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Appendix B: Enabling Connections with the Connection Manager Administration Kit

Overview

Use this Connection Manager Administration Kit Guide to plan and develop the Connection Manager custom elements that you want in your client dialer. Then run the Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK) wizard, answering the questions and providing the information about your custom elements. The CMAK wizard then builds a service profile, which is a set of files you distribute to your users so that they can easily install and run your custom version of Connection Manager.

The Connection Manager Administration Kit Guide is designed for the network administrators, information officers, and other team members responsible for the design, development, testing, distribution, and support of connection software for the customers who connect to your Internet or network service. More discussion on Automatic Connections is included in Appendix D.

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Service Profile Source

Each time you run the Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK) wizard, you create a service profile. You can create as many profiles as needed to support each specific target audience. After creating an initial profile, you can use the CMAK wizard to edit it. You can save the edited profile under the same name to overwrite the existing profile, or you can specify a different service name and file name to save it as a separate profile and preserve the existing file.

Notes:

  • To create a service profile for Intel systems, use the Intel version of the CMAK wizard on an Intel operating system. To create a service profile for Alpha systems, use the Alpha version on an Alpha system.

  • To create a service profile for another national language, use the version of the operating system and the CMAK wizard that are appropriate for the language.

  • When you edit a service profile created using a previous version of Connection Manager, the CMAK wizard automatically upgrades the profiles to Connection Manager 1.2. Any changes you have made manually to the .inf file (using advanced customization techniques) will not be retained in the upgraded file. However, the CMAK wizard creates a backup of the old .inf file before creating the updated file.

  • If you change the file name, be sure to change the service name also. If a user installs two service profiles with the same service name but different file names, the service profiles do not work correctly.

Each service profile should be specific to an audience. For example, you might set up separate profiles if:

  • You want to make each service profile specific to a single operating system.

  • You specify phone books to support each of your distinct geographic areas or corporate organizations.

  • Different users require different connection methods (dial-up versus direct).

  • You need to support VPN connections only for specific users.

  • The individual corporations or groups you support each want to use their own logos or other proprietary symbols or text.

  • The help desk or other support is not the same for everyone and you want to provide specific information to each user group.

  • You want to establish different administrative authorities for the groups you support.

Note:

  • To simplify administration of multiple service profiles, you can merge existing profiles into a parent service profile.

You must run the CMAK wizard again for each service profile you want to create, including each service name or file name you want to present to your users.

It is easier to create additional service profiles if you edit an existing profile and then change the service name and file name.

When you create a service profile, the CMAK wizard copies all files that are incorporated in the profile into a \Program Files\CMAK\Profiles\ServiceProfileFileName folder. When you edit existing profiles, the CMAK wizard always pulls the incorporated files from the ...ServiceProfileFileName folder. To make changes to the incorporated files, edit the incorporated file in the ...ServiceProfileFileName folder and then run the CMAK wizard again to update the service profile. Or, if you edit the file that is not in the ...ServiceProfileFileName folder, start the CMAK wizard, add the updated file (by browsing to find it), and then finish running the wizard.

Note: Connection Manager supports user installation of multiple service profiles, running multiple instances of Connection Manager, and multiple user profiles for each service profile. If a user installs more than one service profile, each is installed in a separate folder. You can provide as many profiles to your users as necessary to support your service, but each must have a different service name and file name.

Service and File Names

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You must specify a service name and a file name in the CMAK wizard to identify your service profile.

Service name

The service name identifies your service to the users. Connection Manager can display only the 31 to 45 characters (depending on the characters and capitalization used). This name appears at several points when the user runs your service:

  • In the title bar text for the logon dialog box for your service.

  • In dialog boxes that appear during installation of Connection Manager and the service profile.

  • As the desktop icon name for your service.

  • On the program button that appears on the taskbar when the program is running.

  • In the ToolTip that appears when the mouse points to the status-area icon, which is located at the far right of the task bar.

  • Within the service profile files, for entries such as the default Dial-Up Networking entry.

This name is often a company or other business name. For example, the fictitious company Awesome Computers, which we use in this guideline for many of our examples, might specify "Awesome Computers" as the service name. Or, if Awesome Computers wanted to set up separate service profiles for each department, the service name for one of them might be "Awesome Computers - Marketing."

File name

The file name is the name given to the files created by the CMAK wizard when building the service profile. The file name can be up to 8 alphanumeric characters, with the following limitations:

  • Do not use any of the following:

    ! , ; <space> * = / \ : ? ' " < >

  • Do not use extended character sets in a file name. A file name created with extended character sets (such as those containing ü, é, and other extended characters) might not be properly installed.

