What PC do I need for EUMETCast?
People often ask "What PC do I need for EUMETCast" to receive the data from Meteosat-8/9, and all the other services? On this page, we try and answer that question. We start off with David Taylor's recommendations based on five year's experience of EUMETCast reception, trying systems, and listening to what other people have said works for them. The second part of the information is sets of comments from users, starting with comments from Arne van Belle who is probably one of the most experienced and most knowledgeable person in this field outside EUMETSAT.
Many people now use a single PC for receiving and processing just Meteosat-8/9 data if the PC is powerful enough, but a two-PC network is recommended, with the lower-spec (and perhaps lower power consumption) PC as the Reception PC with the DVB card or USB box, and the higher-specification PC as the Processing PC, grabbing files off the Reception PC over the network. If you intend to receive data from the polar orbiting satellites in the future, the two-PC configuration is recommended. A two-PC system also allows your main PC to be rebooted without loss of data. You can ask about any particular configuration on the MSG-1 self-help group, where a thousand members with working systems can help!
Popular Single-PC Configuration
A single Windows XP, Vista or Windows-7 PC configuration, given a powerful Intel CPU (2.8GHz or better, dual-core is better) and plenty of memory (at least 1GB) and an NTFS disk format, can be used for both receiving and processing the data - i.e. using the TelliCast software and MSG Data Manager and MSG Animator on the same system. However, you must try to keep other disk-intensive, CPU-intensive or network-intensive (TCP/IP stack) operations off such a single-PC system if you want to minimise the risk of missing segments. This really means "try not to use this PC as your main station PC". If you want to improve the robustness of a single PC against missing segments, it is highly recommended that you use a RAMdisk. The RAMdisk size depends on what data you take - my current (Oct 2008) suggestions are: for MSG data + EARS-AVHRR data 50MB, for MSG + EARS-AVHRR + Metop-AVHRR data 120MB, for the full Metop data set 250MB. Many people are currently using such systems with excellent results, although such a configuration is presently considered as an unsupported configuration both by EUMETSAT and by SatSignal software. Tests have suggested that Intel CPUs produce a smaller segment loss in the single-PC configuration. If you are running Windows Vista, I suggest 2GB minimum memory, and 3GB if you can. If you are running 64-bit Winodws-7, then use at least 3GB, preferably 4GB. Be aware that the ASUS A8N SLI motherboard may be incompatible with the popular SkyStar2 PCI card - the power tracks on the motherboard can be burnt out! Use a DVBWorld or Dexatek USB box instead.
Running a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on a single PC configuration is likely to stop reception as a VPN blocks other network access. You can ask on the MSG-1 self-help group if someone if using a similar system to what you propose.
If you are very careful, you may even be able to use a lower specification single PC, perhaps an 800MHz processor with 512MB of memory, but you may need to do some tuning of the system configuration to avoid missing segments in the images. Arne van Belle has demonstrated a very carefully tuned system working on a 400MHz PC with just 384MB of memory! He uses a RAMdisk to avoid missing segments.
Typical 2-PC configuration
Alternative 2-PC configuration
Arne van Belle has been running a slightly different 2 PC configuration recently. He runs both the TelliCast software and the MSG Data Manager on one PC, with the image files being transferred to a second PC at the end of each 15-minute HRIT scan. This keeps the TelliCast received directory with the minimum number of files, whilst not being dependant on the second PC actually being available. The second PC can be switched on and off as desired. There is more information here.
If you are stuck on a limited memory PC, you can reduce the memory load by the following steps. Reduce the number of animations you have active. In the MSG Data Manager, don't process channels you don't need, or channels which have a high memory consumption while being received. Look at the Process Channel checkboxes on the Setup, Channel selection panel.
EUMETSAT state that the expected data volume is around 7000 files per hour (I think that's too high) totalling 540MBytes. If you take EARS data and RSS data that increases by 44MB. Therefore a full day's data would be about 15GB. If you keep all 12 MSG channels, but save the images as JPEG not PNG, the saved images amount to 1.1GB per day in 1152 files. Adding the EPS (Metop) data increases these value significantly.
Typical PC loading
Any PCs to avoid?
The choice of PC depends on your usage of EUMETCast!
