ModemServe
User's Guide

 

 

 

NOTICE

The information in this user guide is subject to change without notice. Mach One Communications reserves the right to modify the design of its products and will endeavour to change the information in the guide from time to time accordingly.

Mach One Communications shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein, nor for incidental or consequential damages resulting from the furnishing, performance or use of this material.

This guide contains information protected by copyright. No part of this guide may be photocopied or reproduced in any form without prior written consent from Mach One Communications.

Product names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

ModemServe User's Guide
Copyright 2006 Mach One Communications
All rights reserved

Mach One Communications
Box 465. 307 Collins.
Springside, Saskachewan S0A 3V0



CHAPTER 1

Introduction


Thank you for choosing ModemServe as your modem sharing program. ModemServe provides a simple and efficient method for allowing multiple client workstations on your network to make use of the communications port and modem resources on any PC that you install the ModemServe server software on.

 

Overview

ModemServe allows client PCs to connect to and use modems on the server - as if the modem was connected to the COM port on their own computer. This eliminates the need to place costly modems and phone lines at every workstation on the network. When a client PC require access to fax, ISDN-TA, a remote network or an online service, they simply run the appropriate Windows application software and their PC is automatically connected to an available modem from the pool. Up to 256 modems or other serial port devices physically connected to one PC can be shared with an unlimited number of clients on the network, or even over the internet.

ModemServe is designed to be a simpler alternative to using NetModem. It is not designed to replace NetModem, as NetModem is considerably more advanced and is independently developed by a larger team of communication and encryption experts. NetModem has the following features which ModemServe does NOT include:

* User Authentication
* SSL Encryption
* Server logging of modem calls and activity
* Blocking of inbound modem calls
* Blocking of outbound calls except authorized numbers
* Disconnection of idle users
* Compatibility with Terminal Services and Fax Services
* Support for multiple pools of modems

If these features are important to you, you may want to consider using NetModem instead. NetModem is also compatible with a wider range of hardware and software. http://netmodem.com


Installing the ModemServe software is straight forward. ModemServe software comes in two components - a server and a client component. The server component is installed on the computer with the communications resources (usually modems) that are to be shared. This server software provides the management tools needed to share designated modem resources.

The client software component, called the ModemServe client redirector, is installed on the computers that need to make use of the COM ports that reside on the server. The client redirector provides one or more Virtual Com Ports to the clients. Once installed you then simply point all communications applications to the Virtual Com Port and the modem then acts as if it is attached directly to the client computer.


Pre-Installation Checklist

  • The ModemServe software (both the client and server portions) can run on Windows XP, 2003, 2000, or NT4. A Server version of Windows is not required.

  • Any Intel Pentium compatible CPU can be used (for both the client and server portions). . ModemServe uses very little resources and runs well with the minimum amount of RAM suggested by Microsoft for the version of Windows you are running.

  • Ensure that the PC where ModeServe server will be installed has free COM ports or modems which can be shared. ModemServe will work with virtually all serial COM ports, modems, multiport cards and multimodem cards on the market today.

  • The server and the client PCs must be interconnected with a TCP/IP network which permits the client to communicate with the server using a Winsock socket. Almost all TCP/IP-based local area networks (including the standard Windows networking software) satisfy this requirement.

 


CHAPTER 2

Server Software Install and Configure


To set up the ModemServe server component you must first install the ModemServe server software on the PC containing the modems or other serial devices to be shared. Then you must allocate which specific communications ports are to be shared with the users on the network.

  • Log on to the server PC as a user with administrative privileges.

  • Close all Windows application programs. It is particularly important that all applications that
    may be using the COM port (like Dial Up Networking) are closed.

  • Run the program ModemShare Server installation program. This will install the ModemServe Server software. Simply click through Next as requested.

 

  • You will be asked to agree to the license agreement. You will need to agree in order to continue to install the software.

  • You will be asked to enter your name, company name, and a license key. If you do not have a license key simply leave this blank to evaluate the software for 30 days. ModemServe is fully functional during the evaluation period, and a license key can be entered at a later time without needing to reinstall.

  • Once the install is finished, the ModemServe Server window will appear. Next you will need to define which COM ports you wish to share with the network users..



  • Click the Configuration button, which will bring up the ModemServe Server configuration screen. Select at least one virtual COM port to share by enabling the checkboxes next to those COM ports and clicking OK.. Only the COM ports that are detected on this computer will be shown. ModemShare Server allows up to 256 COM ports to be shared from one computer.




