Remote Access Technologies

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Remote Access Technologies

In the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system, remote access technologies allow IT professionals to perform administrative tasks and users to run programs on a remote computer as if they were working locally.

Remote Access Technologies Components

Dial-up Remote Access, Telnet, and Terminal Services are included in Windows Server 2003 as remote access technologies.

Dial-up Remote Access

Dial-up Remote Access is a remote access technology that is available as part of the Routing and Remote Access services included in Microsoft Windows Server 2003. A dial-up remote access client uses the telecommunications infrastructure to create a temporary physical circuit or a virtual circuit to a port on a remote access server. If the remote access server accepts the dial-up connection from the client, the server forwards packets between the client and the network to which the remote access server is attached.


Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional include Telnet Client and Telnet Server components, which allow users to make remote connections based on the Telnet protocol. By using Telnet Client and Telnet Server, you can create a remote command console session on a host. Using a local command prompt, you can run command-line programs, shell commands, and scripts in a remote command console session just as though you were locally logged on to the host.

Terminal Services

The Terminal Services component of the Windows Server 2003 operating system delivers the Windows Server 2003 desktop and the latest Windows-based applications to a variety of desktops, including those that normally cannot run Windows.

Terminal Services provides the ability to host multiple, simultaneous client sessions on Windows Server 2003. Through terminal emulation, Terminal Services allows the same set of applications to run on diverse types of desktop hardware. For organizations wanting to more flexibly deploy applications and control desktop management costs, a Terminal Services architecture offers an important enhancement to the traditional two- or three-tier client-server architecture based on servers and full-scale personal computers.

Terminal Services also provides Remote Desktop for Administration, which can greatly reduce the overhead associated with remote administration. Enabled by Terminal Services technology, Remote Desktop for Administration is specifically designed for server management. Therefore, it does not install the application-sharing and multi-user capabilities or the process scheduling of the full Terminal Server component (formerly called Terminal Services in Application Server mode).

Remote Access Technologies Scenarios

In a dial-up remote access scenario, a remote access client uses the telecommunications infrastructure to create a temporary physical or virtual circuit to transparently connect the remote access client to a network. The physical or logical connection between the remote access server and the remote access client is created using available dial-up equipment. The dial-up equipment and network infrastructure can vary, depending on the type of connection used. For example, a dial-up connection can be made using the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), X.25, or Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) over asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL).

Telnet Client and Telnet Server are well suited for troubleshooting and configuring remote computers, especially in mixed environments that require interoperability between different operating systems. For example, you can use Windows Server 2003 Telnet Client to connect to a Telnet server that is running another operating system, such as UNIX. Likewise, you can use a Telnet client that is running UNIX to connect to a computer running Windows Server 2003 Telnet Server. Telnet Client and Telnet Server are also ideal in situations in which memory and processor resources are minimal on a client or host or in which network bandwidth is limited. This is because Telnet Clients and Telnet Server use less memory and processor time than other remote management tools, and Telnet clients and servers transmit only plaintext (unencrypted characters) across the network.

Organizations are always searching for ways to reduce the costs of ownership and this is one of the major goals of Terminal Services. Terminal Services lets enterprises more easily and cost-effectively accomplish this goal by allowing organizations to:

  • Centrally deploy and manage Windows-based applications.

  • Remotely administer Windows Server 2003-based computers.

Terminal Services extends the model of distributed computing by allowing computers to operate in a server-based computing environment. With Terminal Services running on a Windows Server 2003-based computer, all client application execution, data processing, and data storage occur on the server. Applications and user desktops are transmitted over the network and displayed through terminal emulation software. Similarly, print streams, keyboard input, and mouse clicks are also transmitted over the network between the server and the terminal emulation software. Users log on and see only their individual session, which is managed transparently by the server operating system and is independent of any other client session.

Remote Desktop for Administration allows for the management of servers from any location without affecting server performance or application compatibility. In addition to the console session, up to two remote administration sessions are supported. Because it is meant as a single-user remote access solution, no Terminal Server Client Access License (CAL) is required to use Remote Desktop for Administration.

Administrators can also fully administer computers running Windows Server 2003 from computers running earlier versions of Windows by installing Remote Desktop Connection.