So to make it short:
I use Windows 2000 for RX and decoding and processing; bear in mind that this is the
I also have Windows XP Pro and after additional settings/tweaks it will do everything Windows 2000 can. But it isn't as stable (yet) and the additional settings do need more knowledge/computer experience. Don't try XP on a low spec "RX only" PC as it will only take more memory and CPU and doesn't give any benefit in return.
60 cm is fine, but I cannot comment on using these in Scotland and Scandinavia, Turkey however.
Arne wrote a comprehensive article about multi-satellite dishes in the GEO Quarterly number 20.
USB box or PCI card version?
[David Taylor comments] Today I would have no hesitation in recommending the new Dexatek/DVBWorld USB 2.0 hi-speed boxes. These have been tried and tested on Windows XP and Windows Vista, and found to give excellent performance with little or no segment loss. They don't need you to open up your PC, and can easily be transferred between machines if you need that, and they don't run hot. I recommend a direct connection, not via a hub. The boxes appear to have none of the problem of earlier USB boxes, and they may even cost less! I recommend GEO as a supplier - ask if the box is not yet listed.
[Earlier comments from Arne van Belle] I have only card version, did hear that both perform the same. But: USB is more expensive and has a weak link, the USB port itself, many have problems with USB hubs and conflicting USB software. The USB version seems to run hot, and generally this means lower life expectancy. So I would recommend to use the USB box only if you want to run on a notebook and not for 24 hour operation.
PCI slot requirements
Note: The SkyStar 2 PCI DVB card requires a PCI bus with a 5V capability. Very recent PCs with the PCI-X slots are not compatible. Please check before you purchase a new PC!
I asked you many about the receiving hardware...and so I was able to think about a low power system.
connected to the cheapest TFT monitor which I could get.
Remote Control of your PC
A number of people have had problems using a variety of remote control products (including Microsoft's Remote Desktop). Typically, access to the eToken is disabled when remote control is in use, rendering reception impossible.
Andy Eskelson (G0POY) writes:
There are several solutions, most already mentioned. Software-wise,
I'll agree that VNC is a good method. The best method is to use hardware switching.
DO NOT use simple manual switch boxes as they don't work correctly, and
Generally I prefer the hardware solution, as it does not impact on any of the computers at all (I have two linux PC's, a windows box, my firewall box and a spare for the laptop all happily running via a KVM) I have tried VNC, and it works, but you have to understand it's quite slow. But as always you pay your money and take your choice.
I've tried a no-name KVM that was self powered (bought from
Maplin, but that lasted about a year and started to do funny things the end result was a non working port.
I've also tried Belkin, and that was a reasonable unit, however I found that it was not easy to expand
(you ALWAYS seem to need one more KVM port than you have). Belkin products
Arne van Belle comments: just want to add that if you only need to monitor TelliCast on a remote PC you can use TQ's web interface! Taken from TelliCast's Help information:
A web interface allows the easy monitoring of the Client activity. To open the web interface:
You can even monitor your RX PC on multiple PC's simultaneously, tested on W2K and XP pro. Please note that to see the throughput diagram your browser must be Java enabled.
Example of the TelliCast HTML Shell Overview page:
The default configuration supplied by the TelliCast software places the received data in the C:\Program Files\ folder tree, which is not really a good place as that tree is normally reserved for system files. If you have a single HD, I recommend a folder named: C:\EUMETCast\received\. If you have a second physical disk (and not just a second partition on a single hard disk), I suggest you put the received files there. In my own case, I recommend a folder named: D:\EUMETCast\received\. To change where the files are placed, you need to edit the recv-channels.ini file. This file normally lives in C:\Program Files\T-Systems\BusinessTV-IP\ and you can edit it with notepad as it is a standard text file. Only edit the lines you need to edit, leave the others!
Before the edit:
[*] # Section per channel or channel group identified by # channel name (wildcard "*" allowed at end of name)
After the edit:
With that configuration, you would point the "TelliCast received files location" of my MSG Data Manager or AVHRR Manager to: C:\EUMETCast\received.
