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NetWare Connect Services (NCS) Overview

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Freelance Writer
Novell Internet Infrastructure Division

01 Jun 1996

NetWare Connect Services (NCS) is the networking technology infrastructure Novell is providing to telecommunications carriers. NCS offers full support for Novell NetWare applications. The NCS environment is a shared, multiprotocol networking platform that routes both IPX and IP traffic among attached networks. Customers connect to an NCS-enabled network via dedicated or dial-up connections. NCS offers a variety of opportunities to developers, including the ability to leverage Novell Directory Services' security features, as well as the capability of using single sign-on for applications.


NetWare Connect Services (NCS ) is part of the technology infrastructure that Novell is developing for data communication carriers to create a secure business-to-business information network, which extends current networks beyond their existing boundaries. The security, ease-of-use and connectivity of NCS, in conjunction with the quality, performance and reliability of carrier networks, creates an open, highly functional data communications environment for businesses. NCS is an IP and IPX internetwork designed to complement other information networks.

NCS thus expands the information superhighway concept for inter- and intra-company communication and operation. It will allow businesses to reduce the expense of building and operating their own private internetworks.

A Public Network for Global Business

As the world moves ever faster toward a global economy, people and businesses need the tools and infrastructure that can ensure global transactions take place securely and reliably. There is no public network available today that has both the security and reliability of a NetWare network and the reach of the telephone infrastructure.

The net effect of NCS and the partnership between Novell and others will be the creation of a global LAN a worldwide network that provides all of the benefits of the NetWare 4.1 local area network, including high performance and ease of use. Businesses everywhere will obtain another notable benefit: they won't be burdened with building, maintaining and administering complex wide-area networks, servers or applications. And they won't have to replace existing operating systems.

Market Availability

NCS provides a platform for global internetworking consisting of multiple NCS-enabled networks with services provided by affiliated telecommunications carriers.

Novell's first alliance was with AT&T. We have been working very closely together to define the standards of this first public version of NCS, AT&T NetWare Connect Service, that is now available from AT&T.

Novell has also announced partnerships with Deutsche Telekom (Germany), NTT (Japan), Telstra (Australia), and Unisource (northern Europe) who each intend to offer their own NCS network service to business customers. These communications companies will work together to interconnect their networks, under the umbrella of NCS, allowing customers to easily access users and information located on any of the affiliate networks and provide developers an open and robust development platform with full interoperability.

In addition, Novell, AT&T, telecommunications carriers and other technology companies have joined in forming the Multimedia Services Affiliates Forum (MSAF) to further define this technology.

Developing Applications for NCS

Below are just a few of the many benefits you will receive when developing an application to run on NCS.

  • Infrastructure to deliver genuine inter-and intra- enterprise applications.

  • Familiar open platform for new and advanced applications and services.

  • Leveraging Novell's directory and security technology so that the developer can concentrate on unique application requirements rather than spending time reinventing technologies that Novell has already developed.

  • Existing NetWare-based applications can be extended to NCS with minimal effort.

  • Access to global directory using standard Novell APIs.

Opportunities for Developers

Novell places tremendous value on the business relationships it maintains with its partners. You bring expanding market acceptance and brand momentum to Novell and its products. You also benefit by being aligned with the leading network operating system vendor in the industry. With NCS, you are provided even a greater opportunity. An opportunity to be aligned with the leading telecommunications carriers around the world, to broaden your applications' reach, and to enter new markets you may never have been able to.

With Novell Directory Services, the Directory of choice by these worldwide carriers, a wide array of offerings are available to you for adding value to your applications. You can leverage the unprecedented security mechanisms within Novell Directory Services for user authentication, eliminating the need for you to develop your own security mechanisms. This also provides the ability for single sign-on to your applications-end users will no longer have the annoying task of re-entering username and password to use your application, it is handled transparently through NDS security.

The NCS global Novell Directory Services tree, has base objects and existing user information that your application can take advantage of, saving you time in building another address book.

There are unlimited applications and services that can be developed or enhanced to run on NCS. If it runs on an enterprise network, it should run unmodified on NCS. The rich development platform available with NCS provides you the ability to easily add value to your application, saving you development time and money.

The NCS Architecture

NCS is the networking technology infrastructure Novell is providing to telecommunications carriers . It is being developed with proven Novell technology. NCS provides full support for Novell NetWare applications. The primary features of NCS-enabled networks are security, reliability, ease of use, predictable performance, and cost effectiveness.

The strength of the service comes from its combination of the Novell local area network technology and the telecommunications carriers' expertise in providing high availability wide area networking. The synergistic effect: a rich networking environment for application developers as well as end users.

The NCS environment is a shared, multiprotocol networking platform that routes both IPX and IP traffic among attached networks. Customers connect to an NCS-enabled network via dedicated or dial-up connections. For seamless NetWare internetworking, NCS-enabled networks support mechanisms that provide users with information on NetWare services and resources available to them throughout the entire network. These resources include customers own corporate resources as well as other value added applications and services that are available to customers based on a carrier's implementation of their service.

