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Remote Control Software Essay, Research Paper
Remote Control Software Used in a Local Area Network
A Project Submitted to Fulfill the Requirements of CIS 5376 LAN I
At Tarleton State University System Center ? Central Texas
Remote control software packages consist of tools for network administrators, helpdesk support personnel and end users. These packages let one PC (guest) connect to and remotely control another PC (host). Remote control software installs on both guest and host PCs. Guests can remotely control a host’s desktop, run programs, transfer files and redirect printing.
For helpdesk staffers, we evaluated the robustness of the remote control features and the ability to chat with end users. For network administrators, who use remote control software to connect with NT servers and to troubleshoot problems without visiting the server room, we paid particularly close attention to security features.
We compared CrossTec Corp.’s NetOp Remote Control, Funk Software’s Proxy 3.02, LapLink.com’s LapLink 2000, Stac Software’s ReachOut Enterprise 8.42, Symantec Corp.’s pcAnywhere and Netopia?s Timbuktu Pro 32. Our choice for the best remote control software went to NetOp for its ease of installation and full-featured configuration tools. Although the other products were also easy to install and configure, NetOp?s configuration wizards facilitated communication links, provided minimum levels of security, and established full-featured remote control sessions with a double click of the mouse. In addition, NetOp provided the most control over hosts and guests in a networked environment. pcAnywhere with LapLink provided the highest number of communication links between two PCs ranging from direct ports to Internet. LapLink 2000 won top honors in file transfer and NetOp edged out the competition in transferring screen displays and keyboard/ mouse controls. Funk’s Proxy had the best network installation routine.
Table of Contents
Executive Summary 2
Table of Contents 3
Problem Statement 4
Selection of Vendors 6
Characteristics to Be Compared 6
Cross Tec Corp?s ?NetOp for Windows? version 6.5 8
Funk Software?s ?Proxy? version 3.02 12
Laplink.com?s ?Laplink 2000? 16
Stac Software?s ?ReachOut Enterprise? version 8.42 18
Symantec?s ?PcAnywhere? version 10 21
Timbuktu Pro Enterprise 2.1.2 24
Final Results 29
The Problems 29
Table 2 Software Characteristics 31
Remote Control Software Used in a Local Area Network
Remote control software can solve many of the problems that an administrator or user can encounter on a local area network. Using a remote-control program, one can access a PC remotely to exchange files between systems, run applications, take control of a client PC or server in order to troubleshoot a problem, and much more.
Remote-control software is an application that you install on two PCs that permits one system (the guest) to connect with and control another (the host). Once you’re connected, you can do just about anything as if you were sitting at the host PC. In addition, remote-control software lets you transfer files between PCs faster and more efficiently. The latest remote-control programs support a myriad of connection types including Internet connections, which are becoming increasingly important. The key advantage to Internet connections is that they let mobile users connect to a PC or server anywhere on the globe via an inexpensive local telephone call. So no matter where you are, you can always stay in touch.
This paper is an effort to shed some light on six of the remote control software programs that are on the market today. We do not intend to be an expert source of information on remote control software. The goal is to present the information in a useful manner. Furthermore, it will attempt to address questions inherent to the capabilities of the software. For with the capabilities that this software possess comes a myriad of ethical and professional dilemmas.
Our problem was to find six of the leading remote control software brands and discover as much as we could about their capabilities and limitations. We intended to compare the software and indicate which one we believed to be the best. A specific area of interest was with the problems that might arise from the capability to monitor workers activities and any features that the software may have to discourage clandestine activities.
? Find six of the leading remote control software packages
? Research the literature to find and present as much as possible about each software packages limitations and strengths.
? Compare the software packages and make an arbitrary decision as to which is the most capable.
? Identify and present the problems that may arise from having the capability to monitor workstation activities anywhere on the net.
Most users associate remote-control software with telecommuting or day extending. Telecommuters typically use remote-control software to connect to an office PC over an analog phone line to exchange files and access productivity applications.
However, there are many other uses for remote-control technology. For example, in a corporate setting, a help desk administrator can take over a client PC and show a worker how to accomplish a task or fix a problem. Network administrators use remote-control software to connect with a server or a workstation and troubleshoot a problem without making the long trek to the server room or the workstation?s location. . Furthermore, many major computer vendors put remote-control software on their PCs so that they can provide customer support remotely. The project?s intent was to take all of these applications into account. In fact, during the research conducted, the authors determined that there are four basic roles of remote-control software.
