Recommended equipment specs and best practices for training in low connectivity areas - TIPS & TRICKS

Hi everyone,

We are procuring some training “kits” to have for in-country trainings so that we do not run into issues as we have in the past. We are already using a localized Docker image on a laptop but it is generally way too big to load and work reliably unless the laptop is new and has a lot of memory.

The UiO team had recommended we use the **Gigebyte Brix Pro ** and run linux ubuntu on it, then have participants connect to this via router and access points. Unfortunately this server model is unavailable, does anyone else have specs for something else that has worked well for them in the past?

In general, hearing others’ advice on what set-up has worked well for large trainings in remote areas would be very helpful.

Many thanks in advance!

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Hi @sarahollis ,

In our case, we used to use laptops running Ubuntu Linux with i5/i7 CPUs and 8 GB of RAM for the server. It worked really well for around 20 to 25 participants. Some other thoughts and recommendations:

  • My guess is that directly running DHIS2 under Tomcat would provide more performance benefits than running it inside Docker.

  • Use good access points. Initially, we used multiple access points targeted for home use. However, with those, we would get random WiFi disconnections. It could be that it may be due to WiFi driver issues with Linux. However, when we switched to Mikrotik access points, the issue mostly went away.

  • Also, if you plan on using multiple access points, have them in separate WiFi channels so they do not interfere.

  • One other benefit of using highly configurable access points like Mikrotik is that they have static DNS feature. Participants, upon reaching home after training, would try to access LAN IP used in the training, and ask us why it didn’t work. To get around this confusion, we pointed Production DHIS2 Domain to LAN IP only while connected to the training network.

  • Have small power backup for access points so participants can continue to work without WiFi disconnections. We used to get random short power outages and it wasn’t feasible to manage power backups for laptops. So, we only managed power backup for access points and it made the training much more smooth.

Hope this will be helpful.

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