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August 11, 1997

Dial-Up upgrade may improve on Windows 95

In my past three columns, I've written about possible speed improvements you can gain by making changes to your Registry. (If you missed those columns, you can find them on InfoWorld Electric at

I'd like to add one more item to this mix. Since I began my recent series, Microsoft has posted a new update file for Windows 95's Dial-Up Networking component. This feature (sometimes known as DUN) enables serial communications via a modem.

The Windows 95 Dial-Up Networking Upgrade is available on Microsoft's Web site at

This upgrade replaces DUN 1.1, which was somewhat confusingly known as the ISDN 1.1 Accelerator Pack (since it included ISDN support as well as DUN bug fixes and improvements).

I recommended in my July 28 column the installation of DUN 1.1 for everyone who uses Dial-Up Networking under Windows 95 (see "Tools can help you monitor your Net download speed,") but now you should use DUN 1.2. It includes all the fixes and features of Dial-Up Networking found in the OSR2 version of Windows (also known as OEM Service Release 2, or Windows 95B).

There are a few quirks about the installation of DUN 1.2: It shouldn't be used to upgrade a beta version of the upcoming Memphis release of Windows, which already includes the features of DUN 1.2 and others. But Microsoft also warns against installing the ISDN Accelerator Pack after installing DUN 1.2 -- a natural enough mistake considering that the average person might not realize from the names that one file is an upgrade of the other. Microsoft's Web site states, "This would return some components of Dial-Up Networking to older versions."

(Earth to Microsoft: It's your job to make it impossible for older DLLs to be written over newer DLLs. It inspires no confidence when your own software installs older versions over newer ones without doing a simple version check.)

Besides offering minor fixes and improvements, DUN 1.2 has some new features. One is connect-time scripting for the automation of log-in connections. Another is support for the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), which allows IS professionals to develop virtual private networks.

A virtual private network involves the use of the Internet to establish a connection between a remote user and an intranet within a company. Security concerns have kept many companies from trusting the Internet with intranet traffic, but PPTP can make links between intranets and outside computer users relatively safe, while eliminating leased lines.

PPTP supports RSA RC-4 and DES encryption. In addition, the required tunnel server (such as a Windows NT server) requires authentication of dial-in users, can be programmed to disregard all traffic other than PPTP packets, and can be placed behind a corporate firewall. For more information on PPTP and the related L2TP standard, see the Web page cited earlier.

To install DUN 1.2, you first need to upgrade Windows 95's Winsock.dll components -- a process that is explained in the Microsoft Web pages on DUN 1.2. You must also register your name and e-mail address, if you haven't already done so.

In future columns, I'll update the discussion I started on improving the throughput of your Internet connections. Stay tuned.

Brian Livingston is the co-author of Windows 95 Secrets and four other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

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Copyright © 1997 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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