1738 – How does ActivCast work?
ActivConnect OPS G
ActivPanel Elements Series
This article provides a deeper look into the inner workings of ActivCast.
What is ActivCast?
ActivCast is our mirroring solution which allows one device to display the screen of another. The device which accepts the mirrored screen is called the receiver. The other device is the sender.
How does the mirroring work?
This is a two-step process. The first step is the discovery phase and occurs when the sender search for a receiver on the network. The second step is the mirroring phase and occurs after an authentication process confirms the sender is connected to the correct receiver. They communicate directly with each other if the mirroring phase is successful.
There are four methods the sender can complete the discovery phase and begin mirroring to the receiver. Three of the four methods use local network traffic while one requires an Internet connection.
- QR Code: A QR code is scanned on the sender in the ActivCast Sender app. The code contains the name and IP address of the receiver. The sender makes a local connection with the IP address, and the mirroring phase begins. (No Internet traffic required)
- IP Address: A user enters the receiver’s IP address into the ActivCast Sender app. The sender makes a local connection and the mirroring phase begins. This method is currently not supported on Apple devices. (No Internet traffic required)
- Bonjour/Multi-cast: This discovery method is only used with Apple devices and is known as AirPlay. The device uses Apple’s Bonjour discovery protocol (AirPlay) to list all receivers broadcasting on the network. Once a user selects a device, the sender can make a local connection with the receiver and mirror. Bonjour may need additional network configuration to function correctly. Promethean has no influence on Bonjour setup on the network, so it is recommended to try other connection methods before this one. (No Internet traffic required)
- Connection ID: The user enters a connection ID into the sender which reaches out to a cloud server. The cloud server returns the IP address of the receiver. Then, the sender can make a local connection to the receiver. (Internet traffic required)
If senders and receivers can communicate with each other, and one of the discovery methods was successful, the mirroring phase can begin. All traffic between senders and receivers travel on internal networks, so it is important for specific ports to be open. It is also important for the sender and receiver be on the same subnet.
How does the Chrome extension work?
The Chrome extension uses webrtc protocols for mirroring and only allows the connection ID method. Because of this, Internet traffic is required. Once the connection ID is verified, a local connection is attempted.