ESL Server Requirements

Networking Courseware

All FLC ESL programs can be networked once the content of the courses has been installed from the Installation CDs onto a network file server. Students can easily access the programs from any station on the network.

All Programs are Networkable.

What are the Advantages of Networking ESL Programs?

  • Eliminates CD-ROM management – no individual CD’s to manage
  • Eases access to all installed courses and simplifies switching between levels within a course
  • Simplifies installation and updating of courses (just once on the central server)

What kind of Network is Required?

Most modern networks should be able to run ESL courseware. Client computers may be either Macintosh or Windows, and servers running Novell Netware, Windows NT, AppleShare are all supported. These include all Linux, Windows, Mac servers and even NAS (Network Attached Storage). An overview of some typical network configurations which run ESL programs, and a detailed listing of the minimum types of client computers needed for different ESL courses can be found in Example Network Configurations on the following pages.

How adequate any particular network is for running ESL courseware depends on a number of factors, including how much video the course has, how many simultaneous users there are, and how much other traffic there is on the network. All servers and networks have limitations that may cause them to falter when the load exceeds one of their capacities.

Lessons which use video require streaming data at 90 Kilobytes per second.* Non-video lessons require only 22 Kilobytes of data per second streamed to the computers. A typical 100Base-T connection may handle up to 200 non-video users but only 60 video users. For this reason, programs using FLC’s video-based courses generally need a 100Base-T connection to run the programs effectively. In addition, ESL strongly recommends utilizing a “Switch” for connecting the computers, rather than a “Hub.” Computers on a “Hub” compete for the bandwidth of the network. A network “Switch,” however, reduces contention between each client machine so that the full bandwidth of the cable is used with no competition.

What kind of demand on our Network should I plan for?

It is nearly impossible for FLC to specify a server and network combination that we can guarantee will handle the number of simultaneous users you want. We outline below the type of network load that can be expected from the use of our programs, but we urge you to find a dealer or manufacturer who can suggest a configuration that they are willing to support.

System load can vary from 22 Kilobytes for audio all the way up to 220 Kilobytes (90 Kilobytes in most courses) for video (per second per student). On average, for our video-based courses (Functioning in Business and The Lost Secret) video is playing 80% of the time. For New Dynamic English, Dynamic Business English, and Clear Speech Works the video is playing an average of 20% of the time. For our non-video courses, it can be assumed that audio is playing 90% of the time.

As a rule of thumb, then, when designing a network server for FLC courseware, a reasonable average data rate is 60 Kilobytes per second per user. So, if the goal is to support 30 simultaneous users, the server must be able to handle a data rate of at least 1.80 Megabytes per second (30 users times 60KB/s). (Don’t forget that the server operating system license must also support the desired number of simultaneous users. If you are using Windows 2008, for example, and want 30 simultaneous users, then you will need at least a 30-user Windows 2008 license on your server.)

Will Your Network Work?

Our engineers will be happy to confirm whether or not the system described should be able to handle the number of simultaneous users required. Please contact us for additional details.

Space Requirements

Notes:
All courses installed with foreign language support may also be run in an English-only mode.If you are also installing FLC’s Placement Test on your network, please see the additional space these require.Mastery Tests
These tests essentially require no additional hard disc space.

Records Manager
The amount of required hard disc space for storing student records is not very large. A class of 25 students who study 4 times a week for 6 months would require about 5MB.

Disc Space Requirements for Disc-less Network Installation
Products Disc Space (MB)
Let’s Go 1,100
First English 350
English For Success 700
New Dynamic English 1,000
The Lost Secret 390
Dynamic Business English 320
Functioning in Business 400
English by the Numbers 120
Test Mountain 130
Clear Speech Works 730
Advanced Listening (1-9) 800
Hospitality English 160
Teacher Training Course 500
Aviation English for Pilots 480
Aviation English for Controllers 560
Placement Test Aviation 120
Dialogue 450
ESL Kids 600
Dynamic Classics 230
Placement Tests 140
Speaking Test 30
Speaking Test Business 30
Engage 80

Example Network Configuration #1

Up to 40 non-video or 20* video clients

Server Configuration
Processor:        Pentium 4 or PowerPC G4
Operating System:        Server version of Linux, Windows, or MacOS
Memory (RAM):        2 GB
Network Interface Card:        100Base-T
Network hardware:        Switch with 100Base-T Uplink to server
Hard Disc Storage:        Two or more EIDE or SCSI hard drives configured as a RAID (level 1)

Example Network Configuration #2

Up to 120 non-video or 60* video clients

Server Configuration
Processor: High end Pentium 4 or PowerPC G5
Operating System: Server version of Linux, Windows, or MacOS
Memory (RAM): 4 GB
Network Interface Card: 100Base-T
Network hardware: 100Base-T Switch with 100Base-T Uplink to server
Hard Disc Storage: Three or more SCSI hard drives connected to RAID (level 5) Controller

General Recommendations

  1. File Servers
    • You should have more than one hard drive partitioned as one volume (RAID).
    • You should have more than 25% free hard drive space after loading all ESL content.
    • Additional memory will improve performance.
  2. Network
    • Switched networks are highly recommended.
    • Extraneous network traffic can have a negative impact on the performance of ESL courseware.
    • A 10Base-T cable can carry 6* video (90KB/second) streams, or 40 audio (22KB/second IMA) streams.
    • A 100Base-T cable can carry 60* video (90KB/S) streams, or 400 non-video (22KB/S IMA) streams.
  3. Student Computers (Clients)
    • All clients should have Microphones and Speakers or Headphones.
    • All clients must be able to access the file server as a hard drive (volume).
    • See the ESL Users Guide for product specific requirements.

Other Information

  • FLC cannot guarantee network performance; these are guidelines only.
  • Internet connectivity is only required for record syncing.
  • FLC recommends you have knowledgeable network support personnel available.

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