1.1 Rainmail Server : What is it?
"Network is the computer", so goes the slogan of a popular computer company. This statement has never been truer than now. All modern computers come with one or more devices that can connect it to other computers (Modem or a Network card). Some use their computers solely as a communication device. With all this recent emphasis on computer networks, it is no wonder that the Intranets are getting popular by the day.
Intranets are an evolution of Computer Networks. With businesses needing a more efficient way of generating and maintaining information and a more efficient way of Internal communication, Intranets offered exactly the solution they were looking for. A typical Intranet offers at the least:
- Logically centralized access to information. The information itself could be stored in physically different places (or computers), but access to any information should be simple and should be from a common place.
- Messaging within its users. The Intranet should allow efficient communication within the organization. This is typically accomplished by providing a local email service though other channels like audio conferencing and video conferencing are beginning to show up.
- Secure and integrated access to outside world. A stand alone Intranet is of limited use much like a stand-alone computer. Businesses need access to resources on the Internet as also need to communicate with external entities (suppliers, clients, other branches) on the Internet. An Intranet should provide such access while ensuring that the internal data remains secure. This is typically accomplished by connecting to the Internet through a firewall. The firewall will typically disallow any communication requests from the outside world and allow only authenticated communication from within the Intranet.
"Rainmail Server" helps you build a world class Intranet and also makes it affordable by allowing it to be based on just a dial up connection (as opposed to a leased line or a dedicated connection) to the outside world.
- The included File server allows you to generate and maintain your corporate information (like accounts, customers database, price list etc.).
- The included Web server allows you to provide logically centralized and secure access to this information.
- The included SmartProxy server puts the Intranet users on the Internet in a mouse click. This server also makes sure that you connect to Internet only when you need to and reduces the Internet costs by cutting off the link to outside world when there is no access taking place. Ofcourse, all this is transparent to the user.
- The included Email server not only allows messaging between the users in the Intranet, but also messaging between Intranet users and Internet users. The unique technology employed by "Rainmail Server" ensures that this is totally controlled by the local system administrator.
- The included Squid web caching server and a caching DNS server ensure that access to the outside world is as fast as it can be (which is much more than what it will be with a plain dialup connection).
- The included firewall ensures that your corporate data remains inaccessible to outside users even when you are connected to Internet.
1.2 Rainmail Server 1.8: What is new?
RIS 1.8 is an extension of RIS Standard and includes Catch ALL and POP accounts."Rainmail Server 1.8" is an integrated software, that combines Carizen's Mailing Service solution (RIS Standard), Catch ALL Email Services and one-to-one Email POP accounts in a single setup program. It has two interfaces namely, Rainmail Package Selector and Rainmail Configuration Program. Rainmail Package Selector Interface provides a single common interface for package selection and installation. During installation, administrator selects the email type such as RIS Standard or Catchall or POP. Email Software packages are installed based on this selection. Because different clients purchase different packages, remaining packages are installed based on the package selection. The Rainmail Package Selector allows adminstrators to perform these actions at the time of installation.The Interface allows you to upgrade to other modules for future requirements. The Package selector interface consists of 12 modules. They are:
- Bandwidth Manager
The Email module is further subdivided into
- RIS Standard
- Catch All
It combines three different types of Mail Services RIS Standard, Catch all and POP and installs the selected packages. System Administrator can select the required modules at the time of installation . After installation , the Configuration program GUI interface will display the Tree view of selected modules in addition to the six general modules. They general modules are:
- User Accounts
- ISP Information
- Modem/Dail Information
- Network Information
1.3 Rainmail Server: Typical Deployment
Rainmail Server should be deployed on a computer that is designated as the main server in your Local Area Network (LAN from now on). This computer should be the only point of contact to the outside world (Internet). Connectivity to outside world can be through a dial up medium (Analog or ISDN Modems), or through permanent connections (like DSL, Cable Modem or Leased lines). If you have any other server (Novell, Unix or Windows based) on the network, you can still add this new machine as long as Internet access is enabled only through the machine "Rainmail Server" is installed on.
All the other computers in the LAN will have transparent access to the Internet through this server computer. Employees/staff of the organization will be allocated an account on this server computer using which they can access its various facilities (like messaging, information access, etc).
Computers in a network (be it a LAN or Internet) communicate with each other using IP addresses. An IP address is of the form 188.8.131.52 and always maps to a single computer. The IP addresses can range from 184.108.40.206 to 254.254.254.254. IP addresses are allocated by a centralized organization and any computer connected to Internet must have at least one unique valid IP address. The organization also recognizes the need for giving IP addresses to machines that are not connected to Internet and reserves the following addresses as private:
- 10.0.0.0 -10.255.255.255
- 172.16.0.0 -172.31.255.255
- 192.168.0.0 -192.168.255.255
To simplify the process of assigning IP addresses to the computers in your LAN, we recommend that all computers in your LAN have IP addresses of the form 192.168.1.*. This also makes your LAN safe from the Internet because traffic addresses to these private IP addresses cannot traverse over the Internet.
By default, "Rainmail Server" assigns a name of "server" and IP address of "192.168.1.1" to your main server computer. The configuration program included with "Rainmail Server" will help you decide on the IP address to assign to any of the other computers in the network.
1.4 How Outgoing Mail And STMP AUTH Works
SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol) is used for the transmission of e-mail on the Internet. A majority of Web Hosting Service Providers (like Vsnl) are discontinuing the practice of providing unrestricted outgoing SMTP largely due to nearly impossible access control, and thus its high vulnerability to spam, abuse and denial of service attacks. However, SMTP service can be provided to authorized users via authentication. This means that the SMTP mail server 'knows' who you are, either because you are within the same network as the mail server, or you have provided a username and password to use it. As a fundamental Internet service, this is something that is already provided to you by your dial-up Internet Service Provider. Since you are connecting to the Internet through your ISP's network, their SMTP server is able to identify you as an authorized user.
Another means of validating users for sending outgoing mail via SMTP is the newer method called SMTP Authentication. SMTP AUTH is now required to send mail through your SMTP Server. This allows your mail server to verify that any mail it is asked to deliver, is actually originating from a valid user to whom you have granted mail server privileges. It does this by requiring your e-mail software to support SMTP AUTH (a configurable option in your mail software settings) thereby sending your e-mail username and encrypted password before transmitting outgoing mail. SMTP AUTH is currently supported by newer e-mail client software programs such as Netscape 4.05 and 4.5, Outlook Express, Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000 and a few others.
1.5 Multiple POP Accounts
Rainmail Server -Extended allows you to setup unlimited number of multiple POP accounts. Any additional POP accounts you setup for an user(s) can be checked or read using Open Web Mail. It pulls email from a POP3 account at your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and redirects messages to users on your local mail server.
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