Chapter 11



Spry Internet In A Box


Internet In A Box, sometimes called "IBox," is a WinSock connectivity tool from Spry Inc. that is specifically aimed at Internet connections via modem. This focus shows up in its easy installation and the time that Spry spent on the dialer application. This product is related to, but not the same as, Spry's mature AIR Series, a more full-featured WinSock stack with support for local area network-type connections. By producing a new product aimed strictly at the dialup market and trimming out all the LAN support, Spry has done itself (and you) a big favor.

Spry is a Seattle-based company, and I've had the pleasure of working with several people there, including a few on the development team for its WinSock software. I'm pleased to be able to say such nice things about its most recent effort. Spry has done interesting things, especially with its FTP client, and has put some pleasantly unexpected surprises into its dialer application.

All was not rosy right out of the box, however, and it took a bit of work to get my installation of IBox to the place where I could be happy with it. After installing IBox, I discovered that several of the applications that I'm used to using, such as WSArchie, did not work. Several other WinSock applications that I'm used to and comfortable with also ceased to function, but each of these was replaced with an application from Spry that worked fine. In the case of my Archie client, however, I saw no alternatives.

After having no luck getting through to Spry's technical support, I noticed that the automated email acknowledgment mentioned a "patch" that was available for registered owners of IBox. Using Spry's FTP application, I retrieved this patch from Spry's FTP server and followed the instructions for updating my installed copy.

NOTE: The reason that I've mentioned "patch" in the preceding text is that patch sounds small and innocuous, but what I got from Spry was neither. When I think of a patch, I think of those small one-inch squares of rubber that I used to repair my bicycle tires. The patch for IBox is 2.5 MB compressed and is comprised of more than 80 files uncompressed. To continue the analogy, that's more like a replacement tube and tire than the one-inch square patch.

The good news is that the patch/new release solved all the problems that I was having with nonSpry WinSock applications, and added a nice feature in an application that I was already happy with -- the dialer.


Installation and Setup


Internet In A Box is one of the easiest of the WinSock stacks to install that I've seen. To begin with, it uses the standard Windows installation routine. Put the first disk into your floppy disk drive (assuming it's in the a: drive), pull down the File menu in the Program Manager, and select Run. In the dialog box, type a:\setup. This starts the installation program, which asks you what directory to install into. The default c:\ibox is usually a good choice, so click OK and swap disks as prompted (there are only three, so it's a relatively short process).

After all the files are loaded from the installation disks, IBox asks you about your modem type (see figure 11.7). The first step is to select your modem's COM port. The installation manual gives some good advice about determining which port is correct, and the installation program itself tells you if you have chosen a port that's not available (such as your mouse port).

Figure 11.7: Internet In A Box Modem Settings.

I have a fairly common modem type, so I wasn't surprised that it was listed in the pull-down menu, but I scrolled through the other supported modems and found an impressively long list. Select your modem from the list if you can find it; otherwise choose Hayes, the one most likely to be similar to yours.

Next you need to tell IBox how fast your modem is or how fast your computer talks to your modem. If you've purchased the modem in the last few years, it's likely to be 9,600 or 14,400 bps. If you've purchased the modem in the last few months, it may be 28,800 bps.

Now for the tricky part. The speed that your computer speaks to your modem (sometimes called DCE speed) can be different from the speed that your modem talks with other modems (sometimes called DTE speed). The reason for this discrepancy is arcane and best left alone for sanity's sake. The thing to remember is that modems that support compression (most of them) can talk to your computer at speeds greater than the DCE speed. My modem, which is nominally a 28,800 bps modem, talks to the computer at 57,600 bps. Here again, the installation guide has the following good advice for those that must punt: choose 9,600 bps if you are not sure of the speed, and faster speeds if possible.

