Wyse Technology's Winterm 3315SE is the first Windows CE-based terminal I've tested that supports the Citrix Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) protocol and the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Support for both protocols means you can deploy the Winterm 3315SE in any thin-client scenario: You can deploy the Winterm 3315SE with Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition or with Citrix WinFrame or MetaFrame. Furthermore, you can deploy the Winterm 3315SE in a LAN or WAN environment.
Plug It In
The base unit is a toaster-size device that you can set on a desktop or mount on a wall using the provided hardware bracket. The unit I tested came with a keyboard and a mouse. SVGA monitors are available through Wyse.
All the connectors for the Winterm 3315SE are on the back of the device. In addition to connectors for the monitor, keyboard, and mouse, the Winterm 3315SE houses a DC power supply connection, a 10Mbps unshielded twisted pair (UTP) Ethernet port, two serial ports, a parallel port, audio I/O jacks, and a PC Card slot. You can connect a modem to the serial port for dial-up connections using ICA or RDP, and you can attach a local printer to the parallel port.
Some features tie into your choice of protocols. You can use the audio output port only if you are using the ICA protocol. RDP doesn't support sound. Similarly, support for the Start key is available with only the RDP protocol. If you use ICA, you can use the mouse to point and click Start.
Solving a Mystery
Although Windows-based terminals are nearly universal, the configuration and operation of each device varies among manufacturers. For the Winterm 3315SE, the magic keys are Alt+End. This key sequence brings up the built-in configuration program that lets you define and launch your host connections.
You can use the Winterm 3315SE configuration program to define multiple host connections. Each host connection can use a different protocol and network connection. For example, you can configure one LAN-based ICA connection, one LAN-based RDP connection, one modem-based ICA connection, and one modem-based RDP connection. More practically, you can configure connections to different hosts using the same protocol. You can also configure the Winterm 3315SE to automatically launch a connection when you turn it on--this useful feature keeps end users away from the configuration program.
After you define multiple host connections you can press Alt+End to return to the configuration program and switch between different host connections. This feature is useful in an environment in which different host servers provide different applications. For example, if you have an Office 97 application host, a line-of-business application host, and a financial application host, you can move from one host to the next using Alt+End. Each connection remains active until you log off or disconnect it.
I found two problems with the Winterm 3315SE. One is the location of the power switch. The power switch is located on top of the Winterm 3315SE--the switch spans the breadth of the device and is located near the front of the unit. The large switch is as easy to turn off as it is to turn on. Many times, I reached out to reposition the Winterm 3315SE on my desk only to turn it off inadvertently. The second problem I found is less serious. I was testing the Winterm 3315SE in my small office/home office (SOHO) lab and connecting back to a host system running Terminal Server and MetaFrame in the Windows NT Magazine Lab. My ISDN connection had intermittent problems in which the line would frequently drop and I'd lose my connection to the host. The problem is that when the link went down and then back up, the Winterm 3315SE would see the disconnection but wouldn't let me reconnect to that host unless I turned the device off and on.
I found the Winterm 3315SE to be the most flexible, easy-to-configure, and easy-to-use Windows-based terminal I've tested. The Winterm 3315SE's support for multiple-host connections and the ability to switch between connections is a compelling feature in any multiple-host environment. I also liked the Winterm 3315SE's support for ICA and RDP--although if you are in a single-protocol environment, this feature might not impress you
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