MDT

PowerShell is King – vNext Hyper-V gets support for Network Device Naming

The Deployment Bunny - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 21:34

And that my friends is GREAT. Basically that means you can create a a VM Network Adapter in Hyper-V while the VM is running (also a new feature), give it a name and enable Device Naming on the VM Network Adapter and then inside the VM find the Network Adapter using PowerShell and configure it without using the Mac Address as the identification.

Create the Network Adapter:
  • Create the NIC while the VM is running (just for the fun of it) using PowerShell
    • Add-VMNetworkAdapter -VMName SRV101 -SwitchName UplinkSwitch -Name MikesNIC01 -Verbose
  • Enable Device Naming
    • Set-VMNetworkAdapter -VMName SRV101 -Name MikesNIC01 -DeviceNaming On -Verbose
  • Verify Device Naming using PowerShell, or Settings, or directly in the Hyper-V Manager
    • Get-VMNetworkAdapter -VMName SRV101 | Format-List Name, DeviceNaming

Log in to the VM:

Using PowerShell you can now get the network adapter name in the VM with the name gave network adapter in the parent partition.

  • Get-NetAdapterAdvancedProperty -Name * | Where-Object -FilterScript {$_.DisplayValue -LIKE “Mike*”}

You can also see this as properties in the Network Adapter.

Summary:

This gives us an easier way to automate the creation/configuration of VMs when it comes to handing over a task from the host to a VM when building solutions.

/mike


Categories: MDT

Nice to Know about vNext – Windows Update will take care of Integration Services, no more vmguest.iso

The Deployment Bunny - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 17:57

For various reasons this has been a major “challenge”, and it seems that someone listen to the right other one.

Thank youi, thank you.

Need more news?

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn765471.aspx#BKMK_IS

/mike


Categories: MDT

Using Server V.Next as a ConfigMgr 2012 R2 CU3 site system role

Coretech Blog » Kent Agerlund - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 06:07
Does it work? Sure it does, is it supported? – No way In my test I deployed the new Windows Server Technical Preview 9841, installed the distribution point, management point and software update point requirements. Here you see the distmgr.log file distributing content to my cm03.corp.viamonstra.com distribution point – notice the server version number. Windows […]
Categories: MDT

Windows 10 as ConfigMgr 2012 R2 client

Coretech Blog » Kent Agerlund - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 05:45
No, the client is not supported and yes it works with most of the features. In my case I used Jason Sandy’s startup script to get my client installed. Here is a few screenshots of what I have tested so far: Client is installed and assigned The Application Catalog feature works Application and package deployment […]
Categories: MDT

Hyper-V and the Windows Server Technical Preview

Virtual PC Guy's WebLog - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 17:05

Today we released the Windows Server Technical Preview.  You can read more about this, and how to get the bits yourself, over on the Server & Cloud Blog.

Some other resources that are available right now are:

Cheers,
Ben

Categories: MDT

Windows Server vNext – If you are in to Windows Server you should read this

The Deployment Bunny - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 17:18

Today Microsoft started to talk about Windows 10, but also the Server and System Center stuff. Want to know more?

/mike


Categories: MDT

Windows 10 – Get in the Windows Insider Program, and Get Windows 10

The Deployment Bunny - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 17:13

Today Microsoft start to talk about Windows 10, the next version of Windows and if you need to get your hands dirty you should read this:

/mike


Categories: MDT

Building Next Gen Datacenter – The Pelicase Portable Datacenter

The Deployment Bunny - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 20:11

The cloud is great, but sometimes you really need to have a portable solution and here it is. I call it the Pelicase Datacenter (someone used that name in a twitter feed and I think its kind of cool.)

The Pictures


The complete setup with my Laptop on the right side and the Pelicase Datacenter on the left. They are connected using a 1GB network cable.


A closer look at the Pelicase Datacenter.


In the front you can see the LED USB light used to light up the keyboard that is in front of the case.


The TINY Router, configured for routing using cable or 3/4G and support for Wireless access to the Datacenter.


The 6 PSU’s need for the 6 Intel NUC’s.


The GB Switch.

