BellCommander features the ability to play audio to PCs around an organization installed with the BellCommander client application. Client PCs can be installed in each room of a school, for example, to play bells to each room. Since each client can receive unique audio, announcements can be made to single classrooms or to a set classrooms.
BellCommander features two PC client versions:
Windows Service Client – The Windows Service client runs as a Windows service on Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Since the client runs as a service, no user has to be logged into the PC in order for the client to play audio. A small program is installed with the web service to allow it to be configured. This version is recommended for Windows 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista.
Windows System Tray Client – The Windows System Tray client runs within the task bar in the system tray only while a user is logged in. The system tray component window can be opened by double-clicking on its icon to check on the connection status or to change settings. The system tray component runs on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, XP, and Vista.
To download the Windows client versions, please go to https://www.acrovista.com/bellcommander/clients/
Installing the PC Clients:
1. Start the BellCommander server software through the Windows Start Button (select All Programs, BellCommander folder, and BellCommander icon).
2. Click the Devices button.
3. Select “Client PCs” from the Device Type dropdown and check the box to use Client PCs.
4. Install the client software on the client PC by running the downloaded client file.
5. Configure the client:
For the Windows Service client:
a. Click the Windows Start Button, select All Programs, select BellCommander, then select “BellCommander Client Settings”.
b. In the settings program, set the server IP to the name or IP address of the server running BellCommander.
c. Set the port to 17344.
d. Click the Apply Settings Button.
e. Close the settings window.
For the System Tray client:
a. Start the BellCommander system tray client by clicking the Windows Start Button, selecting the BellCommander folder, and then the BellCommander Audio Client.
b. In the BellCommander client select Program Options.
c. In the Program Options window, enter the IP address or computer name of the system running the BellCommander server. Leave the port as 17344. Change the identifier to be a name which uniquely and easily defines the computer. This name will appear in the BellCommander server software.
d. Click the OK button on the Program Options window.
6. At this point the client should connect to the server. On the BellCommander server, you can verify that the client connected by looking for the client in the Device Manager. If the client fails to connect, verify the IP address on the client and make sure that no firewalls are blocking the communication. By default, communication will occur over TCP to port 17344 on the server. This can be changed to a different port in the Device Manager, if necessary.
In the BellCommander Device Manager, BellCommander can be configured to use two communication protocols for the PC clients.
TCP: Used by previous versions of BellCommander. Client connects to BellCommander server and maintains a connection. When scheduled audio plays, the BellCommander server sends a request to the client to check if the file already exists. If the file already exists on the client, then it plays the client’s copy. If not, then it sends the file from the server to the client and the client plays the file. This configuration is ideal for situations where the same scheduled audio is typically placed, such as for school bells and factory shift change horns.
UDP: New in BellCommander 3. Client creates a UDP listener. BellCommander streams live or scheduled audio in real-time to the client. This configuration is better for situations where audio frequently changes, such as for store announcements or for sending music. Depending on the network and PC running BellCommander, audio may play more in-synch using this method.