Laptop Roaming It’s about freedom for the user Freedom to connect anywhere and be perfectly adapted at every location Move around and stay connected Roam between job sites, client sites and your home or private sites. The brilliant idea of Laptop Roaming The professional workforce is becoming increasingly mobile. For professionals who are advisers or consultants, moving between client sites is nothing new. But throughout the industry the talent and competence of professionals are used and appreciated in task forces and project teams across organizations. Combined with the fact that today almost everyone is dependent on a computer, a workstation or a laptop for their work, the need for effective solutions to make these tools, the workstation or laptop, truly mobile is, not surprisingly, increasing. The answer is Laptop Roaming. H o te l H om e A irp o r t So far laptop roaming has been mostly about access. The necessity of getting access from wherever you are. The dominant way of getting off site access has been dial-up connections over the telecom network, but broadband technologies and wireless LAN technologies are growing quickly. But laptop roaming is not just access. What a mobile professional really needs is a laptop that becomes a site and situation adapted workstation. Wherever the professional opens his laptop to start work, the laptop should be configured and prepared for the work and environment at that site. The professional should spend no time to rearrange, reconfigure or set up workarounds. Laptop Roaming is making the laptop a mobile workplace. A work station user expects •Printing to happen on default printer when hitting the print button If you achieve this, the •Mail account overview to show available and relevant accounts •Explorer or save or open buttons to display drives, folders and effectiveness of a professional files that are available, applicable and relevant. will increase dramatically. The professional will focus on the Some work station users expect task at hand and not be •To share files on the work station with others distracted by the problems of Every work station user expects getting the laptop set-up •To be connected to the appropriate network section, acceptable. domain or work group and to be given the appropriate access and user rights The roaming laptop user expects to be as adapted as a stationary work station wherever he connects his laptop With the MultiNetwork Manager from GlobeSoft, each location is given a profile, and when starting to work at that location the laptop user simply applies the location profile, and the laptop is automatically configured to fit exactly into the working and network environment at that location. This of course applies to the sometimes complicated connection and network parameters that are needed to be appropriately connected to the network, but it also includes things like default printer and mail accounts which are so easily forgotten to be changed, creating unnecessary disruptions and annoyance. At boot-up or when moving choose your location from the menu, apply and your Office profile •Default printer laptop is instantly adapted •Network drives •Domain/Work group to the local network •Mail client environment. HQ profile •WLan •Default printer •Network drives •Mail client •Domain/Workgroup Mfg profile •Default printer •Network drives •WLan •Shared folders/drives Home profile •Default printer •Mail client •VPN •WLan Benefits with Laptop Roaming Laptop Roaming using the MultiNetwork Manager from GlobeSoft means increased efficiency and reduced cost. Increased effectiveness for professionals who move between work sites Significantly reduced costs for dial-up connections Increased IT organisation effectiveness and reduced IT support costs The increased effectiveness for professionals due to the ease of changing workplace and to be perfectly adapted without the embarrassment and intimidation of not mastering network technology is obvious from the discussion above. But there are also the other ways that laptop roaming saves costs and increases effectiveness. 1. Significantly reduced costs for dial-up connections As mentioned previously, the dominating way of getting access is through dial-up connections. Using a modem connection, however, only gives a very simple connection normally not allowing anything but reading mail. The demand for functionally more advanced connections via modem is limited since the speed of a modem connection anyway limits the usefulness. Besides, telecom charges apply when using a modem connection, analogue or ISDN. With the increasing number of professionals working from remote sites, or from home, the telephone bill grows to a significant cost for mobile laptop use. And this is especially annoying, knowing that connection through the network at the remote site, or via a broadband connection using VPN from home, would reduce these costs to more or less nothing. The barrier to start using network access instead of a dial-up connection has been that the professionals very often are not skilled enough in IP networking to master the necessary changes to the laptop settings. Besides, changing these settings often includes manipulating parameters that are associated with the operating system or the intricacies of networking. Having failed several times and been through the discomfort of calling a young IT support person to come and fix settings that were corrupted, properly told how stupid the whole matter is and how easily it could have been avoided if only people knew the basic things about windows and networking, a professional understandably uses the telephone line the next time. It is worth noting that the advent of wireless LANs doesn’t solve this problem. Access through a wireless LAN to a local network requires the same reconfiguration and adjustment of connectivity and network settings as connecting through an Ethernet wire. The wireless LAN, however, requires additional settings and scanning for radio signals, which is normally taken care of by the adaptor client software. Using the MultiNetwork Manager this functionality is included so that there is no need for special client software when using wireless LAN. Public places such as hotels or airports now increasingly offer wireless Internet access. Using VPN the