However, you can do even better than that, and you will need to should you wish to receive METOP data. The [*] specified above means that all data will be put into the same directory, and this will result in the data being much more difficult to manage. EUMETSAT split the data into a number of different streams or channels, and this allows you to put the data just where you want!
The MSG Data Manager allows you to place data for channels 1..4 (and some others) into sub-directories of the "received" directories thus:
[EUMETSAT Data Channel 1] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received\Data Channel 1 [EUMETSAT Data Channel 2] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received\Data Channel 2 [EUMETSAT Data Channel 3] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received\Data Channel 3 [EUMETSAT Data Channel 4] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received\Data Channel 4
For another example, my own file with full-scan data from MSG-2, and MSG-1 rapid scan data on channels 5 and 6 looks like this:
[EUMETSAT Data Channel 1] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received\Data Channel 1 [EUMETSAT Data Channel 2] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received\Data Channel 2 [EUMETSAT Data Channel 3] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received\Data Channel 3 [EUMETSAT Data Channel 4] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received\Data Channel 4 [EUMETSAT Data Channel 5] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received\RSS [EUMETSAT Data Channel 6] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received\RSS [SAF-Europe] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received
Note that data from the streams named "Data Channel 5" and "Data Channel 6" is put into a different directory from the other data. Most importantly in this arrangement, you must specify all the data channels you want to receive, otherwise you will not get the data! If you don't specify an entry for Data Channel 3, for example, you will get no data from GOES-E/W, MTSAT-1R or other FSD. This allows you to select just which data you want, which minimises the load on your PC and can result in better performance.
With this configuration, you could run two instances of my MSG Data Manager (with a different executable file name e.g. MsgDataManager.exe and MsgDataManager-RSS.exe), and point the first instance to: C:\EUMETCast\received\ and the second instance to: C:\EUMETCast\received\RSS\ and hence process both normal-scan MSG-2 and rapid-scan MSG-1 data on the same PC. By the way, if you do this ensure that you have at least 2GB of memory in the PC!
For example, if you are also taking some Metop (EPS) data, you could end up with an recv-channels.ini file looking like this:
[EUMETSAT Data Channel 1] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received [EUMETSAT Data Channel 2] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received [EUMETSAT Data Channel 3] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received [SAF-Europe] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received# Now the MetOp data ...[EPS-10] target_directory=C:\EUMETCast\received\EPS-10 # .. and more like this ....
and you would point the Metop Manager to the received path: C:\EUMETCast\received\EPS-10\. In this example, I have deliberately not included entries for "EUMETSAT Data Channel 5" and "EUMETSAT Data Channel 6", so that the PC does not have to collect MSG-2 data which is transmitted on those channels. Taking the full-scan MSG and EPS data alone taxes the PC enough!
You should tell the TelliCast software to use temporary files, and to place them on the same disk drive (i.e. the same partition) as the \received\ directories. In the recv.ini file, locate the parameters section, and ensure that the tmp_directory is correctly specified to be on the same disk partition, so for the examples above:
[parameters] . . tmp_directory=C:\EUMETCast\temp
Note that if you put the \received\ directories on a different disk partition (D: E: F: etc) from where the TelliCast software is installed (e.g. C:), then you should tell the TelliCast software to place its temporary files on the same partition as the received files. For example, if your received directories are on drive D:, then in the recv.ini file, locate the parameters section, and ensure that the tmp_directory is correctly specified to be on the same disk partition:
[parameters] . . tmp_directory=D:\EUMETCast\temp
As Metop data (or other very large files) are built up
during reception, you should see the files growing in size in the D:\Temp
directory, to be moved to the final \received\ directory once they are complete.
During the latter half of 2006 we have seen a number of unexpected interruptions to the data stream from the EUMETCast satellite, and you may also get this in periods of local very heavy rain, or when snow build-up blocks your LNB! Whilst the DVB cards often recover automatically, sometimes they do not, and you come after a hard day at work only to find a red satellite icon and lots of data missing! It's really annoying! There are a number of ways round this described here. Your TelliCast software includes facilities for recovering from data stream loss automatically. If the TelliCast software does not detect the "announcement" channel for a certain period, it can be configured to call a script (DOS command file) which you provide. Indeed the TelliCast software will continue to call the script every 60 seconds (or whatever you have set) while the problem persists. Here are three different approaches:
I now use the retune-only variant of the second method, and use the error-script even on the DVBWorld USB box for logging interruptions. You can check here to see whether other stations in Europe have lost signal.