The Four Roles of Remote-Control Software
Corporate Help Desk
Remote-control software lets help-desk administrators troubleshoot problems without having to run throughout the building. Help-desk administrators look for strong remote-control performance–plus features such as tools for pushing the host software down to client PCs for easy installation, and the ability to launch the host module remotely.
By using remote-control software, system administrators no longer need to be chained to their desks. A system administrator can monitor servers and correct problems at any time of the day from any location. One of the key features is the ability to monitor multiple hosts.
Connecting over the Internet or dialing in to a company network, a telecommuter can take over a host system (usually, a desktop PC), as though sitting at a desk. Key features for these users include easy modem configuration, fast file transfers, wizards for scheduling unattended synchronization routines, and printer redirection.
Many PC vendors such as Compaq and IBM bundle remote-control software with their products. If a customer encounters a problem, a support technician can take over the system and resolve the problem without having to ship the PC back and forth. Key features for these users include voice chat over data.
All of the methods utilized in this research were arbitrary in nature. Furthermore, the authors tested none of the software. In a few cases, we made comparisons between software capabilities using the conclusions of third party research findings. The authors site any cases where comparisons come from outside sources.
Selection of Vendors
Selection of the vendor for evaluation was an arbitrary decision. We made the decision based on the authors? knowledge of the vendor or the availability of information about the software.
The six vendors that we chose to compare were:
1. Cross Tec Corp?s ?NetOp for Windows? version 6.5
2. Funk Software?s ?Proxy? version 3.02
3. Laplink.com?s ?Laplink 2000?
4. Stac Software?s ?ReachOutEnterprise? version 8.42
5. Symantec?s ?PcAnywhere? version 10
6. Netopia?s ?Timbuktu Pro 32?
Characteristics to Be Compared
Three of the characteristics included in our comparisons, ?Platforms and Protocols Supported?, ?Use as a Diagnostic Tool?, and ?Security? came from the requirements of the project. We selected the rest based on the authors? perceptions of what the important areas for this type of software should be.
1. Platforms and Protocols Supported – Network systems and protocols that the software supports.
2. Installation and Resources Required – The installation of the program has to be simple and do most of the work for the installer. When similar operating systems are involved (Windows 9x, Windows NT), having the same installation procedure is a plus.
We included the disk space and RAM space needed by the software in this characteristic.
3. Use as Diagnostic Tool- What capabilities does the software have to diagnose a user problem
4. Interoperability – Interoperability is the easiness and performance of normal remote work, considering work between versions of different operating systems, differences in video configuration and remote configuration options.
5. Security – Features that the software has to discourage clandestine activities. These features include:
a. User abilities to change the software?s configuration.
b. Ability of the software to prevent guests or unauthorized persons from connecting with client machines.
c. Does the software have the capabilities of providing user profiles that limit access to other users?
d. Are there encryption methods used by the software?
6. Services – Services provided by the software that we considered were the capabilities to:
a. Send messages
b. Exchange files
c. Control the desktop
d. Observe the desktop
e. Notify if a user is in front of the screen
g. Telephone communication
h. Clipboard transfer
i. Remote Alt commands (Alt+F4, Alt+Tab..)
7. Cost ? We included two costs in our evaluation. The first was the cost of the software out of the box. The software comes with a two seat license. Then we totaled the costs of adding 1000 host and 10 guest seats.
We obtained the information about the capabilities of the software from either the vendor or a reputable on-line source. We provided a reference when we obtained information from a source other than the vendor.
Cross Tec Corp?s ?NetOp for Windows? version 6.5
Platforms and protocols supported
NetOp Remote Control enables authorized personnel to remotely control multiple Windows 3.x, 95/98, NT, machines via modems, networks or over the Internet. OS/2 and DOS versions of this application are also available.
Transfer protocols include:
? TCP/IP with enhanced TCP/IP configuration (TCP). for faster and better support of remote control across firewalls
? Infrared (IrDA)
? Network: TCP/IP (UDP), IPX and NetBIOS
Installation and resources required
NetOp provides for a bipartite installation: one for guest and one for host. The installation wizard does not prompt for either, and separate licenses distinguish guests and hosts. According to Doherty 2000, NetOp installs a Readme file containing a list of all files installed. NetOp Deployment Utility design facilitates the large-scale deployment of NetOp modules. From a computer running Windows NT or Windows 2000 you can configure and install NetOp programs on targeted remote computers. NetOp can install onto networked Windows 2000 and NT PCs that do not already have NetOp modules installed. Alternatively, install onto PCs running Windows 2000, NT, 98 and 95 if a NetOp v6.0 Host is running.
