As I explained earlier, the LG Cloud Monitor accesses computing hardware over an IP connection. Only screen images are transmitted to the monitor.
Teradici optimizes bandwidth utilization between the LG Cloud Monitor and the VM using a multi-codec solution. Teradici's website explains “the PCoIP protocol continuously analyzes and decomposes image elements – graphics, text, icons, photographs, video, etc – and compresses them with the right codec for each and every pixel. Intelligent image decomposition and optimized image encoding using multiple codecs enables efficient transmission and decoding, and saves your bandwidth.”
Since I was testing the Cloud Monitor to a remote VDI, my connection was over the Internet. Communication is secured between the Zero Client and the VM using AES 128-bit or Salsa256-bit encryption.
My Internet connection typically runs about 12 Mbps downstream and 600 kbps upstream. I used the Cloud Monitor to simultaneously surf the Internet to multiple websites, play a YouTube video, run MS Word and check email over the web.
I found bandwidth can be an issue when using the Cloud Monitor over a WAN connection. Remember, Internet media you're seeing on the Cloud Monitor is actually being received by the remote VM and then transmitted to the Cloud Monitor. At times, I observed full screen web video from sources like YouTube were choppy on the Cloud Monitor. However, web video in a reduced window size was much smoother.
Using the Cloud Monitor over a LAN environment with greater bandwidth is most likely much less an issue. (Further, should employees be watching full screen YouTube videos at work?)
Using Wireshark, I was able to measure bandwidth utilization with the LG's default settings while in dual screen mode. Bandwidth consumption measured over a period of 330 seconds, shown at the bottom of the below summary screen, averaged ~1.37 Mbps.
Figure 7: Wireshark bandwidth use report
Bandwidth utilization on the Cloud Monitor is adjustable. The figure below shows the web gui menu for adjusting utilization. As you can see, the maximum limit to bandwidth utilization, a target and a minimum can all be customized. Setting the target and floor values allows the Cloud Monitor to reduce and optimize bandwidth utilization when network congestion (packet loss) is detected.
Bandwidth use adjustment
Comparison and Pricing
Competing products to Cloud Monitors include All-in-One PCs as well as other monitors with the Teradici PCoIP chip. All-in-One PCs have the advantage of being independent of a network, whereas a PCoIP solution is dependent on the network. If the network is down, the LG Cloud Monitor is just a monitor... with nothing to display!
All-in-One solutions are a complete PC with a CPU, hard drive and memory all built into the monitor, have a similar space saving advantage as the Cloud Monitor, but come with a higher price tag. For example, list price for the Apple iMac starts at $1199, while a Windows All-in-One PC such as the Lenovo ThinkCentre M92z starts at $799. Further, All-in-One PCs lack many of the efficiencies and manageability advantages of the Cloud Monitors.
Teradici provides a list of monitors that include its PCoIP chip and Zero Client solution. Currently, GVision, LG, and Samsung offer Zero Client monitors with varying features. In Table 3, I've put together a chart of those monitors along with some key specs. All pricing is from pricegrabber.com.
|Brand||Model||Screen Size||Max Resolution||Touch Screen||VMware Ready||Price|
|GVision||CP17BH||17”||1280 x 1024||Optional||No||*|
|GVision||CP19BH||19”||1280 x 1024||Optional||No||*|
Table 3: Comparison table
*GVision's products were not listed on pricegrabber.com, however, GVision lists several partners who sell/distribute their products.
As you can see from Table 3, the LG N2311AZ is less expensive than Samsung's 23” product, and only the LG and Samsung solutions are VMware ready.
Teradici targets its PCoIP products toward Government and Healthcare, Education, and Financial industries, as well as Enterprises and Media/Entertainment organizations. By centralizing all computing hardware into a data center or cloud, PCoIP solutions can increase desk space, save power, improve security, and generate administrative efficiency.
I can't see a Cloud Monitor replacing mobile computing solutions such as laptops, tablets and smart phones. But perhaps the Cloud Monitor is the harbinger of the end of the corporate desktop PC? Time will tell.
It's always interesting to examine new technology and the LG N2311AZ-BF Cloud Monitor didn't disappoint. The monitor itself is quite impressive. And the built-in PCoIP solution provides a complete computing experience for employees without the PC.
From an IT management standpoint, it is easy to see the advantages in replacing desktop PCs with Cloud Monitors. Personally, if I had the choice between having a desktop PC or an LG Cloud Monitor on my desk, I'd choose the Cloud Monitor!