Bases close, but access grows
Four years and 3,790 users ago, remote e-mail access was a rarity at the Naval Air
Warfare Center Aircraft Division.
Only 10 flag officers, captains and other top managers at Patuxent River, Md., could
dial in to one of four ports on a single LanRover E/Plus server using ShivaRemote Dial-in
Client 1.1 from Shiva Corp. of Bedford, Mass.
Six months ago, word had spread and demand increased.
"NAWCAD had six naval bases. Two have been closed down, and a third is getting
ready to," said Greg Manahan, network operating system and e-mail team leader for all
six sites. "We had 6,000 employees lose their jobs or get switched to another
Then headquarters decided to shut down its remote capabilities, Manahan said. Those
users-numbering 600 to 800-then dialed in to the Information Management Division.
Users wanted not only remote e-mail, they wanted remote access to desktop applications,
LAN file servers and the Internet. In short, they wanted everything they had on their
desktops wherever they happened to be.
An upgrade took the system to four multiprotocol LanRover E/Plus servers, each with
four v.34 modems transmitting at 28.8 kilobits/sec.
User computers were about evenly divided between PCs and Apple Macintoshes, said Ken
Chrismond, IMD network manager at Patuxent River.
PC users dialed in using Shiva Remote Dial-in Client 3.5 or 4.02 via an 800 telephone
number. The OnNet 2.0 TCP/IP suite from FTP Software Inc. of Andover Mass., delivered
Internet services. The client e-mail software was Microsoft Mail 3.2.
Mac users dialed in using Apple Remote Access 2.0. Connect II TCP/IP suite from
InterCon Systems Corp. of Herndon, Va., delivered Internet services. The client e-mail
software was Digital Equipment Corp.'s TeamLinks 2.5.
Four months ago, the remote access project opened to NAWCAD bases in Lake Hearst and
Trenton, N.J., and St. Indigo, Md.
"At Lake Hearst alone we have a potential for thousands of users," Manahan
Today, NAWCAD's Information Management Department tends 12 multiprotocol LanRover
E/Plus servers, 16 dial-in ports, 64 dial-in lines and 16 dial-out lines. Eight servers
are at Patuxent River, four are at Lake Hearst. The old servers had four ports and four
modems each; the new servers have twice that.
NAWCAD approved last year's IMD proposal to use Pentium notebooks running Microsoft
Windows 95. As a result, the PC-to-Mac ratio now is 70-to-30. When new computers are
added, they're invariably PCs, Chrismond said.
Win95 users use Win95 dial-up networking, and PC users now use ShivaRemote Dial-in
Client 4.52 to dial in via the 800 telephone number. OnNet 32 TCP/IP suite delivers
Internet services and gives users Telnet and File Transfer Protocol services. Client
e-mail software is Microsoft Mail 3.5.
Mac clients use ARA 2.x and TCP/IP Connect II to dial in and Digital's TeamLinks Mail
for the Macintosh for e-mail.
IMD now supplies remote access to 3,800 users, a number that's still growing by about
200 users a month, Chrismond said. "More people are traveling between bases, and more
people are taking advantage of what we can offer."
What IMD offers includes full network access, e-mail and dial-out access.
Users can attach to one of the 16 ports and function as though they had modems on their
desktops, Chrismond said. They can connect to bulletin board services without tying up
phone lines. They also get remote access to their local hard
drives, other networks and the Internet.
"We're looking at Shiva and at Ascend [Communications Inc. of Alameda, Calif.] for
dial-in servers and ISDN capability," Manahan said.
The ShivaAccess server is a pass-through device, Chrismond said, "that acts like a
router switch. A call comes in, identifies the platform, the speed it's coming in, the
protocol, the type of communication. Then it basically talks the same language to the
modem so the modem can communicate with the device." The caller uses the modem to
contact the server, which connects to the LAN.
NAWCAD staff wrote its own install document for users. The menu-driven, graphical user
interface software is so simple, there's no training needed, Chrismond said.