NOTE: Caution! Be careful when you select a port speed of anything greater than 19,200 bps, because most chips that control your serial port (sometimes called Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitters or UARTs) are based on old IBM PC/XT technology. The chips are sometimes referred to as 8250 UARTs and are physically incapable of speeds greater than 19,200 bps. Only controllers of the newer variety, the 16550 UART, can achieve these speeds. Keep this advice in mind if you want to buy a modem faster than 14,400 bps.

You can check which UART you have in your computer by dropping out of Windows, switching to the Windows directory (typically c:\windows), and then running msd (Microsoft Diagnostics program). Buried in the Comm Ports dialog box are all the gory details on your UART version.

Phone line type should be a no-brainer by now because almost everywhere has tone dialing. If you have pulse dialing only, I'm sorry, but we all have our burdens to bear. It's sufficient to say that if your phone can play Mary Had a Little Lamb, you have tone dialing; if you notice that it takes a long time to dial a 9 as compared to a 1, you have pulse dialing.

NOTE: I'm totally opposed to pulse dialing. The phone in my dorm room in college had a bad "3" key, which Housing seemed to be in no hurry to replace. The solution was to learn to click the hook switch three times rapidly enough to make the switching equipment think I was a rotary dial. Guests looked at me funny, but at least I was still in touch.

After you click the OK button, you see the Dial Modifiers dialog box, which allows you to specify numbers to dial before or after the actual phone number for your service provider. This feature is handy if you are calling through a PBX (and possibly need to dial "9").

Fill in any appropriate numbers here and then click OK to finish your modem configuration. Although you're not completely finished yet (you haven't typed in the actual phone number to call, for instance), you've defined the physical part of the connection and the software is ready to register itself. No more messy registration cards that never get filled out or are just knocked around the desktop for days. Just fill out the registration information in the dialog box and click the Register button. IBox asks you to confirm that the information that you've just typed is correct, and then enables you to choose an Internet service provider.

In the spirit of making your choices simple, there are only two choices: SprintLink or some other service provider. If you click SprintLink, IBox prompts you through a screen asking for credit card information, and the registration process returns your account name and password information. Because this SprintLink option is well described in the IBox manual, I'll cover the "other" option here (besides, I use the "other" option myself).

NOTE: In December 1994, Spry cut a deal to utilize CompuServe's packet-switched public dialup network. This deal doesn't mean that you'll be attached to the CompuServe Information Service; instead, you'll be using CompuServe's dialup lines to access the Internet. The benefit here is that CompuServe has put up many dialup lines all over the world -- possibly bringing you in touch with the Internet with only a local telephone call. Details were sketchy as of this writing, however.

After you've clicked the "other" button, Internet In A Box dials up Spry and sends it the registration information that you've just typed. If all goes well, you should shortly see "Connected!" and then "Registration Complete" on-screen. Then you see the Configuration Utility screen.

At this point, you can choose each of the items to configure separately, or you can click the Manual Config button and have IBox step you through the required items. I suggest using the second option the first time so that you get a good feel for what must be done. You can open up the Configuration Utility again any time and change any of the settings that you want.

After choosing Manual Config, you will see an old friend, the Modem Settings dialog box. Because you've already filled in all of these items correctly (or your registration probably would have failed), click OK and go on to the Dialer Setup dialog box (see figure 11.8).

Figure 11.8: Internet In A Box Dialer Setup.

The top part of the Dialer Setup dialog box is labeled Access Numbers. Here you have another chance to fill in numbers to dial before or after the access number, but you've already seen that. The new box in this section is for the phone number of your Internet access provider. In this example, I've filled in the number for Northwest Nexus, my Internet service provider.

The lower section, titled Network Settings, has all the interesting stuff for you to enter. In this part of the dialog box, all those questions from the "Getting an Account" section at the beginning of this chapter are going to pay off. The boxes that you must fill in here all correspond to items that your Internet service provider must tell you. If your service provider provides configuration information from the dialup server when you log in, you can probably leave the items in the Your IP Address and Netmask options blank, because the server will fill them in for you each time you connect. In this example, the dialer has already been used, and these items are filled in automatically from the last usage.

