Cinema 4D Team Render, Part 09: Troubleshooting Team Render Connections

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Instructor Rick Barrett

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In this tutorial you’ll learn how to troubleshoot common Team Render connection issues

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to troubleshoot common Team Render connection issues, like Expected … but reached …, LLRecvBytes Failed, SocketIOTimeout, Broken Pipe and SendNetEvent could not connect.

You’ll learn basic troubleshooting steps, including updating Team Render, adjusting firewall settings, disabling Bonjour, checking ports, eliminating multiple network connections, connecting via the proper IP, cleaning up the machines list, and resetting the Team Render Preferences completely.



- In this tutorial, we're going to look at some specific techniques for troubleshooting Team Render. Now ideally, you followed all the advice in all the previous tutorials and things are working great. But admittedly, Team Render has some issues, and it's often difficult to nail these issues down because they't not limited to just the application itself, but to your network, your Team Render clients, and to the specific jobs you might be rendering. I'm going to go over some specific issues that we see a lot in tech support, and some specific tips for troubleshooting when Team Render's not acting like you'd expect. The first thing you want to do is ensure Cinema 4D and all Team Render instances are using the latest release, and I've reiterated this a number of times, but it's very important because Team Render is under very active development and a lot of issues get fixed with incremental update. Also Team Render needs all of the instances to be running the same version in order to communicate properly. To check what version of Team Render is currently using, you can choose About from the Help menu, and the version number and specific build ID will be shown in the bottom right hand corner of the splash screen. If there's any new incremental updates to install, a box should appear any time you start Cinema 4D. However, you can manually check for updates by choosing Check for updates within the Help menu. This will ping the Maxon servers and check to see if there's any new updates to install. If there are, simply follow the steps to update just as you did when you first installed Team Render. If any individual client isn't running the same build as Cinema 4D or the Team Render server, you should see a message next to the client machine that says wrong build ID, and you won't be able to utilize that client for rendering. However, if you want to check specifically which build is being used by each client, there's a handy debug information dialog that you can access by Ctrl + Double-clicking on the icon next to each machine name. Here I can see that this instance is running Team Render client with the build ID of RV121092, and there's some other great information that you can get out of this dialog as well. So once you've ensured that Cinema 4D and Team Render instances are all using the latest release, the next thing to do is to ensure that Team Render is allowed through the firewall. Firewall issues can be a bit tricky sometimes because in a lot of cases, you're able to make the connection with the computer, but it will fail later on when you're actually processing a render. I'm not quite sure why this happens, but if you have failures mid-render, a lot of times, that points to a firewall issue. As I covered in earlier tutorials, this is especially an issue on Windows when you're rendering with cross-platform networks because by default it will only enable the firewall for the domain scope or domain profile. So computers that are outside of your domain, such as Windows computer not in your domain or Macintosh computers, will not be allowed to communicate with Team Render. If you didn't check the appropriate boxes when Cinema 4D started up, let's look at how to check and adjust your Windows firewall settings now. On your Windows machine, you want to open the Windows firewall control panel. You can often do this quickly by hitting the Windows key and starting to type Windows firewall. You can also find this within the control panel under system and security. In the firewall dialog box, I like to go directly to the advanced settings. And this pops up a dialog that can be a bit confusing, but you want to go to the Inbound Rules. In here, you'll see lists of all of the different applications that have been allowed through your Windows firewall. And you're going to look for any instance that references Cinema 4D, the Team Render client, or the Team Render server. There's a good chance you'll have multiple instances of each of these if you have multiple installations of Cinema 4D on the machine. Within each of these, you'll want to make sure that they all have green check marks and that the profile for all of them is set to all. Here you can see that this Team Render client has a profile set to domain. So we'll double-click on it, go to the advanced tab, and check private and public as well. And now this computer will be able to communicate with Macs or non-domain computers on my network. On Mac OS, you'll find the firewall settings under system preferences, Security and privacy, firewall tab, and here you'll need to click the lock in order to make any changes, and authenticate with the computer. Assuming the firewall is on, you'll click firewall options and you'll want to check your exceptions within the list here. You can see here that Team Render client already has an exception, but in order to add a new one, I would simply hit the plus icon and find Team Render within my applications path. And here we'll go ahead and create an exception for Team Render server as well. And you want to make sure that it's set to allow incoming connections. In most cases, the Mac will automatically create the exceptions for you. Of course, on both platforms you can simply turn off the firewall temporarily to determine if that's causing the issue or not. One of our next troubleshooting steps would be to disable Bonjour and to add the machine manually. Bonjour is very convenient, especially when DHCP can cause the IP addresses of various machines to change, and when you may not have a DNS server for your internal network. However, it can be problematic at times. We've seen issues where certain routers will return the incorrect IP address for a machine via Bonjour. And in general, a number of connection issues have been traced back to Bonjour. So if Bonjour is working for you, again, that's great. But if you are experiencing connection issues, a good step would be to disable Bonjour and add the machines manually. You'll need to disable Bonjour within each Team Render client or Cinema 4D instance. And you'll go into the preferences tab under renderer on the Team Render page, and make sure that Announce service via Bonjour is unchecked. If this is unchecked, then the computer won't be seen by Bonjour and you'll need to add it manually. Again, when you add