Installing and Configuring the Access Grid Toolkit (AGTk) 2


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Installing and Configuring the Access Grid Toolkit (AGTk) 2

  1. 1. Installing and Configuring the Access Grid Toolkit (AGTk) 2.4 for Microsoft Windows XP on a single computer 1. What is the Access Grid? The Access Grid (AG) is a suite of hardware, software, and tools to allow individuals or groups collaborate and attend meetings, seminars, lectures, workshops, or tutorials via high-speed networking. An AG node is scalable from a full room node with large displays to just a personal node referred as a PIG (Personal Interface to the Access Grid). The AGTk is an open source software. All the necessary software is freely available for download. Although the AG uses IP multicast as its underlying network transport protocol, unicast bridges are available in some virtual venues to allow a non multicast- enabled site to participate. The AG technology was developed in the Futures Laboratory at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). This document describes the installation and configuration of a PIG on a personal computer (PC) or a laptop running Microsoft Windows XP. It has been compiled using information from the AG website at, from previous installations, and from the AG community. This document has been written for convenience only. No one is liable for any difficulties or consequences associated with using it. 2. Terminology • Virtual Venue: A virtual conference room where an AG event takes place • Venue Server: A software component that each client connects to. It can hosts several independently accessible virtual venues. • Venue Client: A software component that each site uses to connect to a virtual venue. It displays the contents of the virtual venue, the connections to other venues, and an interface for configuring the node. • Identity Certificate: personal or site identification that you request to be signed by ANL • Anonymous Certificate: built-in certificate available with AGTk 2.4 allowing you to start the Venue Client in case you did not request an identity certificate yet • Multicast: A bandwidth saving technology that reduces network traffic. A multicast message is one that is transmitted to selected multiple recipients who have joined the appropriate multicast group. The sender has to generate only a single data stream. A multicast-enabled router will forward a multicast to a particular network only if there are multicast receivers on that network. • Unicast: A unicast application transmits a copy of every packet to every receiver. As opposed to Multicast, where only one copy is sent and copies are created only when the links to the destinations split. • RAT: The Robust Audio Tool is an open-source audio conferencing and streaming application. The Access Grid uses RAT for sending and receiving audio over the Internet. • vic: The Video Conferencing tool is an open-source video conferencing tool. It links multiple sites with multiple simultaneous video streams over a multicast infrastructure. The Access Grid uses vic as the default video application. Monika Rabarison, Jackson State University Visualization Laboratory, January 2006
  2. 2. • Shared Applications: Applications such as Shared Presentation (for PowerPoint Presentations), Shared Browser, and more that provide the same view of data and presentation materials to AG session participants. • Jabber and Psi: Psi is a client for Jabber chat application. AG node operators use this text chat as a background channel communication. Installation and configuration of Psi are at: • NCSA AG Scheduler: The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) provides a website for scheduling and posting AG events and for reserving virtual venues at 3. What do you need? • A PC or laptop running Microsoft Windows XP • 1Gbps network bandwidth is ideal. 100 Mbps would probably suit for most sites. An absolute minimal of 10Mbps will work depending on the number of participating sites. • A USB camera • A headset with microphone 4. Where is the software? The AGTK 2.4 for Windows XP and the required prerequisites are available for download from or go to the AG website at and follow the links “Software”, “Access Grid Toolkit 2.4”, then “Windows XP”. 5. Download and Installation You need to install each software package in the following order: • Download and install (ActiveState) Python 2.3 • Download and install wxPython 2.5 • Download and run the Access Grid Toolkit 2.4 installer Monika Rabarison, Jackson State University Visualization Laboratory, January 2006
  3. 3. Monika Rabarison, Jackson State University Visualization Laboratory, January 2006
  4. 4. 6. Starting up your personal node • Click on the Access Grid Venue Client icon on your desktop. • When you start you node for the first time, you will be prompt to fill up a user profile form. The default Home Venue is the ANL Venue Server Lobby. Click OK when you are done. You may edit your profile anytime from the Venue Client. • The AGTk 2.4 has a default anonymous certificate to allow you connect to a venue server. As we are talking about certificate, let us request an identity certificate. From the Venue Client window, select Request Certificate. Monika Rabarison, Jackson State University Visualization Laboratory, January 2006
  5. 5. Enter your information. You need to remember the Passphrase you enter here. You will need the same Passphrase or Password any time you start your node after your identity certificate is installed and set as default. You cannot change the Passphrase unless you request another certificate. Within two business days, you will receive a confirmation from Argonne National Laboratory with the email address that you provided. When the certificate is ready, you will need to install it and set it as default (See paragraph 11.). 8. Configuring your personal node By default, you node will run an AudioService (allowing you to listen and to talk) and a VideoConsumerService (allowing you to receive video from others). If you don’t want to send your local video to others or if you don’t have a camera yet, skip the following steps and directly connect to a virtual venue (See paragraph 9.). • From the Venue Client window, select Preferences, then Click on Manage my Node. Monika Rabarison, Jackson State University Visualization Laboratory, January 2006
  6. 6. Remove VideoConsumerService and add VideoService. The VideoService allows you to produce, send, and receive video streams. Monika Rabarison, Jackson State University Visualization Laboratory, January 2006
  7. 7. You may store the configuration as defaultWindows or give it another name and set it as default. 9. Connecting to a Virtual Venue From the Venue Client, if you click on the Go button, that will take you to the ANL Venue Server Lobby ( Let us go to another venue, the NCSA Lobby. In the URL field of the Venue client, enter, and then click on the Go button. This will take you to the NCSA Lobby. Monika Rabarison, Jackson State University Visualization Laboratory, January 2006
  8. 8. You should get two other windows: RAT (audio control) and vic (video streams). The RAT window By default, Listen is on. When you want to talk, check in the box next to Talk. The picture below shows that Monika Rabarison (2.4) (highlighted) is talking and all the other sites are listening. One site is having some data loss (indicated in red) in the audio communication. The vic window By default, the video streams thumbnails are displayed in a single column. To have a comprehensive view of all thumbnails, maximize the vic window and place the mouse in the window, and then type a number from 2 to 8. Typing 8 will display 8 thumbnails in a row. Monika Rabarison, Jackson State University Visualization Laboratory, January 2006
  9. 9. Doors to other venues are on the left pane of the Venue Client window. Clicking on the door will take you to the selected venue. 10. Bookmark a venue address If you want to bookmark a venue address, you need to be in the venue. From the Venue Client window, click on My Venues, and then Add Current Venue…Later on if you need to go to that venue, you click on My Venues, and then on the venue name. 11. Installing an Identity Certificate If you have requested an Identity Certificate (paragraph 6.), within two business days you should receive an email form ANL stating that your certificate is ready for installation. Monika Rabarison, Jackson State University Visualization Laboratory, January 2006
  10. 10. To install the Identity Certificate, start the Venue Client, click on Preferences, and then Certificate manager. From there, select the Certificate Request tab, and then check the status of your request. Your certificate should be Ready. Click on Install Certificate. After successful installation of the certificate you may select the Certificates tab, and make your Identity Certificate as the Default certificate. 12. Testing your node Every Thursday from10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Central Time, ANL provides open testing sessions to help users start up, install, or test the AGTk. The sessions take place in the Argonne National Laboratory Institution Venue. Go to the Institutional Venue Server at, and then from the Government Institutions Lobby, go to Argonne National Laboratory. If you have already installed a Jabber client, you may chat in the meadow and schedule a private test. For any question, you may email the Access Grid Technical mailing list at Monika Rabarison, Jackson State University Visualization Laboratory, January 2006