Isp Equipment

Written by Clive Swanepoel
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The remote access server, or RAS, is arguably one of the most important pieces of ISP equipment. It is the key that enables remote users to gain access to the ISP's network quickly, reliably and securely. Users are able to connect from any outside location such as a hotel room or home office, via dial-up, cable, or ISDN telephone lines.

ISP Equipment Overview

The remote access server is usually a dedicated piece of equipment that is able to handle a number of simultaneous connections from a variety of telephone systems. It will authenticate the connections, against the network user database, before allowing them access. In order to avoid user frustration, the RAS must be able to function quickly and reliably and with very few dropped connections.

ISP Equipment Must Be Scalable

To ensure service availability, manufacturers of ISP equipment recommend that remote access servers should have one port for every eight users. Anticipating typical network expansion, ISP equipment should be modular, compact and easily scalable. There should be ports to handle both digital and analog connections. Firewall software is generally included as part of the RAS security package.

Familiar network tools are used to manage the RAS. In addition, comprehensive real-time reporting systems gather data about connections such as start times, duration and dropped connections, which enable administrators to quickly locate and fix problems. Patton, one of the major suppliers of ISP equipment, has designed their remote access servers to minimize downtime. They include dual redundant power supplies as a standard feature, and their ventilated cabinets have no fans or other moving parts.

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