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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.
A communication server is a dedicated system that provides communication services for users on a network who need to transfer files or access information on systems or networks at remote locations over telecommunication links. The communication server provides communication channels for one or more users simultaneously, depending on the software and the hardware capabilities. Communication servers may provide one or more of the following functions:
- Gateway functions These provide users with connections to host computers by translating between data formats, communication protocols, and cable signals.
- Modems Communication servers provide banks of modems that internal users access for dial-out sessions or remote users access for dial-in sessions.
- Access services These enable remote users to dial into the network from their home or other remote locations and obtain "remote node" or "remote control" access. With the remote node method, all processing takes place at the remote workstation. With the remote control method, the user connects to a dedicated workstation on the LAN (local area network) and all processing takes place at the LAN-attached dedicated workstation.
- Bridge and router functions A communication server with these features maintains a dedicated or dial-up (intermittent) link with remote LANs and automatically transfers data packets between the LANs as necessary.
- Electronic mail servers These automatically connect with other LANs or electronic "post offices" to pick up and deliver e-mail. The systems may call at timed intervals or whenever there is enough outgoing mail to make the call worthwhile.
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