Best Remote Computing Products - 09 Sep 2002

Our readers ranked Microsoft's Remote Desktop in Windows XP Professional as the leader when it comes to remote control products.

Remote Desktop provides access to a desktop running Windows XP Professional from a remote location, providing users with the flexibility to work on a Windows XP Professional-based computer from another computer running Windows 95 or later. Remote Desktop is an extension of Windows 2000 Terminal Services. When Remote Desktop is enabled on a computer, a user can connect to it and access all his files, applications, and network resources as though they were sitting in front of the host computer.

Remote Desktop also provides security during connection. If a user connects to his Windows XP Professional computer by using another feature, anyone might see his mouse and keyboard actions on the computer. When the user connects to his desktop by using Remote Desktop, the computer to which he is connecting is automatically locked. This prevents anyone from watching his movements on the screen as he works on the remote computer.

Microsoft Corp.
Redmond, WA
(425) 882-8080
Price: Free with Windows XP Professional

Our readers say that you can manage remote users more easily by using NORTHERN's RasTracker, which automates the management of your remote users by offering complete control over your RAS, RRAS, and VPN resources.

RasTracker offers an array of additional features, including the ability to count and record traffic based on bytes in/bytes out, while providing an important layer of security by preventing concurrent logons (i.e., denying access to a second client trying to log on with a user that is already connected).

RasTracker logs all connection and disconnection activities, providing a history of RAS use within the system (e.g., how often an account has been logging on, the total log on time, the total amount of data uploaded or downloaded, call back numbers used). Captured usage information and session history can be exported to an ODBC-compliant database, enabling the network administrator to create custom reports.

NORTHERN Parklife, Inc.
Tampa, FL
(800) 881-4950
Price: Starts at $495

If you need a VPN, you might consider InfoExpress' VTCP/Secure, which our readers chose as the Best VPN. InfoExpress' software-based VTCP/Secure is a remote VPN/extranet solution for large enterprises.

The software extends the security protection of a corporate network to remote users over safe Internet connections. VTCP/Secure offers a feature to transparently traverse corporate firewalls, proxy servers, and NAT devices to create a secure tunnel between the remote user's system and the corporate network.

The software requires no end-user client configuration and it can be deployed easily to tens of thousands of users. All data transmission is protected via encryption, authentication, and authorization. VTCP/Secure has been adopted by many Fortune 500 enterprises since its original release in 1996.

InfoExpress, Inc.
Mountain View, CA
(650) 623-0260
Price: Client pricing starts at $99 per seat; server pricing is $2,495 each.

The winner in the category Best Wireless Application Protocol Solutions is Network Instruments' Wireless Observer Suite, a cost-effective, Windows-based network monitor and protocol analyzer that integrates multiple networking technologies for Ethernet (10/100/gigabit), Token Ring (4/16/100), FDDI, and Wireless 802.11.

Observer Suite provides complete network analysis, distributed architecture, SNMP, RMON, and Web access for all LANs, WLANs, and WANs and monitors the local segment/switch and any remote segment or switch.

Wireless support is seamlessly integrated into Observer Suite, including complete wireless capture/decode, statistics, trending, and expert analysis. In addition, Observer offers many other Wireless features not available with competing products: Wireless Trending, Wireless Access Point Statistics, and Wireless Network Vital Signs.

Network Instruments, LLC
Minneapolis, MN
(952) 932-9899, (800) 526-7919
Price: $3,995
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