Introduction to networks
A network is a construct that enables users to organize and partition resources within an Appspace account. It allows for the grouping of users, channels, and media players into a hierarchical organization, allowing to replicate the organizational structure of an enterprise within the Appspace system. An organized network structure enables users to focus within their scope while simultaneously giving administrators a high-level overview.
The following Appspace resources can be grouped under a network:
- User Groups
- Media Players
Networks in Appspace provides a highly integrated management experience that correlates networks to devices. Networks highlights tools that focus primarily on managing networks, media players, SmartHub ASE devices, and to perform advanced network import or export functions. Networks is accessed via the Admin group in the Appspace menu.
Every Appspace account comes configured by default with one root network that can be divided into multiple sub-networks. A user within a network has visibility to resources within the network and any sub-network.
The primary use cases for Networks are as follows:
- Manage networks
- Manage player devices
- Manage SmartHub ASEs
- Perform advanced network import/export functions
Administrator privileges required to configure Networks. Please refer to the table in the Introduction to user management article.
The Networks tab presents a dashboard that summarizes the overall network directory and its associated statistics. The default view of this tab presents the tree view of the network on the left pane, with a network summary view on the right.
The Profiles sub-tab is where an administrator can gather general information about the number of users, the amount (disk space usage) of content, and the number of applications that have been created. You are also provided with player statistics relating to the device’s online or offline status, total number of devices registered within the network, as well notifications of any warnings that require attention.
The Properties sub-tab lists the various network properties for the selected network or sub-network. Network properties are typically non-visual settings that may include things such as screen burn time, device credentials, or software update configurations. The network properties listed and defined at each level of the network will be applied to all media player within the network and all its sub-networks.
The Notifications sub-tab displays detailed information as it relates to any events that have triggered an alert. The page summarizes network details such as the type of alert that was triggered, when it was last triggered, as well as the recipients that will be notified.
The Players tab is where the majority of the centralized device management and administration processes take place within the Appspace server. You are presented with a variety of viewing and sorting options such as filters, tags, or groups to populate the main device listings section. Also available are several quick-launch shortcuts to execute device options for the selected device(s).
Some of the most important functions within the Players tab is the registration and management. Once media players have established communication and interaction with the Appspace server, users will be able to proceed with applying additional settings, configurations, or group assignments.
Player groups allow users to easily manage, organize, and locate a collection of devices. The groups can be created in a nested hierarchy tree to best reflect the preferred organization and branching of various groups.
The following illustrates the layout of Networks in Appspace.
SmartHub ASE may be listed as a tab within Networks if the SmartHub ASE Manager is installed in Appspace.
The Networks tab displays all networks and sub-networks for this account. Selecting different networks or sub-networks will present summarized information for the selected network.
The Overview sub-tab displays the total number of users, content usage, number of applications, registered players, online players, offline players, and number of player alerts within that network.
The Properties sub-tab lists the network properties for the selected network or sub-network. Users are allowed to add new properties to that list by clicking the plus icon. Any property defined at the network level will be applied to all media player devices within the network and any of its sub-networks.
Appspace can be configured to send email alerts to administrators in the event of device failures, communication loss, or errors during content download or a sync. When a failure has been detected and no response is made within 15 minutes, a failure alert email will be sent to the administrators. The system will continue to monitor the device and if the failure persists, email alerts will be sent in 15 minute, 45 minute, 1 hour, 3 hour, 6 hour and 24 hour intervals.
There are two types of device failures:
- Communication Lost – this indicates that the player has lost network connection with the Appspace server for two weeks or less. The player will still be playing the application but any updates made will not be received.
- Failed – this status requires urgent attention as it may be a critical failure that could result in an application not being displayed on the screen at all. This could be caused by a number of reasons such as on-site power or hardware failure.
The Players tab displays all devices, device tags, device groups, and device information linked to this account. Selecting different device groups will present summarized information for the selected network or sub-network.
Device options are tools that allow the user to register a player, tag players, assign an application to a player, move players to device groups, reset a player’s status, unregister a player, and also search for players.
Filters are used to populate the device listing. Selecting different networks and statuses will present the user with device listings that are scoped to those filter parameters. To select a filter, click the drop-down menu for Network or Status and select the attribute you wish to filter the devices by.
The Tags column displays available tags that have been tagged to players. Clicking on a tag automatically populates the device list with players that have been tagged with that tag. A user can also click on more than one tag to display the more frequently tagged players.
The Groups section displays all device groups within the account. Clicking on a group automatically populates the device list with players that are associated with that group.
Users can also add, edit, or delete groups or sub-groups from this section by utilizing the various icons as denoted below.
The device listing is an area populated with the list of devices registered to the account. Properties such as device names, groups, tags, assigned applications, IP addresses, health and sync status, and player type/versions are displayed.
- Name refers to the given name of the device. By default, Appspace names the device according to its MAC address. Users are able to change this by opening and editing the player properties.
- Group is the group of devices sharing the same attributes. A user can define those attributes and create a group of similar devices.
- Tags are keywords used to identify individual players on a network. A player may be tagged with multiple tags.
- Sync Status refers to the last-known content state of the player. “In Sync” means the player has successfully downloaded the latest content. “Out Of Sync” means the player is running an older content set. The sync status is updated periodically and may take a while to update if switching apps or if a SmartHub ASE is used to accelerate content.
- Health Status is also updated periodically and refers to the device’s valid
status conditions as follows:
- Online (app running)
- Offline (player is disconnected, or there has been no communication between the player and the Appspace server for more than two weeks)
- Communication Lost (player has failed or is disconnected, and there has been no communication between the player and the Appspace server for less than two weeks)
- Failed (an error was detected during playback)
The user can alter what’s displayed on the device listing by changing filter parameters, selecting device tags, and/or selecting device groups.
SmartHub ASE Tab
The SmartHub ASE is a device that pre-positions content and integrates third-party data, services, and hardware to increase the efficiency and functionality of your applications. Users can also tag the SmartHub ASE to enable a more efficient grouping and filtering during viewing.
The SmartHub ASE tab displays all SmartHubs registered to this account. Users can also tag SmartHubs from this tab for organization and to improve search capabilities.