Notes:

  • Make sure that the service and file names are different from all other service and file names that you provide to your customers. If two service profiles on the same computer have the same service or file name, the associated connection icons do not work correctly.

  • When editing an existing profile, if you do not want to write over the existing service profile, you must change the file name.

The file name is used for the following files created by the CMAK wizard, including:

  • The folder containing the files needed to install Connection Manager and the service profile, located at \Program Files\CMAK\Profiles\ServiceProfileFileName.

  • The self-extracting executable (.exe) file.

  • The .cms file, which contains the configuration data for Connection Manager features, such as the names of the phone book and connection methods.

  • The .cmp file, which stores user-specified information, such as the name of the .cms file to be used.

  • The .inf file, which is used for the setup and installation of Connection Manager on the user's computer.

  • The .sed file, which specifies the contents of the .cab file and how to compress the files when the service profile is built.

The file name for the service profile is also used for the folder created on the user's computer when the .exe file is run.

Merged Services Profile

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If you have information in service profiles that you need in the service profile you are currently building, you can use the CMAK wizard to merge much of the information from existing profiles into the new profile. A profile that contains information from other service profiles is called the referencing profile. A service profile that has its information merged into another service profile is called a merged profile.

For instance, you would incorporate several phone books in a single service or file by merging existing service profiles containing the other phone books.

Support Information

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Using the CMAK wizard, you can specify a line of information to be displayed in the logon dialog box, directly above Connection status. This line of text can be a maximum of approximately 50 characters and usually gives users a number to call for support (for example, "Call 1-800-xxx-xxxx for customer service."). No default text exists for this option. If you do not specify a line of text, this area of the logon dialog box will be left blank.

Realm Name

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Realm names are used for network routing and authentication. They provide the identification necessary to forward authentication requests to the server that holds the user's credentials.

Using the CMAK wizard, you can specify a realm name prefix (such as Awesome/) or suffix (such as @Awesome) to be added to the user name that a person enters when connecting to your service. The realm name includes any separator characters, such as @ or /. If you specify the realm, users do not have to provide it themselves because Connection Manager automatically places the realm name before or after the user's name.

If your service uses multiple networks or ISPs for access, you need to provide different realm information for each one. To do this, create service profiles for each of the networks and then merge them together in a referencing profile.

Dial-Up Networking Entries

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Dial-Up Networking entries are specified in the Phone Book Administrator of Connection Point Services so you can customize how specific Points of Presence (POPs) are accessed. Use the CMAK wizard to specify the custom properties for the Dial-Up Networking entries.

Customizing how Dial-Up Networking entries are handled can provide more effective handling of unique network authentication or routing requirements for POPs in your phone book. For each Dial-Up Networking entry, you can specify the DNS or WINS addresses to use with POPs associated with that entry and, if you want, a script.

Before you run the CMAK wizard, you must decide which Dial-Up Networking entries you want to customize and the options to use for each. Use the planning worksheet to document your requirements, which is available in the CMAK Help.

VPN Support

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Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections provide remote access to private networks over the Internet (or other network). A VPN connection establishes a tunnel through the Internet to the private network to provide a more secure connection than available through a standard connection. To create a VPN connection, users can either dial into a local Internet service provider (ISP) or use a pre-existing connection (direct connection).

This means that remote users can connect using worldwide Internet access points to access firewall-protected servers as easily as local users. For corporations, it means that employees have remote access over the Internet to their corporate private networks, usually through a local phone number.

Connect Actions

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To set up the service profile so that programs or install software automatically starts when a user connects to the service, administrators must correctly specify the connect-action programs when running the CMAK wizard. These actions, especially post-connect actions, should not be confused with auto-applications. A separate wizard screen is provided for running applications automatically after connection.

  • Pre-connect actions run immediately after the user selects "connect," but before any connection actually takes place.

  • Post-connect actions run after establishing the dial-up networking connection. Some post connect actions, such as automatically updating phone book entries and using MCIS logon information, have been preconfigured into the post-connect dialog box that follows.

  • Disconnect actions run immediately after disconnecting.

Pre-Connect Actions

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As soon as users click Connect, Connection Manager runs the pre-connect actions you have specified in your service profile. These are run before Connection Manager establishes a connection to your service.

You cannot set up a pre-connect action that requires an interaction with your service. If interaction is required for part of the action, split the action into a pre-connect action and either a pre-tunnel or post-connect action, depending on the interaction requirements.

Post-Connect Actions

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Connection Manager runs post-connect actions after establishing a connection or, if using a VPN connection, after establishing the tunnel.

In the CMAK wizard Post-Connect Actions dialog box, in addition to the custom post-connect actions that you specify, you can specify that Connection Manager run two standard post-connect actions, both of which run regardless of the connection type.

