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In 2005, Bytes of Learning released the first ever IP-based learning management system for instructional software, which was incorporated into UltraKey. UltraKey was delivered to customers in two forms: the instructional program or client for Mac and Windows, and a Windows-based data  service called the UltraKey Data Server.  
  
We continue to provide the UltraKey Data Server software with UltraKey because many enterprises enjoy hosting their own data. Additionally, we now offer the UltraKey Cloud, which gives customers the option of letting us host their data. This has been welcomed by all-Mac school districts and schools who don't have the latitude or support to install their own service.  
  
This page addresses the more common questions about IP-based learning management. Among other benefits, it should prove helpful in deciding whether or not you want to host your own service, or let us perform that service for you on the UltraKey Cloud: 
  
How the UltraKey Data Server Software Works 
System Requirements 
No Users Have Access to the Data 
Benefits of IP-based Learning Management 
Unique Features of the UltraKey Data Server Software 
How all-Mac Schools Use Windows Server Software 
How Home Users Log into School Records
 
Firewall Port Must be Opened 
Testing the Server Software Before You Buy 
Purchasing the Server Software 
Getting More Information and Assistance 
 
    
  

How the UltraKey Data Server Software Works

 
  The UltraKey Data Server Software operates a service in the background of any Windows-based server or computer. Although the service is Windows-based, it exchanges data with all copies of UltraKey running on Windows and Mac computers within the school, district or enterprise. When enabled to do so, the service can communicate with copies of UltraKey (called clients) installed anywhere such as the homes of students.  
    
  Communication between the service and the UltraKey clients consists of data packets transmitted using Internet Protocol (IP). IP is the same format anti-virus programs use to communicate virus definitions, and email programs use to transmit emails. 
    
  IP communication is extremely efficient. For one class of students using UltraKey for one hour, data flow is estimated at a total of about 5 MB for the whole class, which is less than one graphical web page download for one user. Many customers have used the UltraKey Data Server software for years without any need for attention. 
    
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System Requirements for the UltraKey Data Server

 
  The UltraKey Data Server software may be installed on any Windows PC or server running Windows 2000, through the most current Windows OSs for computers and servers. The data server software operates as a background service and may co-locate with other services and applications on the same PC. 
    
  Even an older PC will easily serve a school's needs. The server software only needs a fixed IP address so UltraKey clients can locate it as needed. 
    
  For enterprise-wide service, the data server software should be installed on a current server with the usual high-speed access that district-level servers have. The server software easily co-locates with other services. About 100 MB of data space is required per school. 
    
  For all-Mac environments, the UltraKey Data Server runs very nicely within a Parallels environment on a Macintosh. Read more about serving Mac environments below. Alternatively, all-Mac schools and any other customer who cannot install or service their own installation of the UltraKey Data Server, can opt for the UltraKey Cloud. See UltraKey Cloud for Record Keeping. 
    
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No Users Have Access to the Data

 
  With IP-based learning management, the client communicates with the server software, which in turn does all the storage and retrieval of data. Users never access the server, which is why no user requires permission and total security is guaranteed. 
    
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Benefits of IP-based Learning Management

 
  Prior to implementing the new IP-based learning management system, more than 95% of all technical help calls coming to Bytes of Learning resulted from permission problems on networks. Teachers or students could no log into server-based records because the permissions for access to shared files had changed.  
    
  Today, most help calls arise from customers wanting to know how to better use the UltraKey software, more than they do with any technical problems. The whole nature of instructional software application changes with IP-based learning management. 
    
  ✓ Network permission problems and security threats are eliminated. 
  ✓ One implementation can serve all schools in the district, enterprise or region. 
  ✓ Maintenance and support costs are nearly zero. 
  ✓ Intructors control everything for their classess and students using the UltraKey client. 
  ✓ Class interruptions are minimized.  
  ✓ Teachers can manage their classes from anywhere. 
  ✓ At the manager's discretion, students who have copies of UltraKey at home, may be monitored and managed while they learn at home. 
    
