Full-featured telnet/terminal server for Windows NT

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jun 5, 2002


Telnet has been around longer than the World Wide Web and the Internet, yet it's usually ignored in wider discussions of low-impact connectivity. That's too bad, since telnet is a great way of connecting PCs and servers in low-bandwidth situations, allowing for remote administration from any Internet connection using a telnet client.

InterAccess TelnetD Server for Windows NT is a full-featured telnet server from Pragma Systems that builds on the basic set of telnet server capabilities with many Windows NT and (interestingly enough) UNIX features. With its power and extensive set of features, InterAccess should meet all of your expectations for a telnet server, especially if you are a company or organization that needs remote-administration capabilities for Internet server applications that don't support secure remote browser-based administration. And since InterAccess TelnetD Server runs on both Windows NT Workstation and Server editions, any user's workstation can easily be turned into a telnet server. That's too bad, since telnet is a great way of connecting PCs and servers in low-bandwidth situations, allowing for remote administration from any Internet connection using a telnet client.

While there's no UNIX version available, UNIX sysadmins should feel at ease when implementing InterAccess TelnetD Server on a Windows NT box. Structurally, the InterAccess TelnetD Server uses a UNIX model of dividing tasks into two daemons: an InetD daemon and a TelnetD server that acts as a telnet daemon. Anyone with UNIX or Linux networking experience will recognize an InetD daemon as controlling network functionality, and in the case of InterAccess TelnetD Server the InetD daemon launches applications for remote users connecting to specific ports. The TelnetD daemon is a straight telnet daemon that supports multiple users. We installed both daemons on a Windows NT Server 4.0 box and had few difficulties in setting up applications to be administered by the InetD daemon and users to be managed by TelnetD.

Administration of InterAccess TelnetD Server is made easier by two graphical management applications: a Telnet Server Manager that manages remote telnet services and an InterAccess Manager that manages programs started by InetD. You use the native security functions in Windows NT for user authentication and logon access controls.

InterAccess TelnetD Server includes the following features:

7 Starts any NT programs or services when a client connects to a given TCP or UDP socket
7 Passes parameters to started programs via NT registry
7 Reduces system load by only starting programs when they are needed
7 Provides easy configuration via InterAccess Manager
7 Limits connections by IP Address via IP Filtering

One final issue merits additional attention -- the list price of $399 per server (which is discounted when quantity purchases are made) may seem to be a bit on the steep side, but InterAccess does compete well with other remote-access packages in the marketplace in terms of features and performance. While there are other less-expensive telnet servers on the market, the real competition for this product isn't other telnet servers, but rather remote-access packages and terminal-based operating systems like WinFrame from Citrix.

Telnet is a rather efficient solution for adding low-bandwidth remote access for your users. With InterAccess TelnetD Server you can easily add a full-featured telnet server to any machine running Windows NT with very little fuss. If you're considering implementing a telnet server in your organization, InterAccess should be the first server evaluated.

Pros: Easy to install and configure, provides low-bandwidth connectivity to remote users, works well with Windows NT conventions

Cons: List price may be a bit on the steep side, no UNIX/Mac/Windows 9x versions available

New: Telnet clients (Console telnet client and Java client), InetD enhancements, client side printing, graceful application termination, consoler wrapper (v2.0), v4.0 Release Notes

New in Build 4: Improved security (the ability to specify NT Server groups for access to telnet), better WYSE-50 support (full-console mode now available), performance enhancements; Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in Build 6: New screen scraper routine, PacketSize option, console telnet client heartbeat option, server heartbeat option, bug fixes; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 4

New in Builds 7 and 8: Denial of service vulnerability issue fixed (Build 8); session limit is no longer reached early because of resource limits (Build 7); InterAccess Manager leaves orphan users in user list (Build 7); conflict between Server Heartbeat with Unix clients has been resolved (Build 7); Server Heartbeat and IdleSessionTimeout may now be used simultaneously (Build 7); IAC EC handled correctly; backspace in Stream Mode will not erase characters in prompt (Build 7); Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

Version Reviewed: 4.0 Build 8
Reviewed by: Kevin Reichard
Last Updated: 7/20/00
Date of Original Review: 8/18/98


Operating Systems / Latest Versions:

Windows NT: Intel, Alpha - v4.0 Build 6


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