How to set up CATI@home

16 June 2020

In our documentation there is information about the NIPO CATI Client configuration, but in this news item you will find a quick overview on how to set up your CATI system in such a way that you can have your interviewers connecting from any location. Very useful if you want to give your interviewers the flexibility to work from home, or to give a partnering firm access to your CATI system so you can do projects together while working on the same server.

So, what are the steps to set up CATI@Home? To start with the obvious, your CATI@Home interviewers need an internet connection to be able to connect to the NIPO CATI Master. Since they will connect through the internet, the connection protocol for the NIPO CATI Client needs to be set to PureTcpIp. We advice you to place your CATI Master behind a firewall in which you open the specific port of the NIPO CATI Master. In a default configuration this port is 8001. The port the NIPO CATI Master is listening to can be changed from the CATI Manager › File › Configure › Master.

Settings on the CATI Master machine
Remote CATI Clients cannot simply connect to the CATI Master, but require additional verification in the CATI Master. The CATI Master will keep a list of so called StationKeys for which it will allow incoming remote connections. Connections are recognized as remote connections based on the IP addresses of NIPO CATI Master and NIPO CATI Client. The StationKey of the incoming connection needs to match a known StationKey value on the CATI Master.

In order to arrange this additional verification you will need to add some registry settings to the CATI Master. These registry settings are all stringvalues to be added under \HKLM\SOFTWARE\NIPO\CatiMaster or in case of a 64 bit operating system under \HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\NIPO\CatiMaster.

Add the following registry settings:

Restart the NIPO CATI/Web Master
After adding the registry settings and checking the port number of the NIPO CATI Master, you will need to restart the NIPO CATI/Web Master service to activate the new settings.

Prepare a remote CATI connection in NIPO FMS Client
Open the NIPO FMS Client and go the interviewer you want to enable to connect remotely. In the ‘Details’ view you may need to change the view to actually show the Authentication fields. Right-click on the page and from the popup dialog select ‘Fields…’ This brings up a dialog in which all fields of the interviewer table are shown, but only the ones ticked are shown on the interviewer’s ‘Details’ page. Make sure to tick the fields for AuthenticationKey (or the fieldname of the field you added to the Interviewer table), AuthenticationStation and AuthenticationStatus. And when a dialer is used tick RemoteTelnr as well. Then click ‘OK’ and the fields are shown on the interviewer’s Detail page.

Configure the remote CATI Client application
The remote CATI Client machine uses the normal CATI Client software with in addition the value of the StationKey. You have to define yourself what is the best way to get the software on the interviewer’s home computer; you could for instance prepare a client installation including the shortcut and make a self-extracting zip file and email/ftp that to your interviewers.

There are 2 ways you can specify the key on the NIPO CATI Client; either by adding a parameter to the shortcut: -KEY xxxxxx, or by adding an entry Settings=xxxxxx to the [OdQes] section of the niposys.ini file (where xxxxxx represents the actual AuthenticationKey as specified for the interviewer). Since this Key value can be a long string, it is preferred to add the settings=xxxxxx to the niposys.ini file. Note when the key is used on the command line it should be present as the first argument.

The shortcut to the CATI Client then looks like this:
"C:\your path here\OdQesu.exe" /N /P PureTcpIp
Of course, should be the IP address of your NIPO CATI Master, and 8001 is the port number as defined above. And you may also use the other normal parameters like ? /SIZE depending on your preference.

Test the connection
By itself, the above should enable access for the remote interviewer, so go ahead and try to connect. After successful contact to the CATI Master, check the interviewer details in the NIPO FMS Client, and you will see the computer name in the AuthenticationStation field. The workstation is now successfully configured for CATI@Home use!

Remark: Even though we use the interviewer table to store the StationKey values, there is no specific link between the interviewer number and the StationKey itself. Using the StationKey is only a control mechanism to determine if a certain remote NIPO CATI Client is allowed to connect or not. Once the connection is established, the interviewer could theoretically still logon with any interviewer number. It is however good practice to use StationKeys as described above, because each StationKey will then only be used by 1 interviewer which makes management of the StationKeys much easier.

Get a first impression, scheduled soon.

Get a first impression, scheduled soon.

Request a demo to see how NIPO can help you meet your requirements with our smart survey solutions.