Share modems among machines

Does everyone in your company want a modem and a telephone line to dial out to the Internet? Do different members of your MIS department need access to a modem to download patches and drivers from vendors? How can you create the equivalent of an inbound modem pool for outbound use? WINport, from LANSource Technologies, is the product that can meet all these needs.

WINport is a modem-sharing program that includes both a server component and client components. On the client side, WINport installs a redirector that fools your operating system into thinking a real modem is connected to your COM port. This redirector then communicates with the server software over your network to establish your communications session, as shown in Screen 1. Redirectors are available for Windows NT, Windows 95, Windows 3.11, and MS-DOS. The server side requires an NT 4.0 or NT 3.51 machine for operation. The software runs over a TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, or NetBEUI network.

The beauty of WINport is that all of your existing communications software will work with the software. For instance, if you use NT or Win95, you can use the Windows Dial-Up Networking (DUN) component to access the Internet through WINport. You can even use a communications program such as HyperTerminal to dial vendor bulletin board systems (BBSs) for updated patches and drivers.

Dialing for Dollars
Installing and setting up WINport requires a little bit of work, but is not overly difficult. I installed the server software on my NT 4.0 server and used my Win95 machine as the client. I then used Hilgraeve's HyperACCESS (HyperTerminal's big brother) and DUN to test WINport. I installed and set up the software in less than 15 minutes.

After you complete the install process, you must configure the software and make it operational. This process takes a little more planning than installation does, especially when you decide to implement security, because of the variety of security options.

WINport has extensive security to let you tailor access to your outbound modem pools. At the basic level is user- and group-level security. This security level operates similarly to NT's user and group-level security. You can permit or deny access to specific modems or, if you create modem groups, specific groups of modems. Using this level of security lets you ensure that a modem will always be available for high-priority users on your network. WINport lets you authenticate users based on their network username or a separate WINport server sign-on.

In addition to modem access restrictions, you can restrict dialing for both users and groups. Dialing restrictions include the ability to dial long-distance numbers, specific area codes, or local numbers. This feature lets you prevent abuse of your telephone network. For example, by limiting who can dial long-distance numbers, you can prevent your users from running up expensive phone bills. Naturally, if you decide not to restrict dialing, WINport still maintains a log of all activity, so you can track abuse should it occur.

But Wait, There's More
LANSource includes RASport for free with WINport. RASport is LANSource's Remote Access Service (RAS)-sharing utility for NT. Using this utility, you can share your WINport modems with NT RAS for dial-in access. The benefit of this utility is that you do not need to dedicate one or more of your modems in your modem pool to RAS and the others to WINport. With RASport, all of your modems can work with both WINport and RAS for inbound and outbound calls.

You can integrate WINport with FAXport, LANSource's fax-sharing program. If you integrate all three components--FAXport, RASport, and WINport--your entire user community can share a single modem pool for fax, data, and RAS capabilities. This combination can save you thousands of dollars in extra modem costs, and LANSource offers special packages that let you purchase all three products at a reduced cost.

WINport is a highly versatile, extremely useful program. It is a system utility that nearly every systems administrator has searched for since the advent of modem communications on PCs.

WINport 6.0
Contact: LANSource Technologies * 416-535-6225 or 800-677-2727
Web: http://www.lansource.com
Email: sales@lansource.com
Price: $199 for single-port version
System Requirements: Windows NT 3.51 or NT 4.0