Hardware

How Citrix and a Pocket PC can help you in your admin duties

Making a Pocket PC work as an admin tool


As a technical person in the IT industry, you’re probably required to be on call and carry a pager, a cell phone, and a laptop. Although they can be useful tools for a wandering network administrator, laptops can be heavy, annoying, and a burden to carry and look after everywhere you go. However, one alternative is to use your PocketPC, which can handle almost all of your network administration duties. You don’t even have to worry about using limited versions of your favorite network utilities. Everything you can do from your administration workstation you can do from your PocketPC when you use it in conjunction with Citrix.

Author’s note
Using the Terminal Service Client and Citrix’s ICA client, you can do everything on your PocketPC that you can do from a regular PC. Microsoft’s Terminal Service Client works great if you’re using Terminal Services on Windows 2000 and have a PocketPC 2002 device. However, if you just have a Windows CE 3.0 device, you can’t use Terminal Services. That’s where your MetaFrame installation and Citrix’s ICA client come in handy. For the purposes of this article, I'm going to show you how to install the Citrix ICA client on a Compaq iPaq 3600 and how to connect to your server and even launch your favorite management tools.

First things first
Before you can install the Citrix ICA client on your mobile device, you have to establish proper connectivity between your desktop or laptop computer and your Pocket PC. The first step should be to visit the Microsoft ActiveSync page and download a copy of ActiveSync, install it, and make sure you're able to successfully connect to your mobile device.

Once ActiveSync is installed and a handshake is established between your PC and your mobile device, visit the Citrix Web site and download the ICA Client For Windows CE. You can choose to download a client for a specific processor, such as the SH3 version for the Jornada 540, or download a package that contains all of the Windows CE processors.

After downloading the ICA Client to your desktop, double-click its icon to start the setup process. Setup doesn’t take long and is very straightforward. Once the installation completes successfully you can see the ICA CE Client folder in your Programs group, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A
Setup installs ICA Client to your PocketPC’s Programs group.


Configuring an ICA connection
To get started, choose Start | Programs, then double-click on the ICA CE Client folder. The first window that opens up doesn’t offer many choices; you can only double-click on Remote Application Manager. This starts the wizard that will help you configure a connection. When the Connection Type window appears, you're offered two choices: a Network Connection or a Dial-up Connection. For the purposes of this article, we'll choose Network Connection and click the Next arrow.

The next screen offers you the ability to select between connecting to a Server or to a Published Application. Again, for the purpose of this article, we'll choose the Server option. Enter the server name and click the Next arrow. You're then prompted to name the connection you're configuring. Click the Next arrow to continue. From this point on you can accept all the defaults on all the following screens until the wizard finishes.

After you've created a connection and before you can actually use it, you want to make sure that your wireless card is installed and that all the necessary drivers were downloaded from the vendor Web site and configured properly. When everything’s working properly, double-click the ICA connection icon you just created to launch the session. Enter your username, password, and domain. For the purpose of this article, we configured the connection to access the server’s desktop. Figure B shows how a desktop may look on the Pocket PC.

Figure B
You can access a full Windows 2000 desktop from your PocketPC.


From the desktop you can now run any Windows application, such as Internet Explorer, the Citrix Management Console, or any other application installed. You can map network drives and do all the usual tasks that you would do if you were sitting in front of a regular Windows 2000 Professional workstation.

If you're a network engineer or administrator and intend to use your mobile device for administration of your server farm remotely via wireless, you can launch the Citrix Management Console as shown in Figure C. From the CMC you can manage your entire farm, shadow users if necessary, disable an application, or simply prevent access to a specific server that you've identified as problematic.

Figure C
You can run the Citrix Management Console via the ICA Client.


Screen too small?
One of the major drawbacks of working with a Pocket PC stems from the PocketPC’s small screen size and how difficult it makes working with the device and remote access software. Because most workstation screens are at least 640x480, and the PocketPC screen size is 240 x 320, you have to scroll all the time to see the different areas of the screen.

My favorite way to get around this problem is to use a great tool that turns the screen of the mobile device into landscape mode. In landscape mode, you have more viewable space and more room to work. The tool I used for this article is JS Landscape X available at JimmySoftware. As you can see in Figure D, turning the screen into landscape mode offers a more relaxed environment that makes working with the Pocket PC more convenient.

Figure D
You can expand the screen view by using Landscape X.

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