NOTE: In the IBox manual's explanations, Spry refers to this server-based address assignment as "dynamic IP address" assignment. If you remember my earlier warning about varying nomenclature (server=dynamic, manual=static), you should be fine.

After you fill in this dialog box with the correct information from your Internet service provider, click OK to save what you've typed and start on the Default Hosts dialog box (see figure 11.9).

Figure 11.9: AIR Series Default Hosts.

Once again, most of the boxes to fill in come directly from the "WinSock Questions" section, and I'll be filling mine in with the examples in table 11.2.

AIR Mosaic and AIR Gopher in the lower section may not be familiar to you, but IBox fills them in with reasonable default hosts. Your Internet service provider should have provided all the other host information for you, so fill in the correct values. These values are critical to the correct function of the applications that come with IBox, such as email and news. If you don't enter these host names correctly, you still should be able to connect to the Internet, and you still should be able to telnet and FTP to places. But other applications, such as AIR News and (it pains me even to type this name) AIR Mail, will not work correctly, if at all. If you don't get it all right the first time, don't despair. I've found IBox's configuration utility easy to navigate, and it's simple to get back to this screen and enter the proper server names for email and news. After you fill in these settings, click the OK box one more time, and you're finished, or so the manual claims. You may want to take several more steps, however.

At this point, the dialer application knows the telephone number of your service provider, but nothing else. In my example, I use a service provider that provides PAP authentication for the PPP account, and it's easiest to set up the dialer to automatically login using PAP. To set this up, first double-click the dialer icon in the new group in the Program Manager titled Internet In A Box. The Dialer dialog box appears (see figure 11.10).

Figure 11.10: Internet In A Box Dialer.

NOTE: PAP stands for "Password Authentication Protocol" and is a mechanism for both the client (in this case, your IBox WinSock TCP/IP stack) and the server (in this case, the Internet service provider) to exchange the userid and password. This eliminates the need for scripting a dialog between the client and the server.

For systems that do not use PAP, you must usually script the client to perform authentication, which usually occurs in the following form: wait for login prompt; type ; wait for password prompt; type ; enter PPP protocol. This is sometimes confusing, so you can see the utility of PAP.

In the Dialer dialog box, simply click the Dial button and then respond to the prompts that appear on-screen. This step checks to see that everything is working. In order to automate the login process, however, just select Interface from the Network menu to get to the Network Interface dialog box (see figure 11.11).

Figure 11.11: Internet In A Box Network Interface.

I chose PPP as my interface type. To see what the settings look like, I then clicked the Settings button to get to the PPP Settings dialog box (see figure 11.12). As it turns out, all the default settings in this dialog box work fine for Northwest Nexus. Clicking on the Advanced button does, in fact, bring up additional incomprehensible information related to your PPP connection, but it's mostly on/off switches and is stuff that your service provider should be able to help you with if you have any problems.

Figure 11.12: Internet In A Box PPP Settings.

The one thing that confused me here was that the programmers allow you to fill in only a username and password to be saved if you choose PAP authentication. If you choose the radio button None, the dialer waits until the connection is made to ask you for your username and password. I'd love to be able to save these and have the dialer not prompt me for both, but that doesn't seem to be an option for the configuration that I use. Fortunately for me, the username and password that I type in at the first connection survive until I exit the dialer entirely and restart it. I find this persistence of username and password helpful, and a good reason to leave the dialer minimized on my desktop all the time.


Basic Usage


After you have IBox installed and working properly, it's simple to use because you never really use the WinSock stack directly; you just start and use the applications. In fact, after the dialer is all set up, you never even have to start it explicitly. Just start any WinSock-based application, and when it attempts to utilize WinSock directly, the IBox dialer application automatically connects to your Internet service provider. I've been waiting for this feature in a WinSock product for quite some time, and I'm happy to see that Spry has done such a fine job of it.

