managed Chrome settings a bit more and I’m pleased with what I now have. WiFi works well with it consistently associating with the AP 2 floors away at between 350 and 400 mbps on 5Ghz. I’ve not heard a fan yet which is just what I wanted.

    It’s not difficult to max out the CPU doing things like installing Office, but most of the time it’s not stressed at all. Seems just about right for office tasks and being able to take advantage of the x4 NVMe SSD is a real plus.

    Ryzen tomorrow.

    #64273
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,804

    Well they’re all done now and the Asus is a lot less fuss but just as many unknown devices in DM. One foible is Asus turn off the TPM chip by default, which they do with their motherboards, and I can’t understand the reason why. Neither of them respond to wake-on-lan even though the settings seems to be correct, one for another day when they’re on the production network.

    Performance wise, yes it’s nippier than the i3 but they both boot in a few seconds so it’s not really worth considering. Is it worth the extra £40? I’d say so but not worth the extra £240 (8%) it would add to the whole project. That’s been spent on uplifting the monitor, keyboard and mouse sets where it really will be noticeable.

    More funds being released soon so the next job is getting the network hardware ready, that needs to be in for the integrated security systems to function. Hopefully Openreach will be in soon too to get the new fibre line installed. It’s all going to be VOIP and the main phone number is working already.

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