Working remotely with Tekla Structures


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Last updated March 27, 2020 by Tekla User Assistance tekla.documentation@trimble.com

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Working remotely with Tekla Structures

This page gives you guidelines on the things to consider when setting up Tekla Structures for remote work. After general guidelines, we explain the four main scenarios for setting up working from outside the office network either temporarily or permanently.

The guidelines below assume that you run Tekla Structures on a computer that is outside your office network. You can work remotely also by connecting to your office computer through your VPN solution or other remote desktop software, see the VPN and remote desktop scenarios below for more information.

To start Tekla Structures, you need a license

If you have Tekla Structures and a license server with an active license installed on the same computer, there is no need for network connectivity to start Tekla Structures.

If you have a central license server in your office network, your computer must be able to reserve a license when it starts. This can be done in the following ways:

  • By connecting to the license server remotely through a VPN.
  • You can borrow a license temporarily while connected to the office network. The borrowed license is stored locally on your computer, so you can start Tekla Structures without any network connectivity.

Online licenses for Tekla Structures EPM Modeler or Partner configurations do not require a license server or a connection to your office network. Instead, you need access to the internet to log in to Trimble's online licensing system when you start Tekla Structures.

 

For the correct settings, you need access to your custom configurations

For the correct settings, Tekla Structures needs access to your firm and project folders.
  • You can connect to your office network through a VPN to work as if you were at the office.
  • You can store the files locally on the same computer with Tekla Structures and exchange changes by copying the files over or by automatically synchronizing the files using a file sharing cloud service.
  • If you use Tekla Model Sharing, starting from Tekla Structures 2020, the firm and project folders can be automatically synchronized through the Trimble Connect cloud service.

 

To work, you need access to the models

  • Single-user models can be exchanged as files.
  • To access multi-user models, you must have a connection to the multi-user server. This requires that you connect to the office through a VPN connection.
  • Tekla Model Sharing can be used anywhere as long as you have access to Trimble's cloud service through the internet when you want to read in or write out your changes.

 

Scenario 1: Connect through a VPN and work as if you were at the office

If your company has a VPN set up for remote workers, this is the best option for Tekla Structures as well. VPN and remote desktop solutions are not Tekla Structures functionality, but you can buy and get help for setting up such tools from many different vendors. Here we give you an overview on how they can be used with Tekla Structures.

There are two general setups available as explained below. 

Connect remotely to your computer at the office through a remote desktop

  • Connect to the office using a remote desktop provided by your VPN solution.
  • The computer at the office must be running for you to connect to it, but many computers can be set up to start automatically when you try to connect.
  • Since the computer running Tekla Structures is at the office, licensing and file access work without additional setup.
  • This setup requires an internet connection that works very reliably, since all interactions are relayed over the internet and delays can quickly make modeling difficult. This may not be a workable solution for all users.

Connect to the office network from the computer that runs Tekla Structures

  • Once the connection is set up, everything should work as if you were at the office. Licensing and file access works through the VPN connection.
  • The speed of the remote connection will be slower than your office network, so accessing files at the office can slow down your work.
    • Especially models stored on a network drive, including multi-user models, can be slow. You can speed up work by switching to cloud-based Tekla Model Sharing technology. See the separate article on accessing models over VPN for a more detailed explanation.
    • Also consider storing firm and project folders locally on the same computer with Tekla Structures.
  • For more details, see How do I use Tekla Structures License Server and multi-user server with VPN connection.

Scenario 2: Temporarily borrow a license at the office and work remotely or offline

When the license borrowing feature is set up, users can launch the license borrowing tool on their computers and download a license from the license server. With a borrowed license, the user can start Tekla Structures without any network connection.

The license is borrowed for a set period of time. Users should connect to the office network, return the borrowed licenses before they expire, and repeat the borrowing if they still need a borrowed license.

This is a good way to support laptop users who need to use Tekla Structures while out of the office when a VPN connection to the office is not available. Access to the necessary files should also be set up to work while not connected to the office network:

  • For collaborative modeling, Tekla Model Sharing allows the user to work offline, and reading in and writing out are done with access to the public internet with no VPN required.
  • Firm and project folders must be available locally on the same computer with Tekla Structures for offline work.

 

Scenario 3: Work without access to the office network with a local license

You can install a license server and activate a license directly on each computer that runs Tekla Structures, even on users' home computers. This is a simple option when users do not need direct access to the office network for accessing models (you do not have multi-user models) and you have enough licenses that each can be permanently assigned to a single user.
 

Note that you are allowed only a limited number of deactivations and activations of a license within any 30 day period, so this arrangement prevents you from sharing a single license between different users on a day-to-day basis. To be able to share licenses (floating licensing), users must connect to the same license server.

Access to the necessary files should also be set up:

  • For collaborative modeling, Tekla Model Sharing can be used without access to the office network.
  • Firm and project folders must be available locally on the same computer with Tekla Structures if there is no access to the office network.

 

To proceed with this type of licensing:

Scenario 4: Connect using remote desktop software

Various remote desktop solutions are available. These may allow you to connect to and control a computer at the office from a computer outside the office without setting up a VPN - if this is allowed by the network security policies of your organization. Remote desktop solutions are not Tekla Structures functionality, but you can buy and get help for setting up such tools from many different vendors.
  • Set up the remote desktop at the office. Firewalls and other security software may need to be reconfigured to allow these connections.
  • The computer at the office must be running for you to connect to it, but many computers can be set up to start automatically when you try to connect.
  • Since the computer running Tekla Structures is at the office, licensing and file access work without additional setup.
  • This setup requires an internet connection that works very reliably, since all interactions are relayed over the internet and delays can quickly make modeling difficult. This may not be a workable solution for all users.
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