You can also start up the connection manually by opening up the dialer application and clicking the Dial button. I usually use this manual feature when I'm trying out a new option for the PPP connection or in some way messing with the way my connection works.

Speaking of messing with connections, there's a feature on the dialer that I've not mentioned yet because it's not for beginning users. The IBox dialer includes a Trace button that enables you to see lots of information about the conversation that your Internet service provider is having with your PC. You can select exactly what sort of information that you want to see. And if you're up to deciphering the results, you can get a ton of helpful debugging information. Personally, I love this feature and wish that every WinSock stack could do the same, but it's not for the faint of heart. What you see here is a trace of the PPP authentication exchange that occurs between IBox and Northwest Nexus (see figure 11.13).

Figure 11.13: Internet In A Box Trace dialog box.


Overall Evaluation


I can't stress enough how important it is to get and install the patch that is available at:

ftp://support.spry.com/pub/ibox/patch/all_ibox.exe

After you have a registered copy of IBox, installation of this patch is painless and simple and totally necessary for the version that I unpacked from the box. Before I installed the patch, I was ready to say all sorts of mean, nasty, ugly things about IBox, because I was having such difficulties with compatibility and stability. After the changes were in place, though, it turned out to be one of the best Internet connectivity tools that I've seen yet.

From my point of view, concentrating on dialup connections exclusively in this version of the AIR series is a great idea. The dialup connections enable folks with modems and no direct connections to the Internet to configure the software without maneuvering around all the garbage related to network cards and default gateways and such. I found IBox simple to configure for my local service provider, and I'm sure it's even easier when you choose the default provider, SprintLink, or perhaps CompuServe Packet Network in the future.


Administrative Details


For more details, contact Spry Inc. at the following address:

Spry, Inc.
316 Occidental Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98104
USA
800-557-9614
206-447-0958
206-447-9008 (fax)
sales@spry.com
http://www.spry.com/


InterCon TCP/Connect II


InterCon has been busy changing both its WinSock TCP/IP stack and its applications since the last time I reviewed the program. InterCon now supports both SLIP and PPP dialup, and it has changed the look of the applications significantly. InterCon can now retrieve my IP address from my Internet service provider by using PAP, which makes scripting my login much simpler than usual.

InterCon has done something in its installation instructions that I find useful and very helpful. The instructions describe how to install the client programs without installing their WinSock stack. This may not be an issue for many people, but I think that it's a nice gesture to admit that your software isn't the only package on the market. While writing this book, I ran into more than one set of WinSock clients that refused to work if its associated WinSock wasn't the one loaded.

NOTE: Shame on those manufacturers that tie their applications to a specific WinSock TCP/IP protocol stack! It makes it difficult to mix and match the best applications with the best stacks. Fortunately there is such good freeware and shareware out there that the compatibility issue is now less a problem than an irritation.

In the current version of InterCon's WinSock, I can choose automatic or manual dialing. With automatic dialing, loading an application automatically dials, as IBox does. With manual dialing, you must explicitly dial by clicking the TCP/Connect II icon in the program manager. Again, I see an attitude from InterCon that I enjoy. In this case, it has given me some extra flexibility in how I can use its products, and I can certainly appreciate that.


Installation and Setup


Installing TCP/Connect was yet another typical Windows install, as far as getting all the files from the floppy disks onto my hard disk. Simply put disk number one into the floppy disk drive, choose Run from the Program Manager's File menu, enter a:\install, and then, in the Package Authentication dialog box, fill in the serial number and authorization key from the little card included with the packaging. These numbers are mercifully short, and I managed to type them in correctly the first time.

After the package has decided that you are a valid registered owner, it proceeds to the Choose Installation dialog box, where you can customize your installation or accept the default. I strongly suggest that you customize if you are using this program as a dialup product rather than attaching to an Internet-connected LAN.

