Q

Can I use Terminal Services over a dial-up connection?

Expert Christa Anderson tells a reader what his options are when using Terminal Services with AOL.

I am investigating just how bad using Terminal Services over dial-up may/can be. I have a TS running on a Windows Server 2003 box behind a Cisco 1841 RTR. Using the VPN client, I can connect at will across LAN and broadband. I have seen Citrix connect over a dial-up connection (Earthlink).

I am trying not to pay for additional setup if I only have a few remote spots stuck on dialup, so I am trying to get TS to work over AOL. I can build the VPN tunnel very quickly, but am completely unable to get RDP to access the server (of note I also cannot get into the host router and/or find any of the devices on the host network).

Does AOL have an inherent firewall that I can disable? My client box is Win2K SP4, however I'm thinking that this will be a problem for XP boxes as well if it is an AOL issue. Thanks for any help or advice you can give, even if it is go out and buy a Citrix server and some clients!

I haven't touched AOL since they introduced the service in the early 90s, so I checked with an IT consultant friend of mine who's got some clients who use it -- although not with Terminal Services. Their suggestion is to connect using AOL's dial-up, provide the credentials, and then connect outside the AOL connection. If that does not work, then we're stumped. Any chance you could use another 'net provider? As in your example, I've used Earthlink for this successfully. It's slower than broadband, obviously, but if you throttle the color depth and disable bandwidth-intensive capabilities such as drive and printer mapping then it's usable.

This was first published in January 2006

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