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Chapter 4: Using Microsoft Windows 95/98Any text on remote access would be remiss if it did not include a section on the world’s most popular desktop operating system. It would be difficult to find a remote access solution that did not require support for Windows, particularly the consumer oriented platforms of Windows 95 and 98.
This chapter will focus on the configuration and support issues that surround this popular client software. Particular attention should be paid to the protocols that are supported and the configuration steps that are required on the client.
Reasons to Use Dial-Up NetworkingFortunately, not only is configuring and using dial-up networking in Windows 95/98 simple, but it also provides a broad base of services for remote users. These services include the following:
Automatic connection to Web sites Once configured, the operating system will automatically establish a dial-up connection in order to connect with a remote Web server. If a user simply types a URL into Internet Explorer, the modem will dial the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and request the Web page.
E-mail Mobile clients can connect with Microsoft Exchange or another e-mail service in the office. This provides an efficient way to communicate with colleagues.
File synchronization Remote users can obtain file updates and post their files on a server in the office for local users. Although Microsoft provides Configuring Dial-Up Networking with Windows 95/98 141 the Briefcase application for this purpose, Symantec’s pcAnywhere and other such programs may be desired by more demanding users.
Remote control One alternative to high-bandwidth applications is remote control. Remote control software does exactly what it sounds like it does—keystrokes and mouse movements are sent to the host, and the host returns the image back to the remote user, allowing them to control the host. This solution allows only the screen images to be transferred, which can greatly reduce the required bandwidth for supporting the application.
Consider the following: a remote user on a dial-up connection needs to access a database that will result in 10 megabytes of data being transferred. With remote control, only the screen data will be sent for the session— with compression, this means that possibly less than 2 megabytes of data will be sent. Clearly, this bandwidth savings can be substantial. Note that remote control solutions must be connected to access data— unlike remote node solutions (where the modem acts as a slower network link), which use the remote user’s local applications and data. Also, the bandwidth savings variance can differ significantly depending on the data demands of the application; in this context, remote control utilizes remote node solutions for transport, but the connection must be maintained for the duration of the remote control session.
Effectively, anything that a user can accomplish in the office is possible with dial-up networking. Unfortunately, the significantly lower bandwidth can make this impractical, depending on the application.
Configuring Dial-Up Networking with Windows 95/98Dial-up networking in Windows 95/98 is extremely popular, perhaps for no other reason than that there are approximately 70 million clients that have it installed worldwide. From a client’s perspective, the cost and effort needed to connect to the office remotely requires little more than a phone line and modem.
As you will see in this chapter, configuring and administrating a single Win-dows workstation for dial-up networking is very simple. Unfortunately, it is not as simple when you have to administer dial-up networking for thousands of remote users, and there are few existing tools that make this task easier.
Microsoft Windows 95 and 98 support remote dial-up networking with the protocols that provide transport for NetBIOS:
See Chapter 3 for more information about the PPP protocol.
Configuring a Dial-Up Connection ClientThe configuration of a Windows client for dial-up networking is a relatively painless process, although there are many different configuration options available, and good planning will greatly simplify an enterprise level deployment.
By default, the Windows 95/98 installation will include the basic files for installing and configuring a network connection. It is always a good idea, though, to have the original installation CD-ROM available since the setup program may need additional files to complete the installation. In addition, the latest service packs and updates should be installed—service packs contain many updates and problem fixes called patches. In general, the installation of patches is a benign event; however, before performing the upgrade, it is best to backup critical files and review the appropriateness of the patch. For multiple node upgrades, it is best to test the patch before you deploy it.
Check the Windows Web site at www.microsoft.com for the latest patches, service packs, and tips for configuring dial-up networking.
While there are many tools available for installing and configuring dial-up networking, this text will focus on the basic installation—PPP and TCP/IP protocols; however, multilink connections and scripting will all be presented.
The screen captures in this chapter, unless otherwise noted, are from Windows 98 Second Edition. While the screens will look similar, other versions of Windows may differ slightly.
Dial-Up Networking ApplicationTo start configuring a dial-up connection, go to the Start menu and select Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Communications -> Dial-Up Networking. This will open a dialog box similar to the one shown in Figure 4.1.
FIGURE 4.1 The Windows dial-up networking dialog box...
...On the system shown here, this is the first dial-up connection, so Windows provides only a Make New Connection icon. This brings up the Dial-Up Networking wizard. If there were other connections available, the user or administrator could select them to initiate a call or to go into an already established connection in order to reconfigure options.
Make New Connection WizardAfter selecting the Make New Connection icon, Windows will begin the Make New Connection wizard. The first dialog box of this wizard is shown in Figure 4.2.
FIGURE 4.2 Making a new connection...
...In this dialog box, you will select a name for the connection and set the type of modem that you will be using for the connection. If Windows did not detect and install a modem in the Select a Device box, you will need to correct this before continuing.
For instructions on installing a modem in Windows, please refer to the product documentation.
Note that in Figure 4.2, the Lucent Win Modem has been automatically selected, and the user has been prompted to provide a name for the connection....