Rather than stop and restart Server4PC, a "gentler" method is to detune the SkyStar card and the tune it back to the correct frequency. The snag with this method is that when retuning you need to specify all the PIDs etc. on the command line, so the command line can become long and complex, and you would need to alter the command line should you change any PIDs etc. A program called b2settuner.exe is required, and that program can be found here, together with its documentation. There are versions for drivers V4.3.0 and V4.4.1, and the V4.4.1 version also works with the V4.5.1 SkyStar software (only b2status.exe tested on 64-bit Windows-7). A sample of the commands is given below. Please note that I have made the font small purely for display purposes so that everything fits onto a single line - use copy and paste to put the lines into Notepad when creating your own command file.
David Taylor comments:
I note that Arne van Belle uses "b2settuner -a eth1", and that Giuseppe Cico uses "b2settuner -a skystar" but I found on the first system I tried that the "-a <value>" argument does not appear to be required with Windows. I would suggest trying a line like:
My current use skips the "detune" line, so I just have the line tuning the card to the correct parameters. Arne also does this.
Arne van Belle comments:
Here is a sample of the b2settuner.exe program in use in a TelliCast restart command script, as sent in by Giuseppe Cico (thanks), I have updated it for Eurobird-9. You could omit the detune and "wait" sections if you wish.
echo ------------------------------------------------------------------------------->> E:\Eumetsat\restarts\ConnectionEventlog.txt :: Check for Error cause %1 and duration %2 IF %1==0 ( echo %date% %time% Connection to Announcement Ch.lost for %2s, detuning Server4PC...>> E:\Eumetsat\restarts\ConnectionEventlog.txt :: :: detune SKYSTAR from 11977MHz b2settuner.exe -a skystar -i s -f 11677 -s 27500 -l 10600 -e 3/4 -o h -k 22 -d n -pd 100 :: :: Wait 10s before retuning ping -n 10 127.0.0.1 :: echo Retuning Server4PC ...>> E:\Eumetsat\restarts\ConnectionEventlog.txt :: :: retune SKYSTAR to 11977MHz b2settuner.exe -a skystar -i s -f 11977 -s 27500 -l 10600 -e 3/4 -o h -k 22 -d n ^ -pd 100 -pd 300 -pd 301 -pd 302 -pd 500 -pd 509 -pd 510 :: echo Server4PC retuned.>> E:\Eumetsat\restarts\ConnectionEventlog.txt ) ELSE ( echo %date% %time% Error cause %1 is unknown, duration %2s >> E:\Eumetsat\restarts\ConnectionEventlog.txt ) exit
Recommended simplified version with detune and wait sections removed, and a simplified way of naming the event log.
REM Alter the path here to suit your own configuration SET EVENTLOG=C:\EUMETCast\ConnectionEventLog-%COMPUTERNAME%.txt echo ------------------------------------------------------------------------------->> %EVENTLOG% REM Check for Error cause %1 and duration %2 IF %1==0 ( echo %date% %time% Connection to Announcement Channel lost for %2s >> %EVENTLOG% echo %date% %time% Retuning Server4PC ...>> %EVENTLOG% b2settuner.exe -i s -f 11977 -s 27500 -l 10600 -e 3/4 -o h -k 22 -d n ^ -pd 100 -pd 300 -pd 301 -pd 302 -pd 500 -pd 509 -pd 510 REM sleep 5 ) ELSE ( echo %date% %time% Error cause %1 is unknown, duration %2s >> %EVENTLOG% ) exit
As before, decide on a name for this file (I suggest: RetuneServer4PC.cmd), edit the file with Notepad to contain the contents above, suitably adapt the file path locations for your own system, and edit the [Watchdog] section of the recv.ini file to point to the file you have used. Here, I have assumed that the RetuneServer4PC.cmd file is in the TelliCast working directory, and I have set the timeout to 60 seconds because EUMETSAT have said that gaps of up to 30 seconds may occur during certain routine operations (server restarts).
