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Frequently asked questions about the hotdesk service.

What causes my connection to break?

The hotdesk service acts as a bridge between your home machine and a Maths/INI machine: your home machine makes a connection to hotdesk.maths which then makes a connection on your behalf to the Maths/INI machine. Each of these connections can break.

The most frequent cause of broken connections is that there's a glitch on your home network connection, disrupting the connection between your home machine and hotdesk.maths. In that case, a (very small!) warning message is displayed at the bottom right of the screen:

The network connection to the Guacamole server appears unstable.

If problems continue, eventually (perhaps after a minute or so) the screen will dim and your web-browser will display a message about the Guacamole server not being reachable. (Guacamole is the bridging software used on hotdesk.maths.)

If this message appears, please check your internet connection - browse to a news website, do a search, check www.maths.cam.ac.uk - before reporting the issue to the helpdesk. (This message might also appear if there's a loss of the network connection into Maths or an unexpected problem with our hotdesk server itself: either is possible, but each is less likely than a brief interruption to domestic broadband connection.)

Another way in which a hotdesk connection can fail is if the Maths/INI machine suddenly stops responding, perhaps because there's been a power glitch, or if somebody physically present has pressed the reset switch. In that case, the message displayed is "The remote desktop server has closed the connection".

Remote has closed the connection

If you receive that message, the first step is to give the machine a few minutes to let it shutdown, reboot, or otherwise finish doing whatever it did to disrupt the connection - and then try again. Hotdesk will keep trying on your behalf, every 30 seconds or so, and will automatically attempt to wake up the machine as it does so. Perhaps give it up to half an hour before reporting a problem to the helpdesk.