Default installation loads almost everything from the six-disk set onto your hard drive, including the LAN drivers (see figure 11.14). If you load the LAN drivers, the setup program (naturally) thinks that you want to use your LAN rather than a SLIP or PPP connection and complains bitterly if you aren't attached to one. Eliminate the LAN drivers from the installable set to have a much smoother installation

Figure 11.14: TCP/Connect II installation options.

NOTE: I actually made the mistake of loading the LAN drivers the first time I installed this package, and I discovered another nice feature of InterCon's package. When you tell it to install a second time from the floppy disks, it's smart enough to know that a copy already exists on your hard drive, and it presents you with a list of packages installed and an Uninstall button. Whoever decided to include the uninstall feature at InterCon wins the gold star for the month. It can be a gigantic pain to back out a Windows installation by hand!

Can you believe that this very problem has spawned at least three companies to create utilities whose sole purpose in life is to uninstall software from your machine?

Let's configure only for a PPP dialup, because LAN configuration is way outside the scope of this book.

Choose PPP (or SLIP if you prefer, but I recommend PPP if given a choice) and all the WinSock clients that you are interested in by clicking them in the Modules Available to Install section of the dialog box. Then click the Install button followed by the Done button. TCP/Connect copies the files onto your hard drive and asks you to replace floppies from time to time. You are asked whether you would like to modify automatically your AUTOEXEC.BAT or to create a separate batch file TCPCONN.BAT that you must run before entering Windows. I hate to have programs changing my autoexec.bat, so I chose to have the separate batch file.

After all the files have been copied, TCP/Connect presents the minimal configuration dialog box (see figure 11.15). Fill in all the items that you obtained from your Internet service provider, such as the IP address of your domain name server.

Figure 11.15: TCP/Connect II configuration dialog box.

You can select new things to configure by clicking on the corresponding icons on the left-hand side of the dialog box. Notice how the dialog box changes each time you click another icon. (The screen in figure 11.15 reflects the Interfaces option.) The crucial options to configure are the top four: Names, Hosts Table, Interfaces, and IP Setup. All of these produce fill-in-the-blank dialog boxes. You simply ask your service provider for the information to fill in the blanks (see the "WinSock Questions" section earlier in this chapter). The exception, at least in my case, was the IP Setup parameters.

I fought with this application for a couple of hours before I figured out that I needed a real IP address in the Default Gateway box. Most dialup PPP implementations assume that you want to ship all your packets to the box at the other end of the phone line. Not so with TCP/Connect! I watched the dialog that I was having with my service provider's machine, stuffed the address of the remote terminal server into the Default Gateway spot from the IP setup screen, and all worked fine.

Actually, I find this solution a bit disturbing, because during peak load times several boxes are in use at Northwest Nexus, each with a different IP address, and you never know which one you might get. I solved the problem for testing purposes by just doing my dialing at 4:00 a.m. -- not a solution that I'm happy with in the long run, however.

NOTE: It's rather confusing to write about a default gateway (sometimes referred to as a default route) when referring to dialup lines because all traffic goes through the dialup connection, making a default gateway unnecessary. The concept is easier to understand, however, when referring to LANs that have routers between them and another network (the Internet, for example). In this case, the information you enter for default gateway answers the question, "If the machine I'm trying to communicate with isn't local, where can I pass the packet so that it will eventually get to that machine?" The default gateway is that designated machine -- typically the router between your network and the Internet.


Basic Usage


Using TCP/Connect is simple. After configuration, just click the TCP/Connect II icon and wait for it to make the connection. After the connection is established, any WinSock-compliant application can load and connect out to an Internet host.

Many of the new WinSock stacks now have some sort of statistics-gathering function, usually accessible from the dialer icon, and TCP/Connect is no exception. By opening up the TCP/Connect II icon that is on your desktop after dialing, you can look at traffic statistics based on protocol type and various other parameters. This sort of logging and statistics can be quite useful as you try to answer such questions as "Is this application doing anything on the net, or is it just hung?"


