Avoid the cost of adding modems to your network

As an IS manager, you probably receive requests from users for new modems and telephone lines on a daily basis. You can use Artisoft's ModemShare 32 to curb the cost of adding modems to your network. When you install the software on multiple computers, you establish a pool of modems that users can select from to connect to the outside world.

ModemShare 32 is transparent to the end user. You don't need to run special software to establish a connection to a modem and then dial out. Instead, you can use standard Windows programs (e.g., the Modems applet in Control Panel, or HyperTerminal or Dial-Up Networking in the Accessories menu) to access the modem as if it were connected to your computer locally. You can also use ModemShare 32 with older client versions.

Installation and Setup
I used several computers on my LAN to test the software. I installed the server and client components on the computer I use to connect to the Internet: an Acer 200MHz Multimedia Extensions (MMX) Pentium processor with Windows 95 and a USR 56K X2 modem. Then I installed the client component on two Windows NT hosts (one server and one workstation). I already have two COM serial ports for my computers, so I configured ModemShare 32 on a third COM port.

I used the typical installation, which automatically configured the software for use and installed the software's most common components on my system. On my NT hosts, I clicked the Modems applet in Control Panel and added a new modem to COM3. I also used the software's configuration utility to add COM3 to ModemShare 32 and to create the link between my client systems and the modem server. Screen 1 shows this configuration utility.

After I completed the setup, I clicked Dial-Up Networking in the Accessories menu to establish an Internet Service Provider (ISP) connection for my NT hosts. ModemShare 32 established a virtual connection to the modem on my Win95 host and dialed the ISP, and I logged on to the Internet. The software routed Internet traffic between the NT host and ISP. This additional layer of network traffic (i.e., the client communicating through my LAN to the modem server) made system performance sluggish: My system required about 50 percent more time to interact with Web sites.

Cool Features
ModemShare 32 is a client/server application. Thus, when you install the server component on one computer, the software adds each modem on that computer to a pool of modems. Users can access this modem pool from the network computers on which you installed the software's client component.

Using ModemShare 32, you can access more than one modem at a time. Thus, you can perform an online search and send a fax simultaneously.

Testing
During my test, I used HyperTerminal on my NT workstation host and manually established a connection to a local bulletin board system (BBS). Then I configured ModemShare 32 to use COM3. Performance was sluggish but acceptable. For example, when I typed ATDT to manually dial a telephone number, I observed a 1-second delay between characters as they transferred across the network to the modem. However, even with the delay, the software transferred files from the remote system in a reasonable amount of time.

An Excellent Sharing Mechanism
Although ModemShare 32 is expensive, you quickly recover the cost because you don't have to purchase additional phone lines. If you purchase a multiport version of the software, you don't have to purchase additional modems. As an extra bonus, you receive 30 days of free technical support with any version you purchase. ModemShare 32 is excellent software if you want network users to share modems.

ModemShare 32
Contact: Artisoft * 520-670-7100 or 800-846-9726
Web: http://www.artisoft.com
Price: $179 for one modem license
System Requirements: Windows NT Server or NT Workstation 4.0 or Windows 95, 486 processor or better, Service Pack 3 (included) or later for Windows NT, 16MB of RAM for Windows NT; 8MB of RAM for Windows 95, Network connectivity via IPX, NetBEUI, or NetBIOS, One or more modems