If local access to your network is no longer sufficient because your company has grown and you have mobile users who require access, you'll need to add remote access capabilities. You can build your own Remote Access Service (RAS) servers, but you might end up with a hodgepodge of equipment. RAScom offers the RAServer 2500, an open-architecture, fully scalable remote access solution.
Setting Up the Server
Installing the unit is time consuming but not difficult. After I connected the unit's external devices (i.e., Ethernet cable, monitor, keyboard, mouse, telephone line for 33.6Kbps modem, and ISDN connections), I configured the software. RAScom ships the unit with Windows NT Server 4.0 preinstalled, which decreases your setup time.
During the initial setup, you have to provide information about the network protocols you plan to use. I had to assign the RAServer Ethernet card an IP address compatible with my network. I also had to reconfigure the system's default workgroup to conform to my network standards. After tweaking settings for an hour, I had an operational unit on my network, and remote users could access my LAN.
I had few controls on my test unit. I used the rack-mount version, which looks like a communications lab's computer. The front of the unit has two access portals: One lets you change a dust filter, and one lets you access the unit's 3.5" disk and CD-ROM drives. The rear of the unit has only the essentials (i.e., mouse and keyboard ports, monitor port, and ports to connect your communications equipment). I used a 33.6Kbps modem port, two ISDN ports, and an Ethernet port to connect to my LAN.
A Powerhouse with an Open Platform
The RAServer 2500 is a 42-pound, 7" * 22" * 19" powerhouse, with an open architecture based on industry-standard ISA and PCI buses. The server's open platform supports Ethernet, Token Ring, Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI), and asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) LAN connectivity. The RAServer also supports ATM, frame relay, and T1 WAN connectivity. The unit can support as many as 4 ISDN Primary Rate Interface (PRI) connections, with as many as 96 users. The RAServer 2500 can also support 8 to 32 Basic Rate Interface (BRI) connections, with 16 to 64 users.
The RAServer 2500 is not a communications device. It's a computer system housed in an assembly specifically designed for communications environments. Using NT and RAS, the RAServer 2500 lets you access your LAN remotely over digital ISDN or analog modems. The server supports multilink Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP). Thus, remote users who require extra bandwidth can combine the available dial-up lines--or multiple ISDN B channels--to achieve increased throughput. You can also configure the server with demand-dial routing services (like an Internet Service Provider--ISP) so that the server automatically connects to remote sites to pass traffic as necessary.
The RAServer 2500 supports TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, and NetBEUI connections over WAN links. The unit fully supports Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) for automatic assignment of IP addresses, Domain Name System (DNS) for host name lookup, and other IP-based services (e.g., FTP and Line Print Daemon--LPD). The RAServer 2500 also supports major tunneling protocols. When you use Novell NetWare's Gateway Service on NT, any Microsoft clients that connect to your NT server can access NetWare resources.
A Security Provider
Network security is critical for remote access devices. The RAServer 2500 offers a full range of security features. At a minimum, a remote user needs a username and password to access the system. You can use Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) or Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP). You can also use the server's account lockout feature to restrict logon attempts from remote sites. If you need additional network security, you can use the RAServer 2500 with an external or preconfigured Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) or Security Dynamics network authentication server. You might want to consider the RAServer 2500 if you want single-source WAN access.
| Contact: RAScom * 603-898-5200 or 800-727-6420|
Price: $14,000 to $50,000 for desktop or rack-mount unit
System Configuration: Windows NT Server 4.0, Pentium processor, 32MB of RAM, 1.2GB of hard disk space, 3.5" disk drive, 8X CD-ROM drive