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For people who want to connect to the Internet from home we generally recommend the purchase of a PPP account. If you have an older computer or modem, or don't want to pay the money for a PPP account, you may want to consider a Terminal Dialin Connection (also called a telnet, shell, or remote terminal access account). If you use a Macintosh and need to have access to on-campus file servers from home you may want to consider an ARA connection. For a more in-depth discussion of all the various options, read on.

Remote Network Access (PPP/ARA) vs. Terminal Dialin Connection

If you want to connect to Yale's network you have two options: a remote network access connection (PPP/ARA) or a terminal dialin connection (also called remote terminal access or telnet access).  For most people at Yale the remote network access account is not free while the terminal dialin connection is; see the ITS price sheet for details.

A remote network access connection assigns your local computer an Internet address for the duration of the connection, allowing other machines on the Internet to communicate with it directly; a file on any Internet machine can be transferred directly onto your local computer.  This direct connection to the Internet allows your computer to run network clients (e.g. Netscape, Eudora, and telnet programs) directly. These network clients can then take advantage of your computer's ability to provide user-friendly graphical interfaces, allowing you to work with menus, mouse-clicks, etc.

A terminal dialin connection is a form of connection in which your local computer acts as a terminal, a dumb screen, for another machine (usually one of the Pantheon machines) that is connected to the Internet.  Because your computer is essentially only a display, it is not physically on the Internet, and so other computers on the Internet cannot communicate with it directly. Instead, you must use your computer to run network software (Pine, lynx, telnet programs) that exists on the intermediary machine, which can communicate with other machines on the Internet since it possesses an Internet address.  A special-purpose file transfer protocol (Kermit) must be used to copy files from the Pantheon to your own computer.

Therefore, while connecting via a terminal dialin connection you are limited to a plain text screen in which only one task at a time can be accomplished. Using a remote network access connection, however, your computer can run each network task as a separate program, allowing you to have different windows open for email, news reading, etc., all with graphical interfaces similar to those of other programs you would use on your computer. It should be noted, however, that all of the basic network services are available through each kind of remote access connection, except for processing graphic and sound data, which can only be done with a remote network access connection. Email, library searches, file transfers, World-Wide Web browsing and other types of Internet navigation can be done through both forms of remote access. The difference lies in the quality and user-friendliness of the interface provided.
 

Remote Network Access:  PPP vs. ARA

There are two varieties of Remote Network Access:  ARA (AppleTalk Remote Access) and PPP (Point to Point Protocol).  ARA is only available for Macintosh computers, and provides a few services that PPP does not:  it allows the use of file sharing (using files on remote Macintosh computers), it allows remote printing to on-campus networked printers, and it allows the use of Quickmail (for those with Quickmail accounts).  There is a trade-off in speed and in cost:  ARA runs slightly slower than PPP, and the software for ARA costs around $50 whereas the PPP software is free (some computers do come with ARA pre-installed).  In general the Internet Information Center recommends that you get a PPP account unless you have a specific reason to use ARA.

The following table lists the three connection options and what software/services are available with each:
 
service PPP ARA terminal dialin
Email 
    Eudora
    Pine
    Quickmail for Mac
    Quickmail for PC
yes
yes
no
yes
yes
yes
yes
no
yes*
yes
no
no
Web Browsing 
    Netscape
    Lynx
yes
yes
yes
yes
no
yes
File Transfer 
    FTP/Fetch
    Kermit
yes
no
yes
no
no
yes
File Sharing/Remote Printing no yes no
Usenet News 
    Newswatcher/WinVN
    tin

yes
yes

yes
yes

no
yes

Telnet (to Pantheon, Biomed, 
Orbis, Nexis/Lexis, Medline, etc.)
yes yes yes

*The version of Eudora for the Macintosh does work with terminal dialin connections, but the PC version does not work very well.  For that reason, the Internet Information Center does not support the use of Eudora for the PC with terminal dialin connections (this means if you have trouble using it we won't be able to help you).

Once you have chosen which type of connection you would like, continue to Getting what you need for a modem connection to check the hardware requirements to make sure your system is capable of running your desired connection.  If you decide you want a remote network access account, you will need to come to the User Accounts Office in the Computer Center at 175 Whitney Ave to sign up for the account.  If you want a terminal dialin connection, you may have already been automatically signed up for one; if not, you'll have to contact the the User Accounts Office (user.accounts@yale.edu, 432-6627).
 
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