Do you need to install a centralized Remote Access Service (RAS) on your network, but you're not sure how to manage it? Do you receive complaints from remote users about busy dial-in lines, but you don't have a way to monitor usage on those lines? Remote Access Manager, from Virtual Motion, can help.
Remote Access Manager contains a comprehensive set of management and monitoring programs that supplement Windows NT's native RAS on your server. RAS controls low-level services, and Remote Access Manager acts as middleware between RAS and your network. The software provides configuration, control, and monitoring options so you can better manage your RAS environment.
Installation and Configuration
To install Remote Access Manager, I inserted the software's CD-ROM, which automatically launched the setup program. I answered the typical questions (e.g., where I wanted the software installed, what my license key was, which components I wanted to install). The installation proceeded smoothly.
After the installation completed, I rebooted my server so the installed software could run. I used the Administrator program to configure access to each of my RAS ports and restrict access to specific users. The configuration options I installed worked flawlessly, including the one in which I limited myself to 1 hour of connection time per day.
The Administrator Program
Systems administrators will appreciate Remote Access Manager's Administrator program. The software performs all administration activities through this program, which uses an Explorer-like interface for easy navigation. Like the Explorer interface, the Administrator program window is divided in half. The left side of the window contains a list of configurable parameters; the right side of the window contains specifics about the parameter you select. Screen 1 shows the Administrator program window.
You can implement two types of security configurations when you use Remote Access Manager: port restrictions and time restrictions. Port restrictions let you limit user and group access to RAS ports so that only authorized users can access high-speed or high-cost RAS ports. Time restrictions let you restrict system access to a specific time of day. For example, a typical user can connect to the system only between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Security precautions are useless if you can't monitor system use. Remote Access Manager lets you monitor your system. With the software, you can log RAS sessions into a flat-file ASCII log file, or create an Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) data source and log the data to a centralized database. You can use this data to generate billing invoices for computer usage and to monitor port utilization.
If you're concerned about peak usage, you can use Remote Access Manager's extensive port-management features to limit users' connection time. For example, you might give one user 1 hour of connection time per day and another user a maximum of 5 hours of connection time per week.
Remote Access Manager lets you monitor configured RAS ports and take actions depending on defined events. For example, if a user exceeds the amount of logon time allotted, you can automatically disconnect that user from your network. You can also disconnect a user who is logged on for more than 2 hours, regardless of the amount of time that person is allotted per day or per week. You might want to implement this type of action in a dial-in environment in which users call in to query a central database and don't need to connect to the system for more than a few minutes. In a dial-in environment, you can also establish an inactivity timer, which logs users off automatically if they're idle longer than a set period of time. These actions help keep dial-in ports available for other users.
Saves Time and Administrative Effort
The Remote Access Manager is available in a variety of configurations. You can download a full-featured trial version of the software from Virtual Motion's Web site. Given the amount of time and administrative effort the software can save you, Remote Access Manager is more than worth the low price.
—Michael P. Deignan
|Remote Access Manager|
Contact: Virtual Motion * 415-778-0100|
Price: $395 for the 8-port version
System Requirements: Windows NT Server 4.0, Remote Access Service, Modem