WRQ's trim TCP/IP suite rounds out NT networking nicely

A few years ago, the PC-networking industry experienced a TCP/IP suite war. Every vendor that supplied TCP/IP-related software squeezed as many utilities as it could on one CD-ROM and offered it to consumers as a comprehensive networking solution. These suites contained such useless features as proprietary Web browsers, unusual Telnet clients, and bizarre email clients. I had such a difficult time finding any helpful features on these CD-ROMs, I finally stopped using them. (If the sales figures for these CD-ROMs provide any indication, the rest of the market did the same.) So, TCP/IP-related software slowly began to fade from the market.

Thus, I was wary when WRQ released a new 32-bit TCP/IP suite for Windows NT and Windows 95. Although WRQ's reputation for developing communications software (particularly TCP/IP-based software) was excellent, I wondered whether the company was immune to the lure of mass-market sales. Fortunately, WRQ compiled a collection of graphical TCP/IP utilities that truly enhance most NT environments. WRQ's TCP/IP suite, Reflection NetApps 6.2, is part of the company's Reflection line of communications software.

Features
Reflection NetApps contains a series of client and server modules designed to run on NT and Win95. During installation, you can deploy any of these individual modules.

FTP Server and FTP Client. The FTP Server module is fairly straightforward, but the FTP Client module goes above and beyond the call of duty. The FTP Client provides a graphical interface for initiating FTP transfer, supports automated transfers, and offers an FTP Neighborhood interface (i.e., like a Network Neighborhood for FTP servers). If you use FTP regularly, you'll enjoy the power and flexibility of Reflection NetApps' FTP Client.

Line Print Remote (LPR) and Line Print Daemon (LPD) printing. You can use the LPR module, a client-side utility, to print to network-based, TCP/IP remote printers and to send existing files to network printers. More important, you can use this module to integrate network-based printers in a Windows printing environment. The LPD module lets you turn system printers into network-based TCP/IP printers. With the LPR and LPD modules, you can integrate an NT system into a UNIX environment.

Web Server. Although the Reflection NetApps Web Server module can't compete with Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS), the module is a step above Microsoft's Personal Web Server currently available for NT Workstation and Win95. The Reflection NetApps module lets workstations act as Web servers in an intranet environment.

Finger Server and Finger Client. The Finger Server provides personal information about users, and the Finger Client is a graphical implementation of the traditional finger client-side utility. Although finger servers aren't critical applications, many UNIX environments use them as ad hoc personnel directories. NT provides a finger client, but no finger server.

Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) Server. Users often prefer to use TFTP, a simpler form of FTP, to load software into network computers or transfer files in a batch environment. NT includes a TFTP client, but no TFTP server.

Ping. No set of TCP/IP utilities is complete without a graphical version of ping. Reflection NetApps' Ping utility can trace routes and perform name-to-address conversions.

Network Event Viewer. The Network Event Viewer is the product's equivalent to NT's Event Viewer. The Reflection NetApps server generates warning and error messages that are recorded in a central log file. The Network Event Viewer lets you view these messages.

Server Manager. Server Manager is the product's equivalent to NT's Internet Service Manager (ISM). You can start, stop, and set properties for all NetApps server modules through this program.

Timesync. Timesync, the ultimate utility for control freaks and precision addicts, is my favorite. Timesync lets you download the exact time (i.e., to the millisecond) to your system from the Internet. Screen 1 shows where you set the time on demand. You can also program Timesync to automatically reset the time on a regular basis.

At first, I thought Reflection NetApps would only benefit NT Workstation and Win95 because these systems don't have the same set of TCP/IP modules as NT Server. However, I realized that you can use many of these modules (e.g., Finger Server, TFTP Server, and Timesync) in a server environment. Fortunately, with such a low retail price, you can afford to deploy Reflection NetApps modules where you need them.

Reflection NetApps 6.2
Contact: WRQ * 206-217-7100 or 800-872-2829, Web: http://www.wrq.com
Price: $99
System Requirements: Windows 95 or Windows NT Server or NT Workstation, 486 or better, Ethernet or Token-Ring network adapter, TCP/IP networking enabled, 18MB of hard disk space, 16MB of RAM VGA monitor