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Thin Clients

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Server-based computing is a model in which client terminals share the hardware and software resources of a central computer or server. Server-based computing solutions can support all of the standard applications that run on personal computers, such as Internet access, email and word processing.

The server can be configured with additional processing power and memory in order to run software applications requested by, and displayed on, the clients. Because most of the processing is done on the server, the client terminals don’t have to include all of the components of a standalone computer. These stripped down computer products are known as “thin clients.”

Server-based computing can reduce total power consumption compared to a fully distributed computing model (Ref) by reducing the number of power-consuming components in the client terminals and by increasing the utilization rate of network resources through sharing. Some thin clients consume as little as 7 Watts in operation (excluding monitor).

There are only a few examples in which the thin client concept has been considered and/or implemented in off-grid areas order to reduce ICT power requirements. Because thin client systems are not as common as standard PC networks, these solutions may require specialized configuration, training and technical support skills. In those cases where IT training and support are available to off-grid communities, thin client networks may offer a viable option for reducing power consumption as well as meeting other program needs related to cost of equipment, ease of maintenance and management of IT resources.

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