Survive the pitfalls of e-mail installation

All I wanted to do was change a password. 

 But changing the administrator's password under Windows NT Server 4.0 in the GCN Lab
triggered a nightmare in Exchange Server 4.0. None of Exchange's services would start, and
e-mail was down. In today's office, that's a crisis. 

 It all started last year, when the GCN Lab installed Exchange Server to connect to
the Internet and establish e-mail internally and in the cyberspace world beyond. 

 Before our technology refresh project [GCN, Oct. 9, 1996, Page 25], lab
e-mail had gone by modem over a dedicated line. It was fast and cutting-edge a few years
ago, but not anymore. 

 As the Internet and the World Wide Web exploded, so did our access needs. We had to
have more bandwidth. The choices narrowed down to Integrated Services Digital Network or
frame relay. 

 ISDN's 128-kilobit/sec speed was enticing. Its cost was not. 

 ISDN comes in a couple of flavors but is best known for the basic-rate interface, or
BRI, with three separate channels. Two bearer or B channels supply 64 kilobits/sec each
for data or voice. You can bond these two channels into one 128-kilobit/sec pipeline and
get four times more bandwidth than with a 28.8-kilobit/sec modem. 

 The ISDN delta or D channel carries control signals at 16 kilobits/sec. 

 Although ISDN has become more common, most local providers, like ours, bill a
per-minute charge with a monthly fee. Some providers are experimenting with flat fees, but
they place a time limit on use. 

We wanted the Internet available on our network at all times because we plan to have Web
servers live on the Net. That made the cost of ISDN almost prohibitive. Even if the charge
were only a penny a minute, it would add up to $5,256 a year plus monthly charges. 
 


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