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Supporting Mobile Users

Mobile users pose a special challenge to administrators. For starters, laptop users may need to use their computers on the road, which means that the laptops need to be configured with efficient power management settings to allow the users to keep them running on battery power as long as possible. It also means that the laptops need to operate in different states, depending on whether they are docked or undocked. In addition to establishing multiple hardware profiles to handle these situations, administrators may need to configure alternate TCP/IP configuration settings to accommodate users as their laptops connect and disconnect to different networks.

Some users may need to maintain access to the corporate network while they are on the road. The administrator must assist them by configuring remote access connections. These connections may run as direct dial-up connections to corporate remote access servers, in which case the administrator must install a modem on the user's laptop and then set up and configure a dial-up connection. Alternatively, the connection may be set up as a VPN (virtual private network) connection over the Internet using dial-up, broadband, or another type of Internet access.

In certain situations, users may need to have direct access to their own desktop computers from wherever they may be. In this case, administrators can assist by setting up remote desktop access, which allows users to remotely access and operate their corporate desktop computer from their home PC or laptop just as if they were sitting in front of it.