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Re: How to control LAN users?

Styma, Robert E (Robert) wrote:
There are a number of issues here which could be pursued.
First, in an ideal world, you say the users would power down
their computers when they leave.

You would like to be able to shut down or disable the machines
without having to go to the machine.  This implies that you have
a way of knowing that the user has left without actually checking.
You would become unpopular if you remotely shut down their machine
while they were in the middle of doing something.
Shutting down the machines would work for me, there might be some unhappiness but I could deal with that, but what I'm really looking for is a way to open the connection to the internet at my discretion. I've already blocked a number of sites via the router but I never know what they are connecting to or what might be streaming data when the computers are idle, that's my prime concern.
One possibility would be to install VNC on each Windows/Mac machine in
service mode.
When you believe that they have gone, you could bring up their machine
and verify that the machine is not being used and also shut it down.
For the F7 machines, you could ssh over and bring up TOP to see if there
is any activity and then shut the machine down.  This would save power
well as achieving the desired end.
This is a manual process, but I did not see anything in your post which
precluded this.
A manual process would work fine but I am Windows illiterate and every time I mess with a Windows computer I waste a lot of time and don't always succeed.
Another line of thought is to determine what is using the network when
no-one is supposed
to be there.  You used the term "leave the house", so this could be a
Yes a home system, Daughter's Mac, Son-in-law's XP and the Grandson's [HS students] XP box. I control the internet subscription.
If you have people coming into your house and using the computers, you
have more
serious problems than bandwidth usage :-)
In an office environment, the cleaning people could be using the
machines.  Setting the
machines to lock after a period of time would avoid this.
Other's are trusted family members not likely to do anything stupid, portables require the security code and I control that.
Some sites, like msn.com provide streaming content on their web sites.
This would continue
to use bandwidth while no one was there.  Another possibility is some
sort of malware.
Identifying the cause of the usage may be useful.
I haven't found a way to monitor what's going out of the router, all I see is the XP boxes broadcasting for "Workgroup" periodically, something they don't need since they never interconnect.
Some wireless routers allow you to cut off access based on time of day.
That may
or may not be worth looking at.
That would be an interesting feature, I would prefer simple manual control though.

And reconfiguring the system in this lifetime is not likely to happen. I had the Satellite receiver installed downstairs next to the Mac since it seemed the simplest thing at the time. If I was doing it over I would have them put the equipment up here in my room. I could do it myself but for the construction of this place, running wires is difficult. That's the major reason for the wireless system, no wires to run.
Just my 2 cents

Bob S
Phoenix, AZ

Thanks for your thoughts.

Bob Goodwin

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