user can connect to the office network to get access to resources needed for his work provided the VPN settings are correct. WLan settings including access keys for billing and VPN settings are handled by the MultiNetwork Manager as well as other configuration data that may be relevant for the particular site. Using the MultiNetwork Manager also allows a professional to use his laptop from home, connecting to his home environment, which could be anything from a printer to a complete local network, or connecting to the office or to a client site over VPN without being intimidated by the risk of corrupting system or network settings. Achieve this… Connect anywhere Connect your laptop to the network at the office, at your regional or local sites, at client or customer sites, at home, in hotel rooms and airport lounges with automatic or very minimal reconfiguration using company standard equipment/peripherals. Seamless access to network resources While connected to each network, access available network resources at that location including file shares, printers, intranet, Internet and applications, and additionally simultaneously and seamlessly access company network resources via VPN including Outlook email, file shares intranet and applications Roam between locations Roam between these locations and quickly and easily connect the workstation to the network to facilitate for professionals to do their work and increase their effectiveness and freedom. …without the need for technical specialists, IT-support or more than general PC user knowledge 2. Increased IT-organisation effectiveness… Earlier it was mentioned that each location is given a profile defining all the settings needed to adapt the laptop to the environment at that location. But how is this profile created? And especially, how is this profile created without causing embarrassment or intimidation to the professional? The MultiNetwork Manager uses available methods and protocols to search the network for configuration data, and use that data in an auto detect and auto configuration process. In almost all cases the auto detect function provides the connection parameters needed for Internet access via a local network. For additional configuration data the MultiNetwork Manger has a set of very user- friendly interfaces and wizards to guide the user through the configuration process. This also includes information to the user of data that cannot be obtained automatically, but should be given by the system or network operator. Auto detect manages to configure network settings automatically in 9 of 10 cases. MultiNetwork Manager import and export can be used to make network administration more cost efficient. And with the starting point always being to save the settings currently on your laptop in a current profile, the user can always go back to that point by retrieving the saved current profile. So instead of being intimidated by complicated and scattered procedures to set configuration data in windows, the professional now can use auto detect, a common, friendly user interface and an escape way back if by mistake or ignorance some data were incorrectly set. The laptop user can in many cases easily help himself without IT support. 3. …and reduced IT support costs. But the idea is not that the professional should spend time to find out and set configuration data. Data that in some cases are not publicly available, for security reasons, and therefore has to be set or given by the system or network administrator. If the professional at the first visit to a work place, asks an IT administrator to configure the laptop with everything needed and appropriate at that work place, then the only thing the professional has to do is to capture that configuration in a profile. The profile associated with this workplace can then be retrieved every time the professional arrives at this location and the laptop will always be adapted and allow access to all needed resources. Sometimes it’s hard to find an available IT administrator, and it is always expensive and inefficient to send someone to site to help configure a laptop. So the MultiNetwork Manager includes an import function, which allows the system or network administrator to prepare a configuration file, and store it from where it can be imported by the laptop user. The laptop user imports the file and creates the location profile. The profile can then be retrieved every time the professional returns to this work place. Because the MultiNetwork Manager makes it easy to handle network configurations adapting laptops to different work environments, it reduces dramatically the cost for IT support related to support calls caused by failed configuration attempts. And this cost can be quite significant. And by using the MultiNetwork Manager, the IT support can rationalise implementing network changes even further. Changes to the network may require changes to the settings in the workstations connected to the network. Such changes can be prepared in MultiNetwork Manager import files, and all workstation users can be asked to create a profile using this imported file. At the date of changeover, the workstation user applies the new profile and the workstation is reconfigured. In this way the MultiNetwork Manager can be used to significantly reduce IT support costs. As a matter of fact, the MultiNetwork Manager has been used as part of a standard software build, loaded into all deployed workstations. At site the receiver applies the applicable and pre-prepared location profile, and the workstation is connected to the network. This eliminated the need for an IT support engineer to go to site. Conclusion Laptop Roaming makes life easier and work more pleasant and effective for the professional. It enables him to move between work places and makes his special skills available where it’s needed, a benefit to the whole organisation. Support calls caused by configuration problems, maybe the most frequent reason for support calls, can be almost eliminated, and the bill for dial-up connections heavily reduced. As important is the fact that the tool that enables Laptop Roaming also means dramatically reduced IT support costs when applied throughout the organisation and used properly.
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