The 6 Intel NUC’s, 5 of them is running Hyper-V and the last one is running Windows 8.1

The Shopping list The Case:


http://www.pelicancases.com/1500-p/1500.htm

The Router/Wireless/Firewall:


http://www.dovado.com/en/products

The Screen:


http://www.gechic.com/product_help_en.asp?s=3

The Switch (current):


http://www.linksys.com/en-apac/products/switches/SE2800

The Switch (previous):


http://www.netgear.com/business/products/switches/unmanaged-plus/gigabit-plus-switch.aspx#tab-models

The USB LED Lamp:


http://www.ikea.com/se/sv/catalog/products/80243801/

The Intel NUC’s:


http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/nuc/nuc-kit-d54250wyk.html

Supported Memory:

Memory I use:


http://www.kingston.com/en/memory/search/Default.aspx?DeviceType=2&Mfr=INT&Line=D54250WYK&Model=85387&Description=Kingston_ValueRam_Memory_HyperX_Memory_for_Intel_D54250WYK_Next_Unit_of_Computing_(NUC)

Disk drives:


http://ark.intel.com/products/75331/Intel-SSD-530-Series-240GB-2_5in-SATA-6Gbs-20nm-MLC

The keyboard and mouse:


http://plexgear.com/

Software:

All NUC’s runs Windows Server 2012 R2 as Hyper-V hosts, but there is a whole lot more around the software and configuration, so this last part will be updated later this week(end)

Setup & Configuration:

TBA

/mike


Categories: MDT

Sample files and links from The Ultimate Event II roadshow

The Deployment Bunny - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 19:41

During the roadshow we have done a lot of demos and most of the demos are based of scripts (PowerShell mainly) and we promised make sure that all our attendees could download them, so here they are.

You will find the rest of the scripts here http://www.deploymentresearch.com/Research/tabid/62/EntryId/190/Sample-files-and-links-from-The-Ultimate-Event-II-roadshow.aspx

First Session: Getting data from SCVMM and Active Directory

#Get the number of VM’s
Get-SCVirtualMachine | Measure-Object

#Get all MACaddresses, group them and it is very easy to see if you have more then one nic with the same mac twice
Get-SCVirtualMachine | Select-Object -ExpandProperty VirtualNetworkAdapters | Group-Object MACAddress

#Get all the OS you are running and the amount of each version
Get-SCVirtualMachine | Group-Object OperatingSystem | Sort Count -Descending | Select Name, Count

#Get the number of unknown OS running in your fabric
Get-SCVirtualMachine | Where-Object { $_.OperatingSystem -like "Unknown" } | Group-Object Cloud | Select-Object Name, COunt

#Get all VM’s that are running on a snapshot, including the name and the date of the snapshot
Get-SCVirtualMachine | Select -ExpandProperty VMCheckpoints | Select VM, AddedTime

#Get the number of VM’s using a dynamic MacAddress
Get-SCVirtualMachine | Select -ExpandProperty VirtualNetworkAdapters | Where { $_.MACAddressType -eq "Dynamic" } | Measure-Object

#Get all the VM’s that are using a dynamic MacAddress
Get-SCVirtualMachine | Select -ExpandProperty VirtualNetworkAdapters | Where { $_.MACAddressType -eq "Dynamic" } | Select Name

#Get All Servers from OU,s and then get the nams and IP’s 
$Servers = @(Get-ADComputer -Filter * -Properties ipv4Address, OperatingSystem -SearchBase "OU=Server,OU=Cloud,DC=cloud,DC=truesec,DC=com")
$Servers += @(Get-ADComputer -Filter * -Properties ipv4Address, OperatingSystem -SearchBase "OU=Domain Controllers,DC=cloud,DC=truesec,DC=com")
$Servers | Select-Object DNSHostName,ipv4Address | Out-GridView

Second Session: Ref Image and CustomSettings.ini

The sample files for customsettings.ini can be found here:

/mike

 

 

 

 


Categories: MDT

Nice to have–VB Script Wrapper for all VC++ installers to be used in MDT

The Deployment Bunny - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 19:23

During todays session at The Ultimate Event I did a demo of a VBscript Wrapper that install all VC++ runtimes. Mr “Someone” asked if it was published and I said yes, I was wrong so here it is.

The Script

The script will install all versions of VC++ on 32 and 64 bit machines as an application in a task sequence, that way you don’t need to have one application for each VC++ application.

Download the script from here http://1drv.ms/1wLOJ5E

The Task Sequence

After you have added the application in the MDT workbench, add the application to the Workbench like this:

The Application

When importing the application it should look like this:

The folder

The folder needs to have all the VC++ files organized in a folder structure that looks like this:

You can use the script in the following folder to download all files in the correct folder structure. Check this blog post:http://deploymentbunny.com/2014/08/05/powershell-is-king-download-all-vc-runtimes-using-a-script/

/mike


Categories: MDT

PowerShell is King–Enable remote command with network access using CredSSP

The Deployment Bunny - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 19:20

This all but new, but a friend of mine needed to install an update on a bunch of servers yesterday, he figured out how to execute the update but did not have the time to fix the needed configuration in active directory to setup Kerberos Delegation correctly. I told him that it can be done using CredSSP. It is possible to configure CredSSP using group policy, but there are some issues regarding certain software that does not like that configuration using policy’s and therefore I use PowerShell to set this up.

What is CredSSP?

