NetOp 6.0: Beefed Up Remote Control
Version 6.0 of NetOp Remote Control from CrossTec Corp. is a remote control software application that resembles tools such as pcAnywhere 32 from Symantec Corp. (www.symantec.com) and Remotely Possible from Raxco Software Inc. (www.raxco.com). But in terms of a feature-for-feature comparison with pcAnywhere 32 or Remotely Possible, NetOp 6.0 shines as a remote control suite par excellence.
NetOp 6.0 offers a dizzying array of features, including the ability to remotely control a host machine, transfer files to and from a host machine, chat with a person at another host PC and talk to someone using a host system.
We installed NetOp 6.0 on a three-machine Windows NT network that consisted of a Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition, domain controller updated with Service Pack 4 (SP4) and two Windows NT 4.0 Workstation clients updated with SP 5. In addition, we used a laptop running Windows 95 to test the performance of NetOp 6.0 over a dial-up connection.
In the NetOp environment, a host is a machine that serves as a platform for remote usage from a guest client. NetOp Gateways provide bidirectional communication from either hosts-to-guests or guests-to-hosts over a variety of different protocols, including TCP/IP, NetBIOS and IPX as well as standard serial and the TAPI standard for Windows modems.
Because we were using a maximum of three client computers, only one of which would be operating on a remote basis, we installed only one NetOp Gateway.
We next installed the NetOp guest client software on one of the Windows NT Workstation clients and our Windows 95 laptop. Finally, we installed the NetOp host software on the Windows NT workstation on which we perform most mission critical tasks.
NetOp 6.0 also includes a Logging Server module and an Access Server portion that provide centralized control of NetOp’s security settings by storing security information about NetOp guests and hosts in a resident database. The Logging Server and Access Server modules are powerful tools, but given our small test environment, we opted to not install them.
Using NetOp 6.0
Connecting to a remote host machine is simple in the NetOp environment. Using our network-attached Windows NT workstation, we started the NetOp guest client, selected the NetBIOS communication profile and depressed the Browse command, which scans the network for available NetOp hosts or Gateways and displays the information in a directory-style listing. Connection from a remote laptop or from a computer not physically attached to a network is only slightly more difficult. A user must first select his or her modem device from the NetOp guest communication profile and then enter the telephone number of a NetOp Gateway, which the guest client then dials to begin browsing.
Once connected, users can choose to take advantage of NetOp 6.0’s remote control, file transfer, text chat and talk capabilities.
Using NetOp 6.0 as a remote control platform, we had no difficulty controlling our host system from a workstation attached to the network. And after proper configuration with Windows’ native desktop wallpaper and animated full-window drag and screen saver capabilities disabled, NetOp 6.0 delivered acceptable performance over the limited bandwidth of our Windows 95 laptop’s 33.6 Kbps modem. In both cases, we were able to perform nearly every standard task that came to mind, including rebooting the host machine from a remote location.
Using NetOp 6.0’s file transfer function was easy because the program uses a standard Explorer-style interface. We were able to drag-and-drop a series of files -- ranging from several Kilobytes to several megabytes in size -- to and from the network-bound host and the network-attached guest workstation. As expected, file transfer over 33.6 Kbps dial-up was a more tedious affair.
The chat and talk capabilities distinguish NetOp as a great helpdesk support tool. We used its chat capabilities in a limited capacity, but found them to work flawlessly. We suspect IT environments with helpdesk support problems could really reap the benefit of NetOp’s real-time communications.
We’ve used pcAnywhere 32 as a remote control device for a number of years. NetOp 6.0 is unlike pcAnywhere 32 in many ways, but we expected a similar experience when remotely controlling a system. Instead, the sophistication and scalability of the NetOp 6.0 environment makes a comparison with pcAnywhere 32 untenable. For organizations sensitive to security concerns, integrated NetOp security modules such as its Access Server and Logging Server make it the clear choice for PC remote control in the enterprise. NetOp 6.0 is more robust and faster than its competitors, and offers a much more extensive array of configuration options.
NetOp Remote Control 6.0
Boca Raton, Fla.
$4,140 includes 10 guest licenses, 10 host licenses, one Gateway license, one Access Server license and a single Log Server license
+ Premier platform for RAS remote control and file transfer tasks
+ Powerful and scalable architecture is ideal for enterprise environments
+ Includes integrated security module portions such as Access Server and Log Server
- Complex configuration options may be overwhelming in some environments