machines manually, you'll want to use the DNS name that appears here beginning with the third line of the Team Render client unless that DNS name ends with .local. In those cases, it's actually still using Bonjour to generate a sort of dynamic DNS. The least common denominator would be to utilize the IP address shown for the connection. The only downside to this is that if the IP address changed due to DHCP, you'll need to remove and re-add that machine. The next thing to check is that you're using the proper port and that there's no conflicts on that report. Generally, the ports used by Team Render are fairly safe. Cinema 4D uses port 5400, Team Render client uses 5401, and Team Render server uses 5402. When you're making connections, make sure you follow the DNS name or IP address with a colon and the port number. In the case of connecting to a Cinema 4D instance, it will usually be 5400. And if you're connecting to Team Render client, it will be 5401. So again, make sure you're using the proper port for the instance of Cinema 4D or Team Render that you're actually trying to connect to. Next, you'll want to eliminate multiple network connections on the same subnet, and we've covered this in depth in a previous tutorial. Team Render gets confused when you have multiple network connections that are utilizing the same subnet for communication. This is most commonly the result of having an ethernet cable plugged in and a wi-fi connection connected to the same DHCP server. So in most cases, the solution here is to simply disable your wi-fi connection because, again, you should always use wired ethernet with Team Render. Wi-fi is simply too slow and too unreliable to manage the bandwidth and connection requirements of Team Render. If you do need to utilize multiple network connections, such as when you're using wi-fi for your internet, but you're using an ethernet cable to do Team Rendering, you'll want to make sure that those are using separate subnets. And you'll want to make sure that your connecting to each client via the proper IP for the ethernet connection. Again, these previous two points were covered in a lot more detail in the tutorial on adding clients to Team Render, so refer back to that if you need more information. The next thing you might need to do is remove machines from the Team Render client machines list. Now this won't actually affect the performance of Team Render at all. It simply puts a lot of extra debugging information into the console and makes it hard to see the actual debug information that's essential. Let's take a look really quick at our Mac client. Here in this client, for instance, you'll see that we have a lot of messages that keep alive could not connect to two specific IPs. And that's the Woodchuck and Silverfish machines that are here in our Team Render instance, but aren't currently running. Team Render client automatically adds machines each time a machine connects to it, but that machine list isn't really all that essential. So from time to time, you might need to just clean it out. You can do this manually by right-clicking on each machine and choosing remove. And once we remove these machines, you won't see those error messages anymore. That leads into our next point, which is that sometimes we just delete the preferences and re-add the machines from scratch. And this applies not just on the client, but within Cinema 4D and the Team Render server as well. Deleting the preferences and refreshing the machines list can just eliminate any gremlins that might have developed within the system. So the easiest way to get to your Team Render preferences is within any instance of Team Render, you can go into the preferences and choose open preferences folder. And the preferences that actually matter are actually one level above the Windows Explorer or finder window that opens when you click that button. So you want to go up into the Maxon folder, which is usually within your application data folder on either Windows or Mac OS. And you'll find some files here that are called machines_rv_version number_instance type. Or Team Render with the same suffix. And you'll simply want to delete all of these files and then manually re-add all of your machines. So next let's look at some specific connection issues that you might see from time to time with Team Render. The first is a message that says something like expected a certain very long string of alphanumeric characters, but reached a certain other very long string of alphanumeric characters. Team Render generates a unique ID for each instance that's based on the location of the preferences folder. So if your application directory or preferences folder moves, or even if you simply log in as a different user, or if Team Render client moves to a different IP address and a different Team Render client is found, you'll see this error, because the unique identifier that's stored in the machines list is no longer the same as the one at the client is being contacted. This is sort of a fail safe to ensure that the proper clients are communicating with the proper Cinema 4D instances. But again, it can be problematic. One of the times you'll see this a lot is if you load a machines list that still has the unique identifiers listed next to each machine. It's a good idea to just remove all of the unique identifiers from the machines list prior to loading it, and that way if the unique identifiers for each machine have changed, you won't get this error message over and over. Another error that you'll see sometimes is LLReceivedBytes Failed or SocketIOTimeout. And these you'll often see in concert with one another. When you see one, you'll often see the other as well. And this is basically just a general connection issue. You want to look at all the things we covered in the previous slide to make sure that you have a proper connection between the computers. Another error that you might see is Broken Pipe. And this is almost always related to a firewall issue. For whatever reason, a firewall will often allow the initial connection, but subsequent connections will be blocked. And so this broken pipe message means that the pipe or connection that was made has no been broken. And so if you get this message, check your firewall because that's almost always the cause. And another one that you might see if something like send net event cannot connect or establish connection aborted. These can usually be ignored because they're often the result of simply closing the Team Render client or server application on the computer. If you see these specific errors and you're not having an issue, don't worry about it. If you are a having connection issue, there's probably other error messages further up in the log that point to the actual issue. These are the connection issues we see pop up most frequently in tech support. In the next tutorial, we'll go over some specific debug techniques that you can use if these and other tips I've provided earlier in this series don't resolve the issues that you're encountering with Team Render.
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