NetOp will install 4.1 MB into the host, the main program executes into 544-KB memory. The guest loads 840 KB into memory, using approximately 14.2 MB of disk space. A guest has a configurable cache setting that allows one cache for all hosts or separate caches with limits available from 200 KB to 64,000 KB.
Use as Diagnostic Tool
NetOp?s Request Help feature allows troubled users to report problems to the help desk with the click of NetOp’s SOS button. NetOp’s advanced Request Help feature permits any user to request help from available help services. NetOp transmits Requests for help and instantaneously lists them on the screen of available help providers. From the list, a help provider is only a click away from the troubled user’s screen, keyboard and mouse.
Additional help features include:
? Easy to use tab shows all incoming Help Requests from Hosts.
? Host can pre-define Help Request text and which NetOp Guest Help Provider should receive it.
? Host can define alternate protocol to be used when sending help requests.
? Host can define help request time-out
? Request help icon can be added to the tray, also when Host runs in stealth mode.
? The feature plays a .wav sound on the Guest when a help-request arrives. By substituting this .wav file, the user can decide which sound to play.
NetOp features that aid in diagnosing user problems include:
? View Host screen windowed or in full screen regardless of screen resolution or color depth
? Control keyboard and mouse on the Host or watch remote user use keyboard and mouse. You can lock out host control.
? To obtain even higher speed, the Guest has the capability to disable Windows 2000 “gimmicks” during remote control.
? Moving the mouse towards the edge of the window will scroll the window if the Host screen is larger than the Guest window.
? Applications running on the Host PC can print to the Guest?s printers, and vice versa
NetOp is able to use this to enable audio chats between guests and hosts. You also can record and play back remote control sessions. This feature may come in handy for computer instruction or highly secure sites that require detailed remote transactions. However, it slows the connection considerably.
NetOp’s File Manager includes a scripting utility designed to automate transfers. Scripts can transfer, synchronize and perform other operations without intervention. NetOp scripting also includes an ActiveX Control: NFMScrpt.ocx. This tool installs to the Windows system32 directory and incorporates the use of any programming tool called by a guest that supports ActiveX automation.
The Guest toolbar can:
? Send Ctrl-Esc to the Host, Restart Host PC, Blank display on Host, Lock keyboard/mouse on Host
? Zoom Host window to full screen
? Send Ctrl+Alt+Del
? Send/Receive Microsoft clipboard contents
? Be used in Marker mode to
o Draw on remote screen to highlight areas of interest, e.g. during a support or training session in many different styles, color and line sizes similar to MS Paint
o Undo and Clear command available
The NetOp Gateway is a multi-protocol software router for NetOp traffic. The Gateway server software is ideal for organizations, which do not have separate phone lines for each networked PC. The Gateway module ensures flexible and trouble-free cross-protocol communication?with full support for multiple bi-directional links. With NetOp for Windows v6.5 you can reach any Windows 2000, NT, 95, 98, 3.1X, OS/2 (1.3, 2.x, 3.0, 4.0 incl. Warp) or DOS PC from the comfort of your own desktop. View the remote PCs screen, control its keyboard and mouse, and transfer files back and forth. You do all of this across your Network, modem or the Internet.
NetOp offers the speed you need to remote control your Windows PCs and users. NetOp interacts with the operating system using as few resources as possible. Optional compression level settings assure excellent performance, even across slower WAN or dial up links. In the 1999 Computer Reseller News review of remote control software, NetOp won in both the Modem and Network remote control speed tests. It interacts with more IPX routers (including NT servers) to obtain lists of networks.
NetOp also offers the highest level of security. In addition to traditional security features such as password protection, view only feature, user notification and callback security, NetOp offers extensive logging of remote control activity and bulletproof security using the integrated Windows Security. NetOp guests either have a default set of access privileges or users receive individual privileges–a useful feature. Individual privileges required us to set up user accounts and passwords for each guest. NetOp cannot use NT Domain or local host information. For those looking to centralize remote control security and authentication, NetOp can make use of a database to administer security for both guests and hosts. Although this eliminates the need to manage security on each PC and reduces security risks associated with remote control, it adds another layer of administration for the enterprise.
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