Novell Technologies

NCS provides a fertile applications development environment, all with the tools you are used to. NCS is based on the following Novell products:

  • NetWare 4 (supporting NetWare 2.x and 3.x)

  • NetWare Directory and Security Services

  • NetWare Link Services Protocol (NLSP) and IPXWAN

  • NetWare Connect

  • NetWare Multiprotocol Router

  • NetWare Mobile

  • LAN Workplace

  • ManageWise

Infrastructure Protocols and Routing

NCS supports IPX and IP protocols. The carrier backbone uses NetWare Link Services Protocol (NLSP) routing. Routing Information Protocol (RIP), Novell Directory Services (NDS), static routes and services, and IPX default routes are supported for IPX customers. For IP customers, RIP, static routes, and IP default routes are supported. NCS accepts RIP or NLSP from customer networks; however SAP is not allowed inside the carrier networks. Bindery Gatekeepers in the carrier networks are available to provide connectivity to NetWare 2.x and 3.x resources.

All network numbers advertised to an NCS-enabled network must be registered and all networks advertised as reachable to an NCS network are reachable by any directly connected customer. However, only routes to core services and the default route are advertised to customers.

Network Access

Users can access NCS through dedicated or dial-up connections. Dedicated access is currently available through Frame Relay. Dial-up access is available through an asynchronous connection or ISDN.

Client Software

A client can access NCS with three different options. An end-user could use:

  • NCS client software that is offered by the carrier

  • The standard NetWare client for LAN users or

  • Third-party client software/third-party TCP/IP stacks.

Below are the components of the NCS client software provided by the carriers.


Standard NetWare Client

VLMsproviding basic NetWare connectivity


Dialingand connecting to remote services (including NCS)

IPX and IP Protocol Stacks

IPXfor connectivity with NetWare LANs and TCP/IP for Internet access

WinSock 1.1

Standardinterface to TCP/IP stacks

NetWareEnd-User Utilities

Login,drive mappings, printing, and other network functions


NetScapeNavigator 1.22, Rapid Filer (FTP) and Host Presenter (Telnet)

BinderyGatekeeper Navigator

Accessto NetWare 2.x and 3.x services

This component list was accurate at time of printing, but the components provided by specific carriers may vary, and this list may be updated periodically.

Network Directory

Carriers implementing NCS are using Novell's Novell Directory Services as the network Directory. Novell Directory Services is providing the key security mechanisms for the authentication and certification of users accessing the carrier networks. The Directory is organized geographically based on the structure developed by the North American Directory Forum (NADF). Using this structure, companies are placed at a level in the Directory tree that is appropriate to their business reach.

For example, companies who do business nationally can appear directly under the country name, while smaller companies who do business regionally can appear under a state, province or locality name. Customers of NCS networks have the option of making part or all of their directory available to their customers, suppliers and/or partners.

Added Value Services

There will be value added services that will be made available to customers of an NCS network that depend upon the offering of the carrier. Such type of services include access to information networks such as CompuServe and access to other services/applications that may be hosted by a carrier or by another company connected to NCS.

Providing a Service over NCS

If you have an application that you would like to make generally available over an NCS network to the network subscribers, that opportunity is available to you. In most cases, all that is required is that you subscribe to a carrier's service and establish a connection to the network.

There are three ways that you can deliver a service over NCS:

  1. Any application that runs on NetWare can be used with NCS. For example, if you have remote users that dial in from remote sites to access your network, you can use an NCS network as the conduit for that communication rather than a toll phone line.

  2. You can set up a dedicated connection to your LAN to NCS and provide the service through the network. For example, if you have or are planning an on-line service, you can simply connect to NCS and immediately have wide area connectivity for remote clients.

  3. You can offer a service on NCS, but have the system actually hosted by the telecommunications carrier or some other third party.

Below is a diagram that depicts the components that comprise an NCS network as discussed above.

Figure 1: An NCS network.

Process for Establishing a Connection to NCS

Below are examples of how a subscriber to an NCS network would connect to the carrier service and access resources.

Dial-Up Connection. John is a telecommuter working from home 3-4 days a week and he accesses his company network via NCS. His company, World Electronics has a dedicated frame relay connection to NCS. To connect through NCS,

  1. John, loads his NCS client software.

  2. He then clicks on the dialer function to connect to his company LAN; the dialer can be preconfigured with phone numbers depending on where John is dialing in from, or John can enter the phone number to dial on the fly.

  3. Once this takes place, John is connected to a NetWare Connect dial-in server in the carrier network. This is where the first level of authentication takes place. Through NetWare Connect, John is authenticated via PPP.

  4. If this is successful, John can then login to the NCS global tree and/or directly to World Electronics corporatetree. During PPP authentication, John's home server information within World Electronics is passed to the client via NetWare Connect.

  5. Once this second level of authentication takes place and is successful, John is connected to his company LAN and has access to all his usual resources.

Based on John's access control rights he may have access to other resources available on the NCS network that are outside his corporate network. John can also browse the Internet over the NCS network using any Internet browser.

Dedicated Connection. ABC Distributors has a dedicated connection to an NCS network so that their customers and remote sales force can always access their Sales and Inventory system to order products.

  • ABC Distributors' customers may access to ABCDistributors' Sales and Inventory system at any time through thededicated connections from their own LANs to NCS.

  • Dial-in clients may access ABC from anydial-in connection to NCS.

Contact information for NetWare Connect Services:

Internet Infrastructure Division Partner Marketing email: WWW: tel: 408-577-6627 faxback at 1-800-REDWORD; obtain NCS doc numbers from master catalog.

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


The origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. While Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information, Novell does not make explicit or implied claims to its validity.

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