In Part 3 of this series (
Preparing the Network Card and Terminal Server Client
), I explained how to download all the components necessary for converting your PDA (personal digital assistant) into a wireless network management device. Now, it’s time to make all of those components work together.
Preparing the Network Connection
As I mentioned in Part 3, your PDA must be configured to run TCP/IP before your terminal server client will work. Therefore, the first thing that you must do is to prepare your network connection. To do so, follow these steps:
- Insert the network card into the PCMCIA slot and turn on your PDA.
- When the device comes online, open the Control Panel and double-click on the Network icon to open the Network Configuration properties sheet.
- The default tab is the Adapters tab, which lists the network cards for which the device has drivers. Select the 3Com Air Connect Wireless LAN PC Card driver from the list and click the Properties button. The wireless network card’s properties sheet will open.
The property sheet’s default tab provides you with a place for entering an IP address. You can either have your PDA obtain an IP address from a DHCP server or you can enter the IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway manually. In my particular environment, I chose to manually enter an IP address, because I had trouble getting DHCP to work correctly.
- When you’ve entered the IP address, switch to the Name Servers tab and enter the IP address of your WINS and/or DNS servers.
- Click OK to close the network card’s properties sheet. When you do, you’ll see a message indicating that the changes you’ve made won’t take effect until you remove and reinsert the network card.
- You’ll be returned to the Network Configuration properties sheet. Select the Identification tab and enter a user name, password, and domain name. (Entering these credentials prevents you from having to enter the information using that tiny keyboard every time you log in. If you’re concerned about security, you can configure your handheld PC to require a power-on password.) Click OK to close the Network Configuration properties sheet.
The final step in connecting your PDA to your network is to enter a computer name. To do so, return to the Control Panel and double-click on the Communications icon. When you do, you’ll see the Device Name tab of the Communications Properties sheet. Enter a name for the device in the Device Name field. As with a PC, you can also enter an optional device description. When you’re done, click OK to close the properties sheet.
Testing the Connection
Now, it’s time to test your network connection. Remember that Windows CE is a primitive operating systemit won’t be blatantly obvious that you’re connected to the network. In fact, there isn’t even a Network Neighborhood icon. To test your network connection, double-click on the Internet Explorer icon. When Internet Explorer starts, try connecting to a server on your network by entering a UNC in the Address bar. For example, I have a server called TAZ that has a share point called C. Therefore, I entered “TAZC”. Upon doing so, Windows CE displays the contents of the share point, thereby validating your network connection. When you’re sure that your network connection is working, it’s time to configure the terminal server client.
Configuring the Client
In Part 3, I had you download the terminal server client and run the PC portion of the setup. By doing so, you copied all the necessary files to your PDA. If you look at your PDA’s Start menu, under Programs, you’ll see a menu called Terminal Server Client. Beneath this menu, select the option for Client Connection Wizard.
When the wizard begins, you’ll be asked to enter a description for the connection and the name of the terminal server. I usually simply enter the server name in the description field. Because I manage multiple servers with my handheld PC, this description makes it easy to connect to any of them. I should also mention that in the past, I’ve occasionally had trouble entering an actual server name in the Server Name field. Sometimes Windows CE simply fails to locate the server by name. However, I’ve discovered that if I enter an IP address instead, I can get around this problem.
Once you’ve entered the appropriate information, click Next. The next screen gives you the opportunity to log on automatically by entering a user name, password, and a domain name. Of course, this screen is optional; you can bypass it by clicking Next. If you decide to fill it out, click Next after doing so. The final screen in the wizard informs you that under normal circumstances, the terminal server client displays the Windows NT (or, in this case, 2000) desktop upon connection. However, it gives you the option of running a remote application instead of displaying the desktop. Because you’re configuring this connection for administrative purposes, you’ll need to be able to access the server’s desktop. To do so, select the Display Desktop icon and click Finish.
At this point, an icon will appear on the desktop with the name of the server you’ve chosen (the icon name is the same as the description that you entered). As you can see in Figure 1, it’s now possible to run a Windows 2000 Server (or Advanced Server) session on your PDA. In Figure 2, you can see that although the display is a bit cluttered because of the size and resolution difference between the PDA and the actual server, you can access all the Windows 2000 menu options including the Administrative Tools. You’re now free to remotely manage your server.
Figure 2: All the usual Administrative Tools are available to you.
When you’re done using the terminal session, you can disconnect from the server by using the Shut Down command on the Start menu. After selecting this command, be sure to use the Log Off option rather than the Shut Down option. The Log Off option will return you to the Windows CE desktop. However, the Shut Down option will remotely shut down your server regardless of whether anyone else is connected. //
Brien M. Posey is an MCSE who works as a freelance writer. His past experience includes working as the director of information systems for a national chain of health care facilities and as a network engineer for the Department of Defense. Because of the extremely high volume of e-mail that Brien receives, it’s impossible for him to respond to every message, although he does read them all.