[watchdog] error_script=RetuneServer4PC.cmd error_script_cause_announcement=60
In the script above you will see a line commented out: REM sleep 5. If you have the sleep.exe program installed, adding the "sleep 5" at that point in the script allows you to see any messages from the b2settuner.exe command. In a recent snow storm, I saw an error message from the program: Error: cannot lock. If TelliCast is running on a PC you routinely monitor, you may find this useful.
Use with the Dexatek & DVBWorld USB boxes
We have found that the Dexatek & DVBWorld USB boxes do not suffer from the same "detune on lack of signal" problem, but you might still want to record the events using a script like the above, but without the retuning command:
REM Alter the path here to suit your own configuration SET EVENTLOG=C:\EUMETCast\ConnectionEventLog-%COMPUTERNAME%.txt echo ------------------------------------------------------------------------------->> %EVENTLOG% REM Check for Error cause %1 and duration %2 IF %1==0 ( echo %date% %time% Connection to Announcement Channel lost for %2s >> %EVENTLOG% echo %date% %time% Retuning DVB USB box ...>> %EVENTLOG% ) ELSE ( echo %date% %time% Error cause %1 is unknown, duration %2s >> %EVENTLOG% ) exit
If your DVB USB box does need retuning, you could use the DVBreport.exe program from this download copied to the same directory as your command script, and a command script such as:
REM Alter the path here to suit your own configuration SET EVENTLOG=C:\EUMETCast\ConnectionEventLog-%COMPUTERNAME%.txt echo ------------------------------------------------------------------------------->> %EVENTLOG% REM Check for Error cause %1 and duration %2 IF %1==0 ( echo %date% %time% Connection to Announcement Channel lost for %2s >> %EVENTLOG% echo %date% %time% Retuning Server4PC ...>> %EVENTLOG% DVBreport.exe ) ELSE ( echo %date% %time% Error cause %1 is unknown, duration %2s >> %EVENTLOG% ) exit
Use with IP receivers such as the Ayecka SR 1 and Novra S300E
You can record the events using a script like the above, but there is no retuning possible or required:
REM file: ErrorLog.cmd REM Alter the path here to suit your own configuration SET EVENTLOG=C:\EUMETCast\ConnectionEventLog-%COMPUTERNAME%.txt REM Write a delimiter to the log file ECHO ------------------------------------------------------------------------------->> %EVENTLOG% REM Check for Error cause %1 to flag "Lost" errors IF %1==0 ( echo %date% %time% Connection to Announcement Channel lost for %2s >> %EVENTLOG% ) ELSE ( echo %date% %time% Error cause %1 is unknown, duration %2s >> %EVENTLOG% ) EXIT
Change the lines in recv.ini to tell TelliCast where to find the file: ErrorLog.cmd, and what delay is required before the script is called.
[watchdog] error_script=ErrorLog.cmd error_script_cause_announcement=30
Comments from Giuseppe Cico:
Experiments by Arne van Bell, EUMETSAT, and I have provided the basis for a command script which you can customise to your own needs. But it will need to be customised, as each system is different. You will also need on external command - PSkill - from the sysinternals Web site. The command script needs to stop the Server4PC process, wait a short while, restart the Server4PC process, and log what it has done for your own reference.
You will also need to tell the TelliCast software that you have added this facility. You should edit the [watchdog] section of the recv.ini file, as follows. Note that the recovery script will be called repeatedly until the service is restored, and the interval is set to 60 seconds in the example below. Here are the updates:
[watchdog] error_script=C:\Tools\RestartServer4PC.cmd error_script_cause_announcement=60
Notes on the script below:
You may find that after this script is run, you get an error message when using the Status function from Setup4PC, and the Network ID and Orbital position are missing from the Status display. This situation may last until the PC is next rebooted.
REM (1) - you will need to choose a directory and file name to save the event log entries. I suggest using a directory you already use rather than creating a new one. If you are running EUMETCast on more than one PC, you may want to give the event log a PC-specific name, so that log files can be brought together centrally. You can do this automatically by using the %COMPUTERNAME% environment variable as shown.