Basically it allows you to store the credentials on the remote computer to allow you to take the double hop to the next computer, think of it as connecting using RDP and in the RDP session you connect to a file share. We all do that and we don’t think of that as anything strange, but it we should since we are doing a double-hop which is one of those long lasting issues with credentials in the Windows world. You can read about this any MANY locations, one of them is here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/heyscriptingguy/archive/2012/11/14/enable-powershell-quot-second-hop-quot-functionality-with-credssp.aspx

The Script.

Download it from: http://1drv.ms/1r1LAiF

The script will configure your client (the machine you are using as your remote computer, in other words, the machine you are interactively logged on to) and the it will then configure the computers that needs to be able to store your credentials so that they can be used to access files from a network share, finally it will test and verify that it works by accessing a remote file share.


The script.

/Mike


Categories: MDT

Links and downloads from SCU 2014 in Basel

Coretech Blog » Kent Agerlund - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:30
Below is a list of the links and scripts that I used in my two sessions today on Compliance Management and Troubleshooting ConfigMgr. Compliance examples – download Configuration Manager Support Center: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42645 Microsoft System center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Toolkit: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36213 Optimizing ConfigMgr database: http://stevethompsonmvp.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/optimizing-configmgr-databases/ Background on maintenance task: http://stevethompsonmvp.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/how-to-determine-if-the-configmgr-rebuild-indexes-site-maintenance-task-is-running/ Configuring SQL Backup and recovery, […]
Categories: MDT

Changing Ubuntu Screen Resolution in a Hyper-V VM

Virtual PC Guy's WebLog - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:14

If you install Ubuntu 14.04 inside a Hyper-V virtual machine – you automatically get all the integration components and virtualized drivers.  Including the Hyper-V video driver.  However, if you try to change the screen resolution inside your virtual machine you will notice something odd:

There is only one choice!

Luckily, you can change the screen resolution.  Just not here.  What you need to do is:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Type: sudo vi /etc/default/grub
  3. Find the line starting with GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT, and add video=hyperv_fb:[the resolution you want].  The resolution I want is 1280x720.  So my line ends up looking like this: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash video=hyperv_fb:1280x720"
  4. Write the changes and quit vi.
  5. Run: sudo update-grub
  6. Reboot the virtual machine

Now you will get the resolution that you want!

Cheers,
Ben

Categories: MDT

“Error applying Hard Drive changes” on Generation 2 VMs

Virtual PC Guy's WebLog - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:33

A Microsoft employee recently contacted us with this issue:

“When I try and attach a virtual hard disk to a generation 2 virtual machine – I get an error message that says ‘Error applying Hard Drive changes’”

It took a bit of conversation – but eventually we figured out what was happening.  Here is the error message in action:

What is happening here? The answer is that we only support .VHDX files with generation 2 virtual machines.  You cannot attach a .VHD file to a generation 2 virtual machine – and if you try to do so you will get the error message above.

If you have a .VHD file that you want to connect to a generation 2 virtual machine, you should convert it to a .VHDX first.

Cheers,
Ben

Categories: MDT

Scripts and links from the ConfigMgr 2012 Site Review session @IT/Dev connections

Coretech Blog » Kent Agerlund - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 05:58
A big thanks to all who showed up at our session, Steve and I had a fantastic time and could easily have gone on for 75 more minutes Below are the links to the scripts and blog post we referenced during the session. Hope to see you all again next year! Optimizing ConfigMgr database: http://stevethompsonmvp.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/optimizing-configmgr-databases/ […]
Categories: MDT

Importing a Virtual Machine with an Incompatible Saved State

Virtual PC Guy's WebLog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:19

This afternoon – an email arrived with the following question for me:

“I’m working with on a Hyper-V migration with an import-vm component. I saw what I believe is your post on importing incompatible VMs. We are experiencing an issue where the incompatibility has to do with a bad saved state after the migration. This can be cleared manually, but nowhere can I find a references to how to resolve this issue with a script.

Could you possible point me in the right direction?”

Happy to help!  The trick in this case is to remember that when you use “compare-VM” the compatibility report that is returned contains an entire copy of the virtual machine that you are trying to import.  You can modify this virtual machine in anyway in order to prepare it for import.  For an incompatible saved state – you will want to use “Remove-VMSavedSate” on the virtual machine object that is included in the compatibility report.