Disconnect Actions

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Connection Manager runs disconnect actions immediately before disconnecting from your service. You can use a disconnect action for routine administration. For example, you might set up a disconnect action to collect status information from your service, such as total minutes online (if this information is tracked by your service). This information can then be displayed for the user.

Auto-Applications

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Connection Manager runs auto-applications after establishing a connection and, for a VPN connection, after establishing the tunnel. Each auto-application that you specify in the CMAK wizard runs every time the user connects to your service, whether the connection is a dial-up connection or a direct connection.

Logon Bitmap

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You must specify in the CMAK wizard whether to use the Connection Manager default bitmaps or your own graphics. You can customize the user interface to include your company logo or another image that identifies your organization. You can replace the graphics in both the logon dialog box and the Phone Book dialog box with a bitmap (.bmp) file.

This screen allows administrators to use the default logon bitmap or to specify one. The bitmap must be 256 colors, 330 x 131 pixels.

Phone Book Bitmap

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You must specify in the CMAK wizard whether to use the Connection Manager default bitmaps or your own graphics. You can customize the user interface to include your company logo or another image that identifies your organization. You can replace the graphics in both the logon dialog box and the Phone Book dialog box with a bitmap (.bmp) file.

The Phonebook Bitmap is a 114 x 304 pixel bitmap that appears on the left side of the Phone Book dialog box. If no bitmap is specified, then the default bitmap will be used.

Phone Book

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Connection Point Services provides support for creating, maintaining, and updating phone books. You can also create your own phone book (without Connection Point Services), but the complexity of the format and requirements makes this difficult if you have more than a single Point of Presence (POP).

Icons

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You use the CMAK wizard to specify the three icons your users see.

  • The large program icon is used as the desktop icon. It also appears in the ALT+TAB switch window and in several other pop-up dialog boxes. This icon is 32 * 32 pixels.

  • The small title-bar icon appears at the left edge of the title bar in the logon dialog box, in various pop-up dialog boxes and, when the program is running, on its program button on the taskbar. This icon is 16 * 16 pixels.

  • After a connection is established, the small status-area icon appears in the status area at the far right of the taskbar. This icon is 16 * 16 pixels.

Connection Manager contains default images for these three icons. If you prefer to use your own icons in place of the default icons, you can use an icon-editing program to create them. All of these must be 16-color icons. Consider creating similar icons to unify the appearance of the service profile. To ensure that your icons appear correctly, create icons that match the size and overall shape of the default icons.

Note: These files are icon (.ico) files and not bitmap (.bmp) files. If no custom icons are specified, then the default icons will be used.

Status-Area-Icon Menu

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The status-area icon appears in the status area of the taskbar when the user is connected to your service. The status-area-icon menu appears when a user right-clicks this status-area icon. This menu provides users with a shortcut to specific programs. The default commands appearing on the menu are Status and Disconnect. You use the CMAK wizard to customize the shortcut menu by specifying which, if any, additional commands will appear on the menu.

Help File

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The administrator can specify a custom Help file or use the default Connection Manager Help file.

Connection Manger Software

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To run a Connection Manager 1.2 service profile, users must install Connection Manager 1.2 . If the organization's users do not already have it installed, include the software in your service profile. In the CMAK wizard, you can include Connection Manager in the service profile being built, so it will be installed when the user installs the service profile. If you include Connection Manager 1.2 in a service profile and the user already has a previous version of Connection Manager installed, Connection Manager will automatically be upgraded at installation. Connection Manager cannot be installed if the current or a newer version is already installed on the user's computer. The service profile will be installed, if the Connection Manager software included in the profile does not install.

License Agreement

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You can include your own license agreement with your service profile. This license agreement appears when the user clicks OK to begin installing your service profile. If the user accepts the license agreement, installation continues. If not, installation is cancelled.

Use a text-editor program such as Notepad to create your license agreement as a text (.txt) file. To avoid formatting problems, do not use hard returns (forced line breaks) at the end of lines. Line-wrapping for the license agreement is done automatically when the service profile is built.

Additional Files

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You can include additional files with your service profile to help your users implement your service. All files needed for your service that are not specified elsewhere in the CMAK wizard should be specified in the Additional Files dialog box. This section contains information on files that you might want to include as Additional Files.

Connect action and auto-application files

If you create a connect action, include the program for the connect action by specifying it in the Add/Edit Connect Actions dialog box. However, you can specify only one program there for each connect action. You must specify any other files required to implement the connect action as Additional Files. The same is true for auto-applications.

Ready to Build the Service Profile

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You create a service profile in three overall steps:

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