REM (2) - the command TaskKill appears to be available only in Windows XP Pro, although it works if copied to XP Home. If you don't have that command, or you are running Windows 2000, you can use the PS Kill command from sysinternals mentioned above. Please be sure to run PS Kill at least once after downloading it and copying to the Windows System32 directory, and accept the Licence Agreement.
REM (3) - you need to wait a few seconds after terminating the old Server4PC.exe. If you have the sleep.exe from the Windows Resource Kit (free download) you can use it, otherwise the PING command can provide that delay.
REM (4) - please check that the location of Server4PC.exe is correct for your system.
Warning - do not attempt to use this script unless you are 100% confident you understand it!
This file should be named RestartServer4PC.cmd and placed in a known directory, e.g. C:\Tools\
-------------- start of RestartServer4PC.cmd ----------------------------- REM This script is called if TelliCast detects an error REM If the error number is "0", it attempts to restart REM the Server4PC program, and logs its actions REM REM You must alter the SET line below to define where the event log should be saved REM Point to where the event log should be written. If you have more than one PC REM you may want to give each event log a different name for central collation.
REM (1) SET EVENTLOG=C:\Tools\ConnectionEventLog-%COMPUTERNAME%.txt REM Write a delimiter for this event to the log file ECHO ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- >> %EVENTLOG% REM REM Check for Error cause %1 and duration %2 parameters set by TelliCast IF %1==0 ( ECHO %date% %time% Connection to Announcement Channel lost for %2s>> %EVENTLOG% ECHO %date% %time% Stopping Server4PC... >> %EVENTLOG% REM You can use TaskKill on Windows XP Professional, otherwise REM download PSkill from the sysinternals Web site REM (2) TASKKILL /F /IM server4pc.exe PSKILL -t server4pc.exe REM Wait before restarting - server4pc won't restart if another process is still running REM (3) SLEEP 5 PING -n 10 127.0.0.1 ECHO %date% %time% Restarting Server4PC ... >> %EVENTLOG% REM You must alter the START line below to point to Server4PC.exe REM The location shown is the normal default. REM (4) START "Server4PC" "C:\Program Files\TechniSat DVB\bin\Server4PC.exe" ECHO %date% %time% Server4PC started >> %EVENTLOG% REM - you could insert your own commands here.... ) ELSE ( ECHO %date% %time% Error cause %1 is unknown, duration %2s >> %EVENTLOG% ) EXIT ---------------- end of RestartServer4PC.cmd -----------------------------
One problem which you may get is missing segments. This is when a segment of the data - typically one eighth of the scan height - is not correctly received by the system resulting in a data gap. Even if you have software which retains data from the previous cycle, the resulting data gap can cause animations to be jerky rather than smooth. If you have your software set to clear the image at the start of every scan, you may get images like the ones below:
Normally, missing segments mainly affects the HRIT (12 channel data) because there is more of it transmitted, but it can affect the LRIT data including the foreign satellite data as well. There can be many causes of missing segments, but I've divided them here into:
Dish and RF
If your dish is not pointing right at the satellite, any wind may blow the dish sufficiently off-beam to cause missing segments. If the signal strength is varying, with greater variations when it is windy, this may be the problem.
Similarly, if the view of the satellite from the dish is blocked, the RF signal will not be as consistent as it should be. If problems like this develop over time, perhaps a tree is growing, and if the problem is worse during the summer, perhaps it is caused by leaves on the trees.
Another Winter problem can be snow or ice build-up on the
antenna and perhaps the LNB. If this is a real problem for you, you can
get a heated antenna. Arne van Belle comments: The LNB can be protected against snow accumulation by a shield.
This seems to be very effective in the Scandinavian region. See http://www.degotech.de/de/dept_249.html
Ap van Weeren reports that even with a sun-blind over his balcony-mounted dish, the signal is OK. At least that's with a plastic sun-blind. Positioning the aluminium blind support over the central part of dish does affect things, though!
It is also possible that you may be getting RF interference at the IF - 1103MHz with Ku-band reception.
The way you mount your dish can also influence how well it responds to the wind - if the wind moves the dish it will no longer be pointing directly at the satellite and the transient signal losses can cause missing segments. In the worst case, your dish may be blown permanently out of alignment, or even damaged! Here are two ways users have mounted their dishes.