Like this:

Cheers,
Ben

Categories: MDT

Links from the ConfigMgr 2012 R2 precon @IT/Dev Connections

Coretech Blog » Kent Agerlund - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 08:41
Thanks for a great day @Aria in Las Vegas. As promised here are the links we (@Jarwidmark and @Agerlund) mentioned during our preconference: Pre-creating the database using this script SQL backup and restore http://stevethompsonmvp.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/configmgr-2012-site-backup-and-recovery-overview/ Software Update Report dashboard rdl file Software Update step-by-step: http://blogs.technet.com/b/gary_simmons_mcs/archive/2013/12/09/creating-a-custom-report-for-system-center-2012-r2-configuration-manager-part-1.aspx PowerShell Script to set permissions in Active Directory for OSD http://www.deploymentresearch.com/Research/tabid/62/EntryId/160/PowerShell-Script-to-set-permissions-in-Active-Directory-for-OSD.aspx […]
Categories: MDT

Posterpedia is now a Universal App!

Virtual PC Guy's WebLog - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 12:05

I have talked about Posterpedia before.  It is a very handy application that allows you to access electronic versions of our detailed Windows Server Architectural posters.  Well, the authors have released an updated version of it which is a Universal App.  This means you can have it on your phone and your desktop!

Other updates include:

  • Featured posters  Find out the latest posters that are available in Posterpedia.
  • Recently viewed  Quickly jump to the last poster you looked at from the hub screen.
  • Download  Download a PDF version of the poster straight to your device.
  • New appbar buttons Quickly go back to the Posterpedia hub page with the home button or get help by using the help button.

You can download the app from the Windows Store, or go directly here:  http://aka.ms/sposterpedia

You can download the app for Windows Phone, or go directly here:  http://aka.ms/Audwjw

You can also view a video of the new features in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYWSBSzfzZI

Cheers,
Ben

Categories: MDT

Miracast in Enterprise Environments - FAQ

The Deployment Guys - Sat, 09/13/2014 - 09:26
Intro

This blog is intended to document our learning's about Miracast technology and explain things to consider when implementing a solution using Miracast. It is primarily about Windows 8.1 tablets and Windows Phone 8.1 as the authors work for Microsoft in the Worldwide Modern Devices Centre of Excellence (CoE). We work on a program called First Wave which assists market leading customers in using and deploying the latest Windows technologies. For video case studies around our projects go to http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/customer-stories/default.aspx .

The authors, Lutz Seidemann (Infra) and Paul Tallett (App Dev), are Solution Architects with Microsoft Consulting Services – Worldwide Modern Device Center of Excellence.

We worked on many global projects but the relevant one is the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group , which is detailed in our second blog.

 

FAQ

Why do I want Miracast?

Miracast technology allows you to wirelessly project your computer/tablet or phone screen onto an HDMI connected device such as a TV or projector. You can play movies for all the family to enjoy or simply enjoy a shared web browsing experience without the need for messy cables. It is similar in concept to Apple’s AirPlay

What is Miracast?

Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 added support for Miracast projection from most devices and can either use a “dongle” that plugs into your TV or nowadays some TVs come with Miracast built in. Often the dongle is USB powered so can plug into a spare USB port on your TV. Most of the dongles are about the size of a pack of cards but some low cost USB-stick-sized devices are starting to emerge.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Actiontec-SBWD100A01-ScreenBeam-Wireless-Receiver/dp/B00KSAYMH4    
Technically it was designed as a “wireless HDMI cable” so you can think of it that way.

What is the user experience like?

Plug your dongle into the TV and select the correct AV port on the TV and you will see a “Device ready for pairing” type message on the TV. On Windows 8.1 select Devices/Project from the Charms Bar and click on “Add a wireless display”. The computer will scan for devices in range and allow you to select one and go through the pairing process which may involve typing a PIN that is displayed on the TV screen. This is all rather similar to pairing a Bluetooth mouse or headset (but doesn’t actually involve Bluetooth).

On the phone, go to Settings/”Project My Screen” and a similar scanning/pairing process will be initiated.
Once you have paired the device, it is persistent and you will not need to re-pair the device unless you pair the dongle with another device – you will simply be able to connect and display. You can pair with as many devices as you like and can unpair the device from Control Panel or Settings.

Note that once you log off or reboot your device, the mirrored connection is broken and cannot be re-established automatically. There are currently no public APIs to control Miracast projection.

What is performance like?

Performance varies with many factors – dongle manufacturer, computer CPU power, Wi-Fi traffic, Wi-Fi waveband etc (more details later) but you should be able to stream an HD movie from the Internet and project it to your TV with minimal stuttering. Note Miracast also transmits your sound channel as well as the picture.

What components are used in Miracast?

Miracast support is embedded into the display drivers, Wi-Fi drivers and device firmware (including dongle firmware) and it is quite sensitive to driver versions and revisions. The Miracast standard is constantly being tweaked and although backwards compatibility is promised, it is not always transparent. Each large Windows or phone update has required an update to the various components which may be on different delivery schedules. For example, getting a firmware update to the Miracast support in a TV is often a lengthy process and for this reason we recommend using a dongle rather than relying on the TV support. ActionTec have proved very responsive to requests and are tightly integrated into the Windows Operating System team (OSG) so they are the partner of choice for our team.