Overall Evaluation


I like InterCon's products, although I've always had more trouble configuring them than I should. Its WinSock stack worked flawlessly after I discovered my problem with default gateways. It supports applications other than InterCon's own with no compatibility issues that I could see.

Overall, I like InterCon's interface to the configuration utility, although the product does behave in unexpected ways sometimes. If this unexpected behavior can be ironed out, InterCon could be equivalent to any of the better WinSock implementations that I've used.


Administrative Details


For more details, contact InterCon Systems Corporation at the following address:

InterCon Systems Corporation
950 Herndon Parkway
Herndon, VA 22070
703-709-5500
703-709-5555 fax
sales@intercon.com
http://www.intercon.com/


Trumpet WinSock


Peter Tattam's Trumpet WinSock has been around for quite a while in WinSock terms. According to the copyright notices, Peter released the original version of this WinSock in 1991, which would make it one of the oldest implementations available. This is a shareware program, and you must pay for it if you choose to use it (see the Administrative Details section at the end of this segment for how to contact Trumpet Software International). With age comes maturity, and Trumpet WinSock is no exception to this rule.

Trumpet WinSock is currently at version 2.0, revision B, which is surprising for a product that's been around since 1991, unless you remember that it has always been shareware and, for the most part, a one-person operation. Although it is still in the low version numbers, Peter has found the time to add some pretty interesting features to this WinSock stack and has made it very popular among the more technical crowd of Internet inhabitants.


Installation and Setup


Installing Trumpet is completely a manual process -- no installer programs here -- unless you are running Windows for Workgroups version 3.11. For WFW 3.11 users, try the installer by B. Armstrong and Douglas W. Jones, which can be found at the following source:

ftp://ftp.trumpet.com.au:/ftp/pub/winsock/wfwsetup/twswfwg.zip

The .zip file that Trumpet is distributed in, twsk20b.zip, contains both an ASCII text version and a Microsoft Word version of the installation instructions, labeled install.txt and install.doc respectively. The Word version is 40+ pages long, but most of those pages deal with LAN installation, which does not apply to SLIP or PPP installation. I do recommend printing out the installation document, because it has a complete description of the scripting language that is used to automate the login process and the information you need to acquire the IP address from the Internet access provider's servers.

The first step in setting up Trumpet WinSock is to acquire it from the source in Australia. The official distribution for Trumpet WinSock can be found at the following source:

ftp:// ftp.trumpet.com.au:/ftp/pub/winsock/twsk20b.zip

Unzip this archive into a convenient directory, such as c:\trumpet. In addition to winsock.dll, the core of Windows TCP/IP connectivity, you will see several other files essential to the function of Trumpet WinSock. I'll leave it to the installation document to explain most of these files, but the one critical for you to understand is the program called tcpman.exe.

Tcpman is what would in some packages be referred to as the dialer, although in other respects it is more like the Custom application from the NetManage Chameleon distribution. At this time, you could just double-click on tcpman.exe in the Windows File Manager, but you have one more essential step to do before this step works properly. You first must add to your DOS path the directory into which you unzipped the archive. Edit your autoexec.bat and add this directory (c:\trumpet, for our example) to the end of the path and reboot your PC.

Okay, now that DOS knows how to find your winsock.dll, you should add tcpman to a program group in the Program Manager in order to locate and run tcpman quickly. Do this step by opening up the program group that you would like to add tcpman to and selecting New from the File menu of the Program Manager. Select the radio button Program Item and click OK; then fill in the specifics on the location of tcpman.exe and click OK one more time. After you do these steps, you should see a new icon in the selected program group.

Now that you have the physical installation done, you get to the hard part -- editing the various .cmd files that control how tcpman talks to your modem and your Internet access provider. I'll describe what I went through to make it talk to Northwest Nexus, my access provider, but the process was fairly simple because tcpman is able to do PAP authentication for PPP and requires no real scripting.