  • You can also define the Server base TCP port. The default value is 7000. When clients connect to this port, they are given the next available shared port from the pool of checkmarked COM ports, unless they are all in use. When a client connects to a TCP port higher then the base port (up to base port + 256) they will always be given a particular server COM port (if it is shared and available). For example if they connect to TCP port 7005, they will always be given COM5 (if it is shared and available).

  • Once you have selected which COM ports to share, and the Server base TCP port, click OK to close the configuration.

  • The COM ports you have selected should now appear in the ModemServe server window. If a client connects to one of these COM ports, their IP address will be shown to the right of that COM port while they are connected.

  • The ModemServe server is now configured. If you don't already know the IP address of this computer, you can find it by clicking Start > Run, and from the Run window type in CMD and click OK. This will open a Command Prompt Window, which you can type the command IPCONFIG and press enter. Write down the IP address it shows you, as you will need this to configure the clients.



CHAPTER 3

Client Software Install and Configure



You will need to install the ModemServe client redirector software in every Windows PC on your network that will using the modem pool.

 

  • Log on to the client PC as a user with administrative privileges.

  • Run the program ModemServe client redirector installation program. Simply click through Next as requested

  • Once the installation is finished, the ModemServe Redirector main Window will appear.



  • Currently there are no virtual COM ports defined. Click on Configure > Configure Ports, which will bring up the Redirector configuration screen.



  • Select at least one Virtual COM port from the list of available COM ports on the left, by enabling their checkbox. COM port values which already exist on this PC will not be show.

  • For each virtual COM port, you will need to define the ModemServe Server IP address (or hostname) and TCP port to use, and optionally which COM port it should redirect to. Once this is entered you can click on another COM port name to change it's configuration in the same way.

  • The default redirection of Redirect to ModemServe base - Any available COM Port will connect this virtual COM port to the first available physical COM port that is being shared by the server. This is known as pooling.



  • If you don't want to use pooling, select a specific COM port on the ModemServe Server to always redirect to from the pull-down menu. This will change the TCP port to a value of the Base TCP port address + the COMx value. For example if your Base TCP port is 7000 and you always want to redirect this virtual COM port to to the physical COM10 on the ModemServe Server, the TCP port used will be 7010.

  • Once a COM port is configured, you should test that it is able to connect to the ModemServe Server PC by clicking on the Test Server Connection button. This brings up the Server Connection Test window, which should already have the settings you selected in the configuration. Click on the Start button to begin the test.




  • If the test fails with a message saying it is unable to connect to the server, it could be due to the server blocking incoming traffic or you may have entered an incorrect IP address, TCP port, or redirect to COM port. If you are running a firewall on the server PC you will need to allow inbound traffic to the TCP port being used. If you specify a specific COM port on the server then you will need to allow traffic to TCP port 7000 + COMx value on the ModemServe Server (ie for COM4 this would be 7004). If using "any available port" then only TCP port 7000 needs to allow inbound traffic.


  • If you need to configure more then one COM port, be sure to click on the COM port name in the Configuration port list (not just the checkbox next to the name) before editing it, so that it is the currently selected COM port in the Configuration editor. The Configuration editor will show the COM port name currently being edited at the top.


  • Once all the virtual COM ports you checkmarked are configured and tested, click the Save button to close the configuration window. You will be returned to the ModemServe Redirector window, which should now show the virtual COM port(s) you created.



Now that you at least one virtual COM port created and configured to redirect to the server, you should install a modem driver on each virtual COM port you created. If the devices attached to your COM ports are not modems you can skip the rest of this chapter.
  • Enter the Windows Control Panel, by clicking Start > Control Panel.

  • Click on the Phone and Modem Options. If you are running Windows XP, you may need to click "Switch to Classic View" first.

  • From the Phone and Modem Options window, click on the Modems tab, and click the Add button.

  • From the Add Hardware Wizard, enable the "Don't detect my modem; I will select from a list" checkbox, and click Next..


  • On the Install New Modem screen you will presented with a number of modem type options.
    In general it is safest to select the "Have Disk" button, and provide the path to the manufactures modem driver .INF file. However, with some modems you can simply select a standard modem type (i.e.: Standard 56000 bps V90 Modem).