If you are experiencing problems, make sure you have all the latest drivers and hardware/dongle firmware installed.

What technology does Miracast use?

Miracast is an evolution of Intel’s proprietary Wireless Display (WiDi) technology and uses the Wi-Fi Direct protocol and therefore communicates directly between device and dongle without going through a Wireless Access Point or router. However, the first stage of establishing a Miracast connection senses if the computer Wi-Fi adaptor is already using a Wi-Fi connection with a router and uses the assigned channel for the Miracast communication to prevent thrashing in the Wi-Fi adaptor.

We have not seen dongles that allow the Wi-Fi channel to be manually configured so if the computer is moved and switches channel for signal strength reasons, the Miracast session may become choppy or even disconnect as it tries to switch Wi-Fi channel. Since the bandwidth requirement for transmitting HD video is very high, having more than 3 or 4 dongles sharing the same channel will probably see saturation. Also remember that if you are streaming video wirelessly from the internet, that the stream will be transmitted twice over the Wi-Fi network, one to the computer and once to the dongle. Google’s Chromecast differs in this respect as it can stream directly from the internet but only for certain applications.

What methods are available for pairing a device?

We have seen several methods of pairing the device:

  • Random Pin. Dongle displays a random PIN during the pairing process which must be manually typed into the computer to pair. This prevents pairing with a device that you cannot see, for example a TV in an adjacent hotel room.
  • Automatic pairing. Introduced on Windows in 8.1 Update 1 as the default, a device can automatically pair when you select it. Disabling this feature is sometimes desirable (eg hotel) but has to be done in the dongle firmware if it supports it but not from Windows.
  • Fixed secret PIN. Some dongles support manually setting a secret PIN in the dongle firmware. This prevents the device from being ad-hoc paired to other devices (eg a hotel guest using his phone) and affords greater control. When pairing you will need to know what PIN has been set or you will be unable to use the device.
  • NFC or QR code. Some devices are starting to emerge that use more convenient methods to pair than having to type a PIN. For example Nokia’s solution uses NFC http://www.wpcentral.com/hands-on-microsoft-screen-sharing-lumia-phones

How do I manage the dongle?

Different vendors implement various methods of performing management tasks for the dongle such as upgrading the firmware or changing settings such as device name or timeouts. Some use a local USB port where you load the firmware then press a button on the device to flash it, other use mini web servers on the device (like a router) and present an HTML interface so that they can be managed remotely. Some flavors of the ActionTec firmware use a custom SSID that you connect to in order to manage the device which is a problem if you have a lot of devices as they pollute the experience when trying to connect a laptop to a Wi-Fi network for example, as all the dongle admin SSIDs are visible. You may be able to set the admin SSID to hidden.

Do all Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices support Miracast?

No. This requires both hardware (Wi-Fi adaptor) and device firmware support. We have tested the following list of devices successfully: Surface Pro 1, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Dell Venue 8 Pro, HP ElitePad, Nokia 630, 1020, 1520. Note these may require a firmware upgrade to add this support depending on the age of the device. The following devices do not support Miracast: original Surface RT.

Android 4.2 (JellyBean) or better (eg KitKat) is needed for Miracast support. Apple devices do not support Miracast as they use AirPlay which is a competing proprietary solution (implemented on Apple TV).

Do all TVs and projectors support Miracast?

You almost always require an HDMI input on the TV, so devices that do not have HDMI can be eliminated. Most Miracast solutions use 1080p for their screen resolution, but many HD TVs only support 1080i or 720p. 720p is not really sufficient for Windows 8 as it is below the minimum resolution for Modern Apps so you can’t start a Modern app when running at that resolution. Some of the dongles (eg ActionTec) however, do support 1080i and the results can be very good. (P=Progressive, I=Interlaced, Progressive shows every line, Interlaced draws every other line then goes back and fills in the alternate lines). Picture quality is generally better on 1080p. Resolutions higher than 1080p (1920x1080) are not currently supported by Miracast so 4K for example is not supported.

We tested various dongles (Netgear, ActionTec, Belkin) and TVs with embedded Miracast support (Samsung, Philips, Sony) and arrived at the conclusion that the ActionTec dongle was the most flexible in terms of environment/features and gave the best performance. Also the engineering team were very responsive and turned around custom firmware versions in a few days. For this reason our team would recommend the ActionTec dongle.

Can I add a button to the Windows 8.1 Start Screen to project the screen to aid discovery?

There are no public APIs to control Miracast projection but attached is a sample app that you can pin to the start screen that sends keystrokes to invoke the screen selection menu. The same menu is used for connection or disconnection so the app does not need any knowledge of whether the device is currently projecting or not.

