Log on remotely from your cubicle

Would you like to find a software product that lets you log on to a remote server and run a systems administration program from the privacy of your cubicle? Are legacy, non-client/server database applications bogging down your WAN links and transferring MBs of data with simple queries because the client is doing the processing? Georgia Softworks' Windows NT Telnet Server provides a solution.

Installation and Use
Installing and running Telnet Server requires little effort. I loaded the software on my home-built, Micronics-based dual Pentium II NT 4.0 Server. After I inserted the distribution disk, I waited while the setup program ran. During setup, two components are installed. A Telnet service waits for connection requests on the TCP/IP Telnet port (port 23) and launches a shell session after you log on. A client application lets you connect to the server when you don't have another Telnet program handy. If you install Telnet Server on a computer running Windows 95, you need to install only the client component.

After installation is complete, the NT's Telnet service starts automatically; no server reboot is necessary. Installing Telnet Server and establishing my first Telnet session took me less than 5 minutes.

Special Features
Telnet Server includes several terminal emulations, such as ANSI, VT100, VT220/320/420, AT386, Wyse 50/60, IBM 3101, IBM 3151, and SCO Console. Basic graphic capabilities, such as the box and line graphics found in Microsoft Editor, can operate with Telnet client software. Function keys, the Alt key, and other special keys (e.g., the arrow or Home/End keys) also work with the Telnet client. As a bonus, Telnet Server supports mouse functions (e.g., key clicks in an Edit session) when it's used in conjunction with the client software.

When a user logs on through the Telnet session by providing a valid NT user name and password, Telnet Server can run logon scripts. No special user account database is necessary; Telnet Server fully integrates with NT's native security. When a user logs on, the software searches a special directory for one of two files: c_start.bat or k_start.bat. Telnet Server accesses c_start.bat, and the script executes. After execution is complete, the Telnet session automatically disconnects the user. This way, users can only run specific programs by automatically executing a menu program. If Telnet Server accesses k_start.bat, the software will place the user at a system prompt (cmd.exe) once the script executes. The user can then execute other system commands or navigate through directories as easily as if the user were sitting at the system console looking at an NT command prompt.

Network links can be unreliable, so when a user disconnects in the middle of an important job, the software can use proprietary algorithms to identify and clean up these sessions with its industrial-quality, session cleanup feature. You can even program the software to automatically execute a series of commands when it detects an abnormal termination of a Telnet session. This way, you can unload terminate-and-stay resident (TSR) programs, close database files, or save temporary files.

Getting the Most Out of Telnet Server
Even though Telnet Client isn't required, I used the client to take full advantage of Telnet Server's capabilities. The client is especially helpful if you perform any software operation that requires ASCII graphics or function keys. Screen 1 shows a GS Telnet Client configuration file editing session.

I found that alternative Telnet programs don't work very well. When I connected to my server from an alternative NT workstation using NT's stock Telnet application, my graphics applications didn't paint to the screen correctly. When I tried using HyperACCESS from Hilgraeve (software that has excellent terminal emulation), I had better luck but still experienced problems. However, when I used GS' Telnet client, it performed flawlessly. If you need an inexpensive Telnet server for your NT server, try this product.

Windows NT Telnet Server
Contact: Georgia SoftWorks * 706-265-1018
Web: http://www.georgiasoftworks.com
Price: Starts at $124 for a single session on one server
System Requirements: Windows NT Server or Workstation, TCP/IP