  Note: Sometimes enterprise or district policies prohibit off-site communication or the support is just not available. For an inexpensive alternative, see UltraKey Cloud for Record Keeping. Home licensing is also amazingly inexpensive. See Home Use Subscriptions for UltraKey.  
    
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Unique Features of the UltraKey Data Server Software

 
  Bytes of Learning researched and developed the UltraKey server software to handle thousands of student users and teacher users simultaneously with no noticeable slowdown. Extensive error handling intelligence makes the service extremely reliable. 
    
  To ensure privacy, the UltraKey server software encrypts all communication so sensitive student information cannot be intercepted. Passwords are never transmitted from the server to the client programs, ensuring they remain secure along with the integrity of the data system. 
    
  To minimize the need for central support, all the management functions including enrollment, are contained in the UltraKey instructional program (client). So teachers can easily meet their own needs without central assistance. 
    
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How all-Mac Schools Use Windows Server Software

 
  Mac users choose UltraKey in the first place because the client is always supported on the latest Mac OS X platforms. Here is how all-Mac schools and districts are utilizing the Windows-based server software: 
    
  Most all-Mac districts have at least one Windows server in the district already performing some task. These districts have installed the UltraKey Data Server software, easily serving every all-Mac school without impinging on the currents uses of the server.  
    
  Some all-Mac schools have implemented the server software on a Windows partition running on a Macintosh using Parallels or Boot Camp. 
    
  Some Mac Schools have located an unused PC and hooked it up to the local network. 
    
  Bytes of Learning now offers the UltraKey Cloud at an amazingly low cost. 
    
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How Home Users Log into School Records

 
  To make home use as seamless and trouble-free as possible, Bytes of Learning prepares customized UltraKey downloads for every customer. All the parent or mature user needs to do is download the software and install it.  
    
  Bytes of Learning provides free toll-free telephone support and email support to any family that requires it. However, the company has had enough experience, and it has refined the process so well, that home users rarely need any help at all.  
    
  Students must purchase the UltraKey software for home use. School and districts that own licenses for UltraKey can now opt for home use subscriptions for UltraKey.  
    
  If the school or district does not want home logins, they just don't use this capability. However, districts should know that allowing home logins presents no security risk whatsoever. 
    
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Firewall Port Must be Enabled

 
  In order for any computer to communicate at all, certain firewall ports are always enabled. For instance port 80 is always enabled for Internet browsing.  
    
  The phrase 'enable a port' is best understood as an enabling of communication to occur. It does not mean opening a door through which an uninvited person can intrude. 
    
  UltraKey communicates at port 5976. Whenever an UltraKey client copy cannot communicate with an UltraKey Data Server installation or the UltraKey Cloud, the most likely cause is that a firewall stands between the clients and the server software and port 5976 is not enabled. 
    
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Testing the Server Software Before You Buy

 
  A server software trial license is included with every UltraKey school trial. Schools are welcome to install and test the UltraKey Data Server software to whatever extent they need. Multiple school use is permitted. 
    
  You do not have to be a certified technician to install or set up the UltraKey Data Server software -- you only need to follow the instructions provided. Bytes of Learning provides free technical support to help customers set up the software, whether they are just trying the software or installing a purchased license. 
    
  Customers are also welcome to evalute the UltraKey Cloud while they try UltraKey itself. 
    
  Tell us what you need by completing a trial request.  
    
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Purchasing the Server Software

 
  The UltraKey Data Server software and license are provided with every Network IP edition of UltraKey. The UltraKey Cloud is optionally available for a modest annual fee.  
    
  If you own any previous license for UltraKey, contact our customer service department to request an upgrade quote. Please provide details about your current license so we can better assist you. 
    
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Getting More Information and Assistance

 
  Feel free to contact us and discuss your particular situation in more detail. 
    
  If you have a software selection team or you need to satisfy the concerns of several departments in the school or district, we are pleased to arrange an Internet conference with all your colleagues at a mutually acceptable time. 
    
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