The projection stutters or drops. How can I improve performance?

In a single device setting, make sure you have all the latest drivers and firmware releases including dongle firmware. If these still cause issues, you can experiment with older versions of the drivers as sometimes this helps.

If you can set up a 5GHz Wi-Fi network rather than 2.4GHz (the default) and get your computers to use that by default, this will generally give better results. 5GHz has higher bandwidth but shorter range so your mileage may vary.

In a multi-device setting (e.g. hotel) network traffic may be an issue if multiple devices are using the same channel or if the network has a lot of traffic. Most Wi-Fi Access Points (AP) can be configured to prefer a certain channel, spacing these out across your environment in a matrix arrangement can considerably improve overall Wi-Fi performance. Using a signal strength meter to obtain hard data on signal strength is very important here. There are some signal strength apps available on smart phones if you don’t have a specialized device. Again using 5GHz can be advantageous although 2.4GHz networks can still provide good results if properly configured. Remember that although the Miracast communication uses Wi-Fi Direct and does not go via your router, the channel it uses is determined by the Wi-Fi channel being used by the computer and your connection may not automatically upgrade and switch if a better channel is available. Note you may need to update your Access Point firmware in order to set up a 5GHz network or control channel separation.

 

 

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, confers no rights, and is not supported by the authors or Microsoft Corporation. Use of included script samples are subject to the terms specified in the Terms of Use.

Categories: MDT

Miracast in Enterprise Environments

The Deployment Guys - Sat, 09/13/2014 - 09:25

This blog is intended to document our learning's about Miracast technology and explain things to consider when implementing a solution using Miracast. It is primarily about Windows 8.1 tablets and Windows Phone 8.1 as the authors work for Microsoft in the Worldwide Modern Devices Centre of Excellence (CoE). We work on a program called First Wave which assists market leading customers in using and deploying the latest Windows technologies. For video case studies around our projects go to http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/customer-stories/default.aspx

The authors, Lutz Seidemann (Infra) and Paul Tallett (App Dev), worked on many of these projects but the relevant one is the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group project which is detailed in the Customer Scenarios section. Both are Solution Architects with Microsoft Consulting Services – Worldwide Modern Device Center of Excellence.

What is Miracast

What is Miracast and how you can use it in your architectural concepts?
Let's have a first look to Wikipedia:

"Miracast is a peer-to-peer wireless screencasting standard formed via Wi-Fi Direct connections in a manner similar to Bluetooth. It enables wireless delivery of audio and video to or from desktops, tablets, mobile phones, and other devices. It allows users to, for example, echo display from a phone or tablet onto a TV, share a laptop screen with the conference room projector in real-time, and watch live programs from a home cable box on a tablet. Both the sending and receiving devices must support Miracast for the technology to work. However, to stream music and movies to a device, such as a TV, that does not support Miracast, adapters are available that plug into HDMI or USB ports. Miracast allows a portable device or computer to send, securely, up to 1080p HD video and 5.1 surround sound (AAC and AC3 are optional codecs, mandated codec is linear pulse-code modulation — 16 bits 48 kHz 2 channels).The protocol uses a direct Wi-Fi connection between the two devices without involvement of a wireless router and cannot be used to stream to a router access point. It was created by the Wi-Fi Alliance." (From <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracast> )

Ok, here the same again in a nutshell:
Miracast is a protocol that will transmit audio and video between devices via Wi-Fi. It relies on the Wi-Fi network available (802.11n), using 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. With this, you can enjoy multimedia content streaming from any Miracast enabled device such as your Windows 8.1 Tablet or Windows Phone to the Miracast device in our environment. It is not necessary that both devices are connected to the Internet. They only need to share the same local wireless network. The shared information is sent by the device via Wi-Fi through a Wi-Fi Direct connection to a receiver connected to the display device. The receiver then decodes the video signal and passes it to the TV display (or other display device). Miracast supports WPA2-PSK encryption, so all you share is safe.

Windows 8.1 or Android with version 4.2 and higher support Miracast natively. For Windows 7 you need to download the Intel WIDI drivers. If you familiar what Apple called Airplay, Miracast works similarly.

 

Miracast Devices

Broadcasting photos, videos, music and other media from your mobile device or PC to your TV need not be a laborious process, fraught with wires and extra peripherals. Miracast, and Intel's compatible cousin technology WiDi, let you beam whatever is on your device's screen right to a television, and there's a good chance that the devices you already own have this technology built in.

Nowadays, all Windows 8.1 PCs with recent Intel CPUs and Wi-Fi cards already have the hardware necessary. On the phone side windows 8.1 phones and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean or later you can use to send a Miracast signal. If you have a Miracast-capable Phone or Tablet, all you need is a receiver to attach to your home theatre. To help you choose, have a look on current Miracast receivers.

