Hardware Support: Methods to Connect Multiple Computers to a LocoNet® Layout

JMRI currently supports two different ways to connect multiple computers to your LocoNet®-equipped layout using a single LocoBuffer. In both methods, the computers communicate using standard TCP/IP protocols, but there are differences in the details.

One method uses the inbuilt LocoNet Client/Server capability of JMRI.
The other method allows multiple JMRI nodes to connect as Clients to a single LocoNetOverTCP LbServer, which is external to JMRI.

The difference between these two methods is that JMRI LocoNet Client/Server uses the native Java Remote Method Invocation (RMI) protocol, whereas the LocoNetOverTCP uses a separate non-Java server process, LbServer, that communicates using plain ASCII String messages over TCP/IP sockets, allowing non-Java nodes to also share the one LocoBuffer.

For most people who simply want to have several computers share a single LocoBuffer connection, the JMRI LocoNet Client/Server option is probably the best choice as it is easy to configure. For others wanting to provide remote access the layout over Internet, the LocoNetOverTCP LbServer option may be more suitable as firewall rule changes to allow external access will be simpler.

Notes:

LocoNet® is a registered trademark of Digitrax, Inc.