To connect to a service provider that does PAP authentication, double-click on the tcpman icon that you've created, and you will see the initial setup screen for tcpman (see figure 11.16). You can leave the IP address at all zeros if you dynamically acquire your IP address, but you should fill in the nameserver for your site. Choose PPP rather than SLIP, if possible, and choose the correct COM port for your modem.

Figure 11.16: Trumpet Network Configuration dialog box.

NOTE: On the setup screen, the communications port selection option is labeled SLIP Port, whether you have chosen to use PPP or not. This option name hasn't changed because this is the first version of Trumpet to support PPP. There is scant documentation for PPP in the installation instructions as well. Even with these problems, I would still advise using PPP if your provider supports it.

After these items are filled in, click OK and the initial tcpman screen appears (see figure 11.17). Now that you've configured tcpman to use PPP, you have one more step to perform before you can make your first connection. You must tell tcpman your username and password and ask it to use PAP authentication to make your life easier. From the File menu, choose PPP Options. The PPP Authentication Options dialog box appears (see figure 11.18), where you can fill in all this information. Be sure to check the Use Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) checkbox.

Figure 11.17: Tcpman main screen.

Figure 11.18: Tcpman PPP Authentication Options screen.

For all the changes to take effect, you must first shut down tcpman by selecting the File menu and choosing Exit, and then restart it. Now you should see the initial tcpman screen rather than the configuration dialog box, and you should be ready to run the script login.cmd. To run the script, choose Login from the Dialler menu. The first time you run this script, tcpman asks you for the number to dial, your username, and your password. You must tell it the correct number to dial, but because you have already stuffed your username and password into the PPP authentication, just leave the username and password entries blank. This is the last time that tcpman will ask you for this information, because it has stored your answers into the file trumpwsk.ini along with all the other configuration parameters that you have set while configuring this program.

After you press the Enter key in the Password dialog box, tcpman dials the phone number that you've given it and establishes a PPP connection to your service provider. And after you have established a connection, you should see something like the following message:

PPP ENABLED

Accepted:Login Succeeded

My IP address = 204.29.16.30

You can now run any of the WinSock programs that you desire, but you may want to start with just pingw.exe, which is the only client program that comes with Trumpet. Pingw is a simple ping program -- use it for testing connectivity to a remote site. Just invoke pingw in the usual way and type in the name of the host you'd like to ping; pingw tells you how long it takes to get packets to that host, and is a good overall test of connectivity.


Basic Usage


Trumpet WinSock doesn't have any snazzy hooks in it that automatically dial your service provider when you start up an application. You must start up Trumpet first, tell it to dial, and see that the PPP connection is made. Only then can you use your applications. This is not a serious drawback and is indeed identical to the way that NetManage's Chameleon WinSock functions, which is the WinSock that you received with this book.

After you have Trumpet WinSock up and running, try playing around with some of the menu items in tcpman. Probably the most interesting are the items under the Trace menu. In this menu, you will find a pretty large list of protocol types that you can monitor in the text area. Be forewarned: If you turn on tracing and you have any significant amount of traffic going across your modem, you will find it impossible to keep up with what's scrolling across the tcpman window.


Overall Evaluation


I'm quite pleased to see that Peter has included PPP in this version of Trumpet, and with PAP authentication I don't have to be so reliant on clumsy scripts, trying to type in usernames and passwords and then capturing my IP address.

I'm pleased with how well Trumpet works with all my WinSock applications, which shows that some attention has been paid to making Trumpet a truly compliant WinSock.

Last of all, I find the trace utility in tcpman an excellent debugging tool, but it is probably a bit esoteric for most beginners. In general, I would say that Trumpet WinSock is an excellent tool and quite well written, but I find the manual installation and general operation to be geared towards more experienced Internet and Windows users rather than beginners, who would rather have a clear step-by-step instruction set for installation and configuration.


Administrative Details


For additional information, contact Trumpet Software International at the following address:

Trumpet Software International
GPO Box 1649,
HOBART, TAS AUSTRALIA 7001
61-02-450220
61-02-450210 (fax)