Step 1.) Select your Miracast receiver

Rocketfish Miracast Video Receiver ($79.99):

Belkin Screencast 4.0.18.0 ($119.99):

Netgear Push2TV PTV3000  ($59.99)

D-Link DHD-131 ($99.99)

Actiontec Screen-Beam Pro ($69.99)

 

Lumia HD-10 ($79.99)

 

You need make sure the Miracast device is compatible with your TV. Most Miracast solutions use 1080p for their screen resolution, but many older TVs only support 1080i or even only 720p. The only device we found that can support 1080i & 1080p is the Actiontec Screen-Beam Pro.

The Wi-Fi Alliance website maintains a comprehensive list of compatible devices, although that list does not account for Miracast-compatible technologies like Samsung's AllCast Share. More information, including a list of Wi-Fi Certified Miracast products, the Wi-Fi Alliance Display technical specification, white paper, and more is available at www.wi-fi.org/miracast.

Step 2.) Connect your Miracast receiver to your TV

All Miracast receivers plug into a TV's HDMI port and are ready to receive as soon as they turn on.

Step 3.) Connect your Windows 8.1 PC or Tablet

After you added your Miracast connection , from now you can access via the usual project

For detailed instructions have a look here .

Step 3.a) Connect your Windows 8.1 Phone

After you tab your phone is displayed to the TV

  Step 3.b) Connect your Android Phone

Note: instructions differ depending on whether you are streaming from an different Android version. This is Android 4.4 (KitKat)

Go to Settings/Connections and tap on Screen Mirroring

You will then see this screen and you can tap your Miracast dongle:

The device will go through the pairing process:

And your screen is now mirrored and you can tap to disconnect:

  Customer Scenario

One year ago Mandarin Oriental partnered up with Microsoft in early adopter program called Windows Firstwave.

Mandarin Oriental’s intention is to make its wealth of online marketing content, hotel information and guest services more easily accessible to its digitally savvy guests. Leveraging the Microsoft platform, Mandarin Oriental is able to integrate a combination of services formerly offered via the television, telephone or guest directory with content available on the company’s website to deliver a more intuitive in-room experience for guests via custom touch apps running on Microsoft Surface Pro tablets. The Mandarin Oriental Group has piloted Microsoft Surface Pro tablets in four of their award-winning properties in London, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Tokyo.

Microsoft Consulting Services worked together with the hospitality solutions partner iRiS Software Systems, and InterKnowlogy to develop a suite of custom Windows 8.1 touch apps, available in nine different languages, that manage services for in-room dining, concierge and housekeeping requests, a guest compendium which provides information about the hotel’s facilities and access to guest feedback and guest preferences.

Here a quick overview of the solution architecture before we go deep on our Miracast implementation experiences during the pilot:

During the Architecture design session we proposed to use Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry on Microsoft Surface Pro to Mandarin Oriental. This version of Windows 8.1 is functionally identical to the consumer/pro versions of Windows 8.1 with the exception that Embedded 8.1 industry adds capabilities to lock down the device - in this specific case a Write Filter is used to write all changes that happen to the OS after it is booted into a cache which is then overlaid on the file system. In normal operation this cache is transparent to the user and Industry Embedded 8.1 operates as any Windows 8.1 PC would. However when the Surface Pro is rebooted the cache is deleted restoring the Surface Pro device to the install state. This is how user state (files, downloaded apps, browsing history, customization, etc.) is removed through a reboot initiated at checkout. It's a simple and effective process and it's similar to the way that 3rd Party products (e.g. Deep Freeze) works except in this case, the capability is built into the OS making Surface Pro with Windows Industry 8.1 ideal for this type of commercial application. The user can install any app, download email, work on documents, change any configuration they want, including log into a Microsoft Account (MSA) with the surety that at checkout, or when the Surface device is rebooted, all user-specific data is removed.

Additionally, all OS updates are applied after checkout by automatically switching the device to Servicing Mode where the write filter is disabled and all the patches applied keeping the install image secure and up to date. For real-time updates required by application such as Defender or Microsoft Forefront you can add folder level write filter exclusions to prevent that data being wiped off at reboot. An important benefit of this approach is that specific hotel apps can be sourced from multiple developers, and these can be complemented by any app that can be downloaded from the Windows Store (the very functional Bing apps for example).