DVB Card Driver (SkyStar software)
With the PCI DVB Card and USB interface, only the SkyStar V4.3.0 drivers are normally recommended by EUMETSAT. They supply the earlier V4.2.2 drivers on the CD in case of problems. The current recommendation may change as drivers are updated, of course, so be sure to check with EUMETSAT for the latest information.
TelliCast software version
The current required TelliCast software is V2.4.4 B and this version must be used. There is a later version V2.4.4a which is fine as well. This software was rolled out via EUMETCast to registered users during late May 2006. It should have appear in your \received\updates\ folder. The .EXE version is for Windows, and the .GZ version is for Linux. If you don't already have this version, please e-mail Ops (at) EUMETSAT (dot) int. You can check your version number on the HTML shell.
PC Loading - Other Software
Any other software which you run on the PC may cause missing segments by loading the CPU, disk or network stack on that PC. It is recommended not to run other software on a receiver PC. If such software must be run, then it should be run at low CPU priority. My MSG Data Manager, MSG Animator and GeoSatSignal all provide a Drop Priority option (in the case of the MSG Animator, this is built-in). Examples of software which might cause trouble are:
Please note that the recommended operating systems are Windows
2000 and Windows XP. Windows 98 may not have
sufficient network resources to prevent missing segments, and cannot handle the
long file names as easily - it is not recommended.
There are indications that Windows Vista and in particular Windows-7 may be more difficult to tame for EUMETCast, although it's not impossible. Apart from the other considerations listed here, you will want to review the number of automated scheduled tasks, and whether any of your segment loss periods coincide with a particular task.
A further issue is that these Windows run a Multimedia Class Scheduler Service (MMCSS), which tries to improve A/V playback by giving extra priority to multimedia applications, and by throttling network I/O. This latter action may be particularly damaging to EUMETCast which relies on an uninterrupted nwtwork and a high network bandwidth. You can control this throttling behaviour by stopping the throttling and giving more CPU time to non-multimedia applications. If you are comfortable with editing the registry, try the following if you are seeing losses which do not correlate with particular tasks:
In: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Multimedia\SystemProfile\
will need to reboot your PC after making those changes to see the effect.
Add a RAMdisk
One major problem for the TelliCast software is the amount of disk I/O required. You can alleviate many of the missing-segment problems by placing just one file on a 80MB RAMdisk. Arne van Belle describes How to use a RAMdisk (PDF). Members of the MSG-1 group can download the AR-Soft RAMdisk from the Files area of the MSG-1 self-help group/ => AR-Soft-RAMdisk.zip. If you have plenty of memory, be careful not to set the RAMdisk size too big. Setting it to 300MB may hang the system, and require that you reboot in Safe Mode to reset the value to a lower figure. The optimum RAMdisk size depends on what data you take - my current (July 2008) suggestions are: for MSG + EARS-AVHRR data 80MB, for MSG + EARS-AVHRR + Metop-AVHRR data 120MB, for the full Metop data set 250MB. In late 2009 EUMETSAT were recommending a 300MB RAMdisk for the full data stream, and I now have all my PCs set to this size. The free AR-Soft program may not handle that size, so instead use the free Dataram RAMdisk. There is further discussion of alternative free RAMdisks here.
For example Ap van Weeren comments: The program that made the trouble was: Trendmicro Antispyware. It used a lot of memory and did some times the H.D. working continuously, the led was continue on. Removing the program was the solution.
Other Missing Segment FAQs
Q: What should I do to help prevent missing segments?
Q: My disk is showing slow benchmark speeds - could
this cause missing segments?
Q: I am overclocking my motherboard and I get
occasional missing segments.
Q: I am running Windows XP and sometimes I get missing
Q: My system used to have zero missing segments, but
even though the signal strength is OK, I'm now getting occasional missing
Q: Should I defragment my disks?
Q: What happens if I run multiple copies of the MSG
Data Manager or other programs?
Q: I have a lot of missing segments on my Pentium 4 HT
Q: I have a 1Gb/s network card in use and I see a high
missed packet rate - are they related?
EUMETCast Troubleshooting Guide
EUMETSAT have very kindly allowed us to make the EUMETCast Troubleshooting Guide available for general reading.