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Solution for Computer based Test in Labs using Offline Server

Topics Covered on This Page

  1. Solution for Test in Labs using Offline Server
  2. Solution for Integrated Offline & Online Test

 

Same Computer Based Test Software can either be used to conduct Online Test on website by deploying on the cloud server or it can be used to conduct test in Lab by deploying on an owned server in the Lab.

Generally clients who want to bypass the poor connectivity internet or want to minimize the hosting expenses, opt for deploying the software in a Lab server to conduct offline tests.

For conducting the test in the Lab, the computers in the Lab shall be connected to the server via LAN. The server and the computers must be on the same LAN. Shared or Proxy LAN is not suggested. The server should be accessible from the terminals through local LAN IP.

Read the Server Configuration details

Integrated Solution for Offline (Labs) and Online (Website) Computer Based Test

Remember that one License is for one server. If you wish to use the Computer Based Test in Lab, and also online then you can opt for either of the two approaches:

  1. The minimal approach is to install the software on your Lab server and make same server available online through static IP connectivity.
  2. The most ideal approach is to have separate instances of Online Test Software on Lab and on Cloud because each one will have its own advantage.

Remember that one License is for one server. If you have purchased, you can either run it offline on a server inside the lab or online by hosting on the cloud server. The offline server (inside the lab) however can also be made available for online users by certain arrangements. But you cannot install it at two servers  and cater offline and online separately.

How  the minimal approach of Static IP for making online server  works?

If you wish to use the same license of the Computer Based Test System for Offline Tests in Lab and also want to make these tests available to your online users who connect through your website, then you must make following arrangements:

  1. Connect your server on Static IP. Remember that the Static IP must be configured on the server not on the router. The computer must be accessible online through static IP. If you wish to run the test locally also then the computer must also be configured on a Local IP and server must be simultaneously accessible from local IP and Static IP. If the server is made accessible only through Static IP, then even the local lab terminal computers will access the server via internet and then the availability of internet is must even for local examination. This has to be done by your server/network manager. Once we are provided the server which s accessible from static IP and Local IP, we will configure the admen software to be accessible from both networks.
  2. Link the website with Online Test System URLs from your server. There are small HTML code snippets available in the Online Test Software which can be added on your webpage by your web developer.

Though the offline server solution works good for the users in the Lab, but making it available for online users through static IP shall have some limitations for the online users. There are no theoretical or conceptual limitations, but practically, a new component "internet" is introduced so it will have its effect if there are any limitations in the upload and download bandwidths of the connection. Making the offline server as online by using static IP method invites internet hassle in some way or the other. Before offline server there was issue for local user to get data from online server, after setting the offline server there is issue to upload data to online user.

  1. The server will have to be kept online 24x7 so you will need uninterrupted electric supply.
  2. The server must have stable internet connectivity. Generally individual user internet connections are not as stable as internet coactivity of cloud server, because the user’s internet connectivity is dependent on local service providers and local infrastructure, while the cloud server or ISP connectivity is directly through satellite. This is the major difference that creates difference in reliability of service through a cloud or a local server.
  3. Ensure that the overall network bandwidth allotted to this system is sufficient to cater to the need. Sometimes it is observed that the institute has an overall high bandwidth connection but the bandwidth is shared by many departments. So it is important to know how much stable bandwidth falls in the share of Online Test System.  Just having high bandwidth is of no use if you also have high number of users or distribution.
  4. Ensure that your upload bandwidth is sufficient to cater the use. It is common that most user internet connections have high download bandwidth and very low upload bandwidth because in regular scenario we use internet mostly to receive or download data and only uplod our small commands. But now if your lab server is made the online server that means it has to deliver more data to the small requests it receives from users. So here the upload bandwidth must be high.

How the Dual Instances System (Online and Offline) works?

As a general scenario, most part of your use is online and less part of the use is offline. Candidates  can register online through website. Candidates and parents can access their dashboard anytime for results through online. Some admission leads or visitors to the website would want to take demo tests which is possible only online. Some of the enrolled candidates will also attempt the test from their homes through online server.  App is also connected through online. Administrators in different branches can more conveniently work on servers available online like registration of candidates and definition of test etc.

The use and benefit of offline server is limited to conducting test in lab by bypassing the internet dependency and the hosting expense.
The cloud servers do not have limitations in bandwidth and processing (as compared to your local server because cloud servers have virtual scaling of resources and are designed for the purpose. So they are anytime better and well suited for online connectivity than a local server with static IP using shared internet bandwidth.

So it is smarter to maintain the Online functionality for majority convenience and efficiency and use the offline instance of the system for limited functionality to conduct offline test and then revert the data to the Online resource.

  1. Instead of shifting the whole online functionality to offline server and making it available through Static IP, which has certain limitations, it is smarter to maintain an online server and do all the major tasks online and also maintain a offline server which will be used for the specific purpose of conducting test offline. And both severs will be linked.
  2. Define test and manage candidates in the online instance of the system and once it is required to conduct a test offline, then temporarily sync the same test in the offline server just by pressing a button.  So the test can be conducted smoothly locally and after that again the test answer data can be uploaded back to the online server for further processing. In this manner the online instance will remain your primary instance and the offline instance will fulfill its primary purpose of bypassing the internet.

The entire activity of administration is done on the cloud instance because it is always online and accessible by multiple administrators in the Lab and also the online users. The purpose of local instance inside the Lab is only for time to time when the test is conducted. The transfer of test definition and the answer data takes place between two servers with a single click of button.

The users who want to make tests available for both offline and online users using their purchased license have following options for procurement:

Option For Offline Users in Lab For Online Users on internet
Static IP approach Buy a single License of CBT install it in Lab on your offline server
Example Cost : CBT License
Connect the Lab offline server to website through Static IP
Example Cost : CBT Setup Nil + Static IP Charges + Electricity Charges
Dual Instance approach Buy a single License of CBT install it in Lab on your offline server
Example Cost : CBT License
Buy a additional License of CBT install it on cloud server
Example Cost : CBT License+ Hosting
CBT addl. Lic. + Onetime Linking Charges

In this case tests conducted offline will be considered as zero hosting load.
Dual Instance approach Buy a single License of CBT install it in Lab on your offline server
Example Cost : CBT License
Subscribe CBT on Lease on cloud
Example Cost :
CBT Setup + CBT 1000 tokens annual
+ Onetime Linking Charges

In this case there will be no tokens deducted for the test conducted Offline. The tests conducted online will deduct tokens as per regular system.
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