This contrasts with the alternative Android/iOS mechanisms in use for tablets deployed for this type of application in hotels. For these OS's which do not have such evolved management mechanisms, the typical approach is to build one large app that must contain all required functionality. The tablet is then locked in kiosk mode running this app only. Writing one big monolithic app is clearly a less efficient software development approach, and it removes from the user experience nearly all of the familiar tablet functionality associated with the OS - i.e. something as simple as a web browser - if such functionality is desirable to include in the user experience, must be written/included in the hotel app development process. In Windows 8.1 Industry Embedded such functionality, and much more, is included out of the box leaving the developers to spend their time and money developing line-of-business hotel-specific functionality which means they can be potentially much more productive.  
(Read the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Press Release , Blog or watch the Video )

OK, let's circle back to Miracast, what this blog is all about :

Part of the Mandarin Solution is Miracast to provide all guests the possibility to stream there preferred videos, watch Hulu or Netflix, internet TV channels or any other content direct on the big in-room TV. Imagine you go into a hotel room and can watch your preferred movie without messing around with a cable connection or different kinds of adapters. You just connect to Netflix and watch, I would call this very slick.

What you need consider to build such a solution?

Remember that although the Miracast communication uses Wi-Fi Direct and does not go via your router, the channel it uses is determined by the Wi-Fi channel being used by the computer and your connection may not automatically upgrade and switch if a better channel is available.
In a multi-device setting network traffic may be an issue if multiple devices are using the same channel or if the network has a lot of traffic. That’s important for environments such as Hotels, where you have many Miracast devices (Dongle and PC/Phone) very close to each other.

Understand your Wi-Fi Network:

  1. Most Wi-Fi Access Points (AP) can be configured to prefer a certain channel, spacing these out across your environment in a matrix arrangement can considerably improve overall Wi-Fi performance. Using a signal strength meter to obtain hard data on signal strength is very important here. There are some signal strength apps available on smart phones if you don’t have a specialized device.
  2. In general the 5GHz bandwidth is less noisy than 2.4GHz ; you can find baby monitors, microwave or Bluetooth devices sending on 2.4GHz. More information here.
  3. If you can set up a 5GHz Wi-Fi network rather than 2.4GHz (the default) and get your computers to use that by default, this will generally give better results. 5GHz has higher bandwidth but shorter range so your mileage may vary. Configure your Router for "Optimize for compatibility" mode, which allow to configure a separated 5GHz channel per room (36,40,44,48,149,153,157,161).

Drivers and Firmware

  1. Make sure you have all the latest Wi-Fi drivers and device firmware releases
  2. Update your Miracast dongle firmware.
  3. Update your Wi-Fi Router firmware, especially if you plan to go for 5Ghz infrastructure.
  4. Update your TVs when using the build-in Miracast function

 

 

Code samples

For the Mandarin Oriental project we wrote a Modern app that sent keystrokes to invoke the charms bar and bring up the projection screen which we pinned to the Start Screen to make it very easy for guests to discover this functionality. Since Modern apps are not allowed to send keystrokes to the system, we used a technique called Brokered Components which allows desktop code to be called from a side-loaded Modern app. Sending the keystrokes is fairly trivial, here's the code we used in the Brokered Component:

private async Task<int> StartProjectionTask(int n)
{
await Task.Delay(1);
InputSimulator.SimulateModifiedKeyStroke(VirtualKeyCode.LWIN, VirtualKeyCode.VK_K);
Thread.Sleep(1000);
InputSimulator.SimulateKeyPress(VirtualKeyCode.DOWN);
InputSimulator.SimulateKeyPress(VirtualKeyCode.DOWN);
Thread.Sleep(1000);
InputSimulator.SimulateKeyPress(VirtualKeyCode.SPACE);
//Thread.Sleep(3000);
//InputSimulator.SimulateKeyPress(VirtualKeyCode.UP);
//InputSimulator.SimulateKeyPress(VirtualKeyCode.UP);
//InputSimulator.SimulateKeyPress(VirtualKeyCode.UP);
//InputSimulator.SimulateKeyPress(VirtualKeyCode.SPACE);
//Thread.Sleep(1000);

return 0;
}

Brokered Components in Windows 8.1 apps is documented in this article: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/dn630195.aspx

And a step-by-step guide is here: http://devhawk.net/2014/04/25/brokered-winrt-components-step-one/

 

Summary

As a recap, Miracast is a very exciting technology and if you spend a little time on the key points it works very well. After testing a few dongles, we selected ActionTec because of the wider selection of TV resolution (1080i and 1080p) and configuration options we got in the firmware. Working with the Actiontec engineering team was a pleasure.
Your environment may differ, so we don’t want to give a generic recommendation.

Those are the critical components :

  • WI-FI Drivers
  • Tablet Firmware   
  • Wi-Fi Router Firmware
  • Wi-Fi Network configuration
  • Miracast Dongle
  • Dongle Firmware

Finally, give us feedback; share your implementation experiences; ask question and we will try to help.

Happy Implementing Lutz and Paul

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, confers no rights, and is not supported by the authors or Microsoft Corporation. Use of included script samples are subject to the terms specified in the Terms of Use.

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