About Network Connections

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

About Network Connections

Network Connections provides connectivity between your computer and the Internet, a network, or another computer. With Network Connections, you can gain access to network resources and functionality, whether you are physically located at the location of the network or in a remote location. Connections are created, configured, stored, and monitored from within the Network Connections folder. For information about creating connections, see Make Network and Dial-up Connections. For a list of network connection icons, see Network connection icons.

Each connection in the Network Connections folder contains a set of features that you can use to create a link between your computer and another computer or network. Outgoing connections contact a remote access server by using a configured access method (LAN, modem, ISDN line, cable modem, DSL line, X.25 line, and so on) to establish a connection with a remote network. Conversely, an incoming connection enables a computer running Microsoft® Windows® XP or a stand-alone computer running a member of the Windows Server 2003 family to be contacted by other computers. This means your computer can operate as a remote access server. Whether you are connected locally (LAN), remotely (dial-up, VPN, and so on), or both, you can configure any connection so that it can perform any needed network function. For example, you can print to network printers, access network drives and files, browse other networks, or access the Internet.

Because all services and communication methods are configured within the connection, you do not need to use external management tools to configure connection settings. For example, the settings for a dial-up connection include features to be used before, during, and after connecting. These include the modem you use to dial, the type of password encryption you want to use upon connecting, and the network protocols you use after you connect. Connection status, which includes the duration and speed of a connection, is viewed from the connection itself; you do not need to use an external status tool. For information about configuring a connection, see Configure a connection to a remote network.

Logon and domain security, support for security hosts, data encryption, authentication, and callback provide secure network access for network and dial-up connections. For more information about security features, see Security Features of Network Connections.