August 16, 2002
Brent R. Scott is employed as an Internet Network Engineer with a large telecommunications company. He is also working to obtain his Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from George Mason University. On the side, he maintains a family web and mail service from his home.
During personal time, he and his wife enjoy playing music together (violin and piano) as well as doing home improvement projects on their house on the weekends.
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Comparing Terminal Applications
Accessing data communications equipment such as routers and switches for configuration and error
correction, is a demand for most anyone responsible for deploying and maintaining such devices. The
means by which this is accomplished is through the use of terminal software on a PC which handles console
connectivity to a device through the PC's serial port. This simple task requires the ability of the PC to
handle signaling scenarios based on the requirements of the device to be accessed. There is a broad
selection of applications for OS/2 Warp that provide this function. The purpose of this article is to provide
a brief review of a few terminal applications that offer console capability for accessing data
communication devices such as routers and switches. The applications reviewed here were obtained
by browsing Hobbes and sifting through the /pub/os2/apps/comm/term directory.
ComTalkBy Microsoft Corporation
Yes, Microsoft is the actual developer of this software. This should not be surprising, however, considering Microsoft's involvement with OS/2 in the early days.
InterCOMM version 0.92By AdeptSoft
To test this application I configured the settings for my serial port and selected the 'Connect Terminal' option from the 'Connections' menu. This brought up a separate terminal window and gave me access to my router. Simple enough and seemingly versatile. Though, I was not able to test out the remote script execution feature for this article.
miniTerm version Alpha 5By Tumyeto Software Inc.
ZOC version 3.13Installation
Unzip zoc313.zip to a temporary directory such as C:\tmp\zoc. Run the installation program included with the unzipped files. This will initiate a simple installation screen. The only field that should need any settings is the installation path. Decide where Zoc should be installed and type it here (ex. D:\Apps\Zoc). Everything else is automatically populated. Unless Zoc was previously installed, nothing else needs to be changed. The defaults should work. Click the install button and all the files will be copied as well as a folder will be placed on the desktop.
Selecting 'Settings...' under the 'Options' menu reveals the settings notebook. The settings of greatest concern are located on the first tab. I set the COM port and signal settings similar to all the previous applications. If you will look on the right hand side of the notebook, you will notice that the capability of this application extends far beyond the capabilities for this review. For someone looking for a dialer as well, this may be another feasible application. After selecting 'Save' and then 'OK' at the top, I was brought back to the Zoc window. Selecting 'Device' then 'Manual Connection' provides a dialog box we saw earlier. The defaults here should be sufficient, so select 'OK'. After doing so, I pressed enter a few times and once again saw the familiar prompt of my router.
ConclusionThe applications reviewed here fulfilled the demand for handling console access to directly connected devices. Some of these provide a beautiful PM environment while others yield a simple command-line structure. The few applications I reviewed here show the versatility and availability of programs both in the PM environment and in a command-line shell. Many more options are available and upon further investigation, the right application to perform console connectivity for anyone responsible for data communication equipment can be found.