|The majority of thin-clients available today are
based on PC technology, ie they contain an
operating system, application layer (RDP, ICA,
emulation...), Bios, flash disk and registry...
Axel’s innovative "Ultra Thin-Client" technology
brings a unique simplicity and robustness to
The first diagram shows the complex construction
of an operating system based terminal, the
second diagram shows that of Axel’s "Ultra
BIOS / H.A.L.
Operating System based
An operating system comprises of several main
layers as shown in the table below. Each of
these main levels can have numerous sub-levels:
- Hardware Level - HAL (hardware Abstraction
Layer) and Bios
Operating System Level - HAL + Operating system
With a PC these numerous levels are essential
for application portability, ie supporting
spreadsheets, databases, word processing,
communications software (firewalls), device
drivers etc. However each layer has a
significant negative impact on the overall
performance of the system.
Unlike a PC, a thin-client will only ever be
called upon to run one of several connection
protocols (ICA, RDP, telnet), so the multi-layer
architecture impacts performance and brings no
benefit for portability.
With Axel’s approach there are no intermediary
levels between the hardware and the connection
protocols so we are able to apply all the
hardware resources to the connection protocol.
Optimised Memory Management
The performance of an operating system based
thin-client is a factor not only of CPU power
but also of the memory available (ie by adding
memory to PC its performance is normally
For operating system based thin-clients the
minimum memory requirement is dependant on the
operating system (XPE requires more than Windows
CE). With Axel’s ultra-thin client (and the
absence of an operating system) all the device’s
memory is available for the protocols and
emulations (TCP/IP, RDP, ICA...). The question
of how much memory is required is not
applicable. For example to obtain the optimal
RDP performance 3 or 4 Mb are sufficient. This
memory is mainly used for caching. Making more
memory available will not improve the
performance. This is why Axel does not need to
offer a range of different models with different
A Terminal offering 100% immunity against
Security has become a critical consideration for
today’s information systems, and a significant
driver for adopting a thin-client strategy. A
terminal with an embedded operating system is
susceptible to PC viruses. For example, XPE, a
common thin-client operating system, is exactly
the same operating system XP that runs on PCs,
so is susceptible to the same viruses.
As such XP based thin-clients are subject to the
same security considerations as a PC, ie,
regular hotfix updates and installation of
up-to-date anti-virus software.
There are no such concerns with an Ultra-Thin
Complete Control of the Product
Axel has total control over all aspects of
design, manufacture and production of our
The circuit boards (hardware) are designed by
our engineers, as is all the software
(firmware). The TCP/IP stack , the emulations
(ANSI, VT, 5250 3270...), the graphical
protocols (RDP, ICA and VNC), connection
protocols (telnet, SSH...) and USB stack are all
developed in-house by our own R&D team.
Consequently Axel has the total control of the
whole of the terminal .(Hardware and firmware,
no part is sub-contracted).
This requires Axel to have in-house an
incomparable knowledge of the protocols and
emulations and how they interact with each other
and the hardware. It also means that we are
qualified to address technical questions at a
source code level.
Having no operating system also provides the
- Immediate availability: the Axel terminal
"boots" in a few seconds
- Simplified set-up: the terminal configuration
is based on simple concepts which allow very
fast commissioning. This same set-up can be
reached remotely via telnet.
- Supportability: being wholly developed
in-house, the protocols and emulations do not
depend on any third party companies.
All operating system
based terminals are fundamentally the same (in
the way that all PCs are fundamentally the
same). As all use the same ‘building blocks’ it
is impossible to differentiate one from another
in terms of technology. As the manufacturers
‘buy in’ the building blocks they have no
control over the product.
By contrast Axel’s “Ultra Thin-Client"
technology is wholly owned and developed by
Axel. This is a significant asset and truly sets
Axel aside and ahead of the pack in terms of
freedom to develop new features and enhance