Remote Access Service (RAS Server)

Source: Wikipedia: Remote Access Service

Remote Access Service

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Remote Access Services (RAS) refers to any combination of hardware and software to enable the remote access tools or information that typically reside on a network of IT devices. A RAS server is a specialized computer which aggregates multiple communication channels together. Because these channels are bidirectional, two models emerge: Multiple entities connecting to a single resource, and a single entity connecting to multiple resources. Both of these models are widely used. Both physical and virtual resources can be provided through a RAS server: centralized computing can provide multiple users access to a remote virtual operating system. Access Providers often use RAS servers to terminate physical connections to their customers, for example customers who get Internet through some form of modem.

Originally coined by Microsoft when referring to their built-in NT remote access tools, RAS was a service provided by Windows NT which allows most of the services which would be available on a network to be accessed over a modem link. The service includes support for dialup and logon, presents the same network interface as the normal network drivers (albeit slightly slower). It is not necessary to run Windows NT on the client - there are client versions for other Windows operating systems.

A feature built into Windows NT enables users to log into an NT-based LAN using a modem, X.25 connection or WAN link. RAS works with several major network protocols, including TCP/IP, IPX, and NBF.

To use RAS from a remote node, you need a RAS client program, which is built into most versions of Windows, or any PPP client software. For example, most remote control programs work with RAS.

Starting in the mid-1990s, several manufacturers such as U.S. Robotics produced "modem terminal servers". Instead of having RS-232 ports, these would directly incorporate an analog modem. These devices were commonly used by Internet service providers to allow consumer dial-up. Modern versions interface to an ISDN PRI instead of having analog modem ports.

Over the years, many vendors have provided both hardware and software solutions to gain remote access to various types of networked information. In fact, most modern routers include a basic RAS capability that can be enabled for any dial-up interface.
[edit] See also

Dial-up connectivity, not based on centralized control and least preferred from a security and control standpoint, is an organization's server whose operating system is setup to accept remote access, which is referred to as a remote access server (RAS). This is a very difficult method to control from an auditing perspective.

This article was originally based on material from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, which is licensed under the GFDL. This article has some additional material from Webopedia
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Categories: Windows communication and services | Modems
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