  • Click Next. Select the Virtual Com Port as the port to use with this modem. If you created several virtual COM ports, you can select them all. Click Next again, and Windows will install the new modem driver on Virtual Com Port(s).

  • When the new modem driver is installed, the screeen will say "The following modems are installed:" And next to each modem name it will show the COM port which the modem is attached to. Make sure that the virtual COM port you selected is shown as being attached.

Your ModemServe client redirector is now complete. All you need to do now is set your application software to use the virtual COM port you defined, (or use the modem driver you attached to that port).


CHAPTER 4

Logging data from the ModemServe client Redirector


The client Redirector allows you to view and create a realtime log of all the data going into and out of each virtual COM port, as well as all the changes to the line settings and baud rate.

Logging is disabled by default, for maximum performance. While logging is enabled, there is a slight penelty in performance and memory used.

To enable logging, you can click on the magnifying glass icon to remove the Red-X. It could also be enabled from the View pulldown menu.


Log data can be viewed in either ASCII or Hexidecimal mode. The mode can be toggled by clicking on the FF icon.
When Hexidecimal mode is enabled, each byte of data is displayed as a value between 00-FF.
By default Hexidecimal mode is disabled, in which case each byte of data is represented as an ASCII character when possible, or as a "." when the value of the byte is not a displayable character.

Log data can be saved to a file by clicking the disk icon



CHAPTER 4

Administration and Trouble Shooting



Starting and stopping ModemServe server

  • To stop the ModemServe server, at a command prompt type in net stop ModemServe
  • To start the ModemServe server, at a command prompt type in net start ModemServe
  • When ModemServe has been re-configured it needs to be stopped and started again. Ensure
    there are no clients attached to the server as they will be disconnected. This may cause
    client programs to stop responding.

Support FAQ

  • When I try to connect to the shared communications port using Application x the program tells me that it cannot open the port.
    Does your server have a static IP address? If it doesn't then it may not be possible for clients to contact it.
    When you installed the client did you specify the correct IP address of the server?
    Are all of the available com ports on the server already in use?
    Are you running the single user version of the server? If you are, then only one user will be able to connect to the server at once.

  • I have a modem connected to the remote com port and when I try to dial a remote site the connection fails. The connection used to work, what could be going wrong?
    The first thing to do is to run the "Server connection test" available in the ModemServe Client Configuration window. This will make sure that the client is able to connect to the ModemServe Server and can communicate with a shared modem. If this test fails, then either the server is not accepting connections or there is a firewall issue. You can further diagnose this by going to the server PC, open a command prompt, and use telnet.exe to connect to the server by typing the following:
    telnet localhost 7000
    If the connection is sucessful, you will see an empty black screen, at which point you can type in the letters "AT" and press enter, and the modem should respond with OK. Assuming this works, try the same command from the client PC, subsituting the word "localhost" with the actual IP address of the server PC. If it works from the server but fails from the client then you have either a network issue, or TCP port 7000 is being blocked by a firewall.

    Because the communications port is shared and not simply the modem, ModemServe is far more powerful that some other communications port sharing software. However this means that the virtual communications port at the client must have a modem installed on it that corresponds to modem that is physically connected to the communications port at the server. Since any communications port that is shared might be the one that the client is using, ideally all of the shared server communications ports should have the same type of modem attached.
    If this is not possible then try using 'ATZ' as an extra initialization string in the control panels Modem Properties, under the "Advanced tab. This will work on most different types of modems.

  • I have a Winmodem/Softwaremodem and it's driver will not install on the client PC.
    Many of todays inexpensive internal modems are controlled by software instead of hardware, and require the PCI card to be physically present in the PC in order for the modem driver to install. In some cases you can get around this by installing a Standard Windows modem driver instead, but for maximum compatibility you should install the manufactures modem driver. If you are unable to install the manufactures modem driver, our engineers can modify your modem driver to install properly without the PCI hardware being present. Send your modem driver .INF file or the exact make/model number to support@pcmicro.com. Turn around time for a modified driver is usually just a few hours..

  • I want to use ModemServe over the internet or on an unsecure network to transfer sensitive data. Is this safe to do?
    ModemServe does not support data encryption or user authentication. If you require security you may want to consider using the NetModem product instead.


On-line Support


If problems arise with ModemServe then please first review the support section at http://pcmicro.com/modemserve.
The support engineers are available 12 hours a day to assist you. To help us correct your problems, please provide as many details as possible. You can email the engineers at support@pcmicro.com