Remote or Wide Area Network (WAN) Connections
Can users access StudioSchool Pro from other locations outside
our local area network (LAN)?
Yes, with the proper router configuration and network setup,
a user can access the system from home or other remote location.
A broadband internet connection is required on both ends of the
connection. The following steps must be done to make this work.
Your IT coordinator should be able to help with this.
The following is a very detailed explanation about how to configure remote setup. The extra detail is included for educational purposes - the important parts are in bold. It will probably take longer to read it than it does to actually do the setup which can normally be done in 5-10 minutes.
- You must have a multi-user license for StudioSchool Pro.
Remote access connections are not supported for single user licences.
- The Host computer must have FileMaker Server or FileMaker
Pro running StudioSchool Pro. Both FileMaker Pro and FileMaker
Server can host a multi-user version of SSP for network connections,
but FileMaker Server is strongly recommended due to its
ability to perform automated backup and because data corruption
due to a crash if far less likely. If using FileMaker Pro instead
of FileMaker Server, make sure the Remote Data Access
Companion plug-in is checked in Preferences->Application->Plug-ins.
- The Host computer must have a fixed internal IP address
assigned to it, for example, usually 192.168.1.x, x
being whatever number you pick between 1 and 254. In most networks,
internal IP addresses are allocated automatically by the router
using DHCP protocol, and addresses may change from
day to day depending on the order in which computers are turned
on. The simplest way to give the Host computer an unchanging number,
is to enter an address in the network settings (note that other
settings besides the IP address must also be entered). Alternately,
most recent routers have a setup screen which allows the assignment
of a specific IP address to a particular computer. Using either
method, anyone who can setup a network should be able to do this
in a few minutes. Your network administrator/advisor can help
determine the best method for your network.
- The Guest computer must have a copy of FileMaker Pro installed
along with the plug-ins required by StudioSchool Pro. The
plug-ins for Windows, Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X are available from
the Support page on the SSP
Support page. Check Preferences->Application->Plug-ins
tab to make sure they are all installed Troi File, Troi
Dialog, DialogMagic, SecureFM
- The broadband router at the office must be configured to
forward Port 5003 for TCP to the Host machine. Once the host
machine (the server) has a fixed IP address, the router must be
configured to "forward" any external requests for access
to FileMaker to the Host machine. This is called Port Forwarding
or "Distributed Server Setup". FileMaker uses TCP port
5003, so the router needs to be set to forward all connections
on port 5003 to the Host machine's IP address. This option is
built into most routers and takes only a few minutes to setup.
- The router must be using either a static IP address provided
by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or use a Dynamic DNS address
lookup through dyndns.org or other dynamic DNS hosting
service. If you are not sure which you have, call your ISP
and ask; static IP addresses usually cost $10-40 more
per month. To connect to a router that does not have a static
IP address is slightly more involved than using a static IP address
but easy to use once its setup. Any knowledgeable network
technician should be able to set this up and some newer routers
have a setup screen specifically for using this type of service.
- Setting up Dynamic DNS: Go to the website http://www.dyndns.com/services/dns/dyndns/
, register a user name and password (its free and not a
spam generator). Once your user account is setup, create a domain
name like ourschool.dyndns.org. This is the "Hostname"
you will enter from home to connect to the server. The connection
goes to dyndns.org and then forwards the connection to your current
Since your IP address is constantly changing - it's "dynamic"
not static - you need to have a way to update your account at
DynDNS.org so that it knows what IP address you are currently
using. To do this,download and install on your server one of the
DNS updaters appropriate to your server or host's operating
system (Mac or Win). Enter your dyndns.org username and password
along with your hostname (ourschool.dyndns.org). The updater will
monitor your dynamic IP address and update the information at
DynDNS.org whenever it changes. Some newer routers have this ability
built into them as well but the software updaters tend to be more
reliable and includ features like notifying you by email whenever
the address is updated.
- Connect to the Hosted database from the Guest computer over
the internet. On the Guest computer, start FileMaker. In the
Open File dialog, click the Hosts or Remote
button (depending on version). If FileMaker is already running,
simply choose Open Remote from the File menu. In the
Hosts window, click Specify Host and enter
either the static IP address as provided by your ISP, or, the
"hostname" you created at dyndns.org, such as ourschool.gotdns.org.
Click Connect. If properly configured on both ends,
the Hosts windows should display the name of the computer hosting
the database along with any available files beneath it. Always
open StudioSchool Pro over a network starting with the SSP_Setup.fp5
- Connection speed issues: the WAN connection works but is
very slow and StudioSchool Pro takes several minutes to open.
A slow connection speed over a Wide Area Network (WAN) -
for example, between one campus and another - is usually a result
of insufficient upload speed on the broadband connection, especially
at the location where the server is based. Most cable and DSL
broadband connections give good download speeds, since this is
the bulk of what people do with internet connections, but they
have relatively slow upload speeds. For example, a DSL or cable
connection may provide download speeds of 1.5Mbs to 8Mbs but the
upload is limited to 256kps (or 0.25Mbs). You database server
needs to upload information to the remote users and 256kps can
result in a very slow data transfer rate. To increase you upload
speed, contact your broadband provider and see what options are
available. You may need to consider switching providers to get
sufficient upload speed. To test your download and upload speeds,
try one of these Internet speed tests: SpeedTest.net
(it will automatically test your download speed, click the Upload
field to test your upload speed) or BroadbandReports.com.