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Accessing Network Service from a Mobile Device via Protocol Shadowing

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131873D
Publication Date: 2005-Nov-21
Document File: 2 page(s) / 37K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A mobile device user’s experience is very limited in terms of experiencing raw enterprise network services. Any non-native mobile devices (i.e., not native to the networking environment) may be handicapped from accessing the native network functions such as file access, file share with other users, and remote content views. This proposed solution enables a mobile device to access network services securely and in a scalable fashion. Some areas of access include: 1. Accessing shared folders from the enterprise network and listing all available files. 2. Viewing contents of a file from a network shared folder using the attachment service. 3. Accessing the enterprise "Network Neighbourhood". 4. Viewing all the network printers in the enterprise network. 5. Accessing a file URL in the form of "\\computername\directory\file" right from a received email. The following details assume the enterprise network is running a Windows network with file and printer sharing turned on. Windows provides network file and printer sharing using NetBIOS (Network Basic Input Output System) and NetBEUI (NetBIOS Enhanced User Interface) protocols in a network of hosts running Windows OS. The NetBIOS/NetBEUI protocol allows human-assigned names for devices (such as MyComputer), which are easier to remember than a complex numbering scheme. Running this protocol from a mobile device is very expensive as it would require lots of network bandwidth. This invention allows a mobile device to participate in those protocols in a scalable fashion without using much network bandwidth. This invention requires a special Client Network Access Application (CNAA) to run on the mobile device. It also requires a Server Network Access Application (SNAA) to run in the enterprise network with the MDS. When mobile user runs the CNAA, it registers itself with the SNAA using the mobile device transport protocol. The SNAA acts as a NetBIOS/NetBEUI shadow for the device. SNAA implements the required NetBIOS/NetBEUI protocol to access shared network resources. SNAA uses the user's login and password to access the network resources. So, a user is allowed to access only the network services he or she is allowed to access as set by the network administrator. SNAA hides all the details of NetBIOS/NetBEUI protocol from the mobile device and communicates with the CNAA using the compressed, encrypted mobile device transport protocol. All the broadcasts required for the NetBIOS service is only handled by the SNAA and never sends to the CNAA. The problems raised above may be solved by one of the following solutions: 1. A mobile device user accesses a shared folder by providing the fully qualified name of the folder in the form of "\\computername\directory\" to the CNAA application. CNAA uses a mobile device transport protocol to communicate this request to the SNAA. SNAA does the actual query using the NetBIOS/NetBEUI protocol and retrieves the list of all files. SNAA then sends back the list using the mobile device transport protocol. CNAA display the list to the user. 2. A mobile device user views a network file by providing the fully qualified name of the file in form of "\\computername\direcotry\file" to the CNAA. CNAA uses the mobile device transport protocol to communicate this request to the SNAA. SNAA does the actual query using NetBIOS/NetBEUI protocol and retrieves the content of the file. SNAA then involves an Attachment Viewing service to send back the content to CNAA using the Mobile device transport. CNAA display the file content within the attachment viewer. 3. A mobile device user requests to see the entire corporate network to CNAA. CNAA sends this request to SNAA using the mobile device transport protocol. SNAA uses the browsing capability of the NetBIOS/NetBEUI protocol to retrieve name of all the network nodes and send the list back chunk by chunk to CNAA using the mobile device transport protocol. CNAA shows the result to the user. The user is allowed to click on a given network node to see its content which is handled in the same way as described in (1). 4. A network printer is shown to the user in the same way as described in (1). 5. When a user clicks on a network URL in the form of "\\computername\directory\file" form any mobile device application (such as email), the CNAA application will be launched with the given URL. The given URL will be accessed using one of the methods described earlier. The following diagram illustrates this concept in further details:

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ACCESSING NETWORK SERVICES FROM A

MOBILE

DEVICE

Accessing Network Service from a

Mobile

Device via Protocol Shadowing

Disclosed Anonymously

A mobile device user’s experience is very limited in terms of experiencing raw enterprise network services. Any non-native mobile devices (i.e., not native to the networking environment) may be handicapped from accessing the native network functions such as file access, file share with other users, and remote content views.

This proposed solution enables a mobile device to access network services securely and in a scalable fashion.  Some areas of access include:

1. Accessing shared folders from the enterprise network and listing all available files.

2. Viewing contents of a file from a network shared folder using the attachment service.

3. Accessing the enterprise "Network Neighbourhood".

4. Viewing all the network printers in the enterprise network.

5. Accessing a file URL in the form of "\\computername\directory\file" right from a received email.

The following details assume the enterprise network is running a Windows network with file and printer sharing turned on.

Windows provides network file and printer sharing using NetBIOS (Network Basic Input Output System) and NetBEUI (NetBIOS Enhanced User Interface) protocols in a network of hosts running Windows OS. The NetBIOS/NetBEUI protocol allows human-assigned names for devices (such as MyComputer), which are easier to remember than a complex numbering scheme. Running this protocol from a mobile device is very expensive as it would require lots of network bandwidth. This invention allows a mobile device to participate in those protocols in a scalable fashion without using much network bandwidth.

This invention requires a special Client Network Access Application (CNAA) to run on the mobile device. It also requires a Server Network Access Application (SNAA) to run in the enterprise network with the MDS.

When mobile user runs the CNAA, it registers itself with the SNAA using the mobile device transport protocol. The SNAA acts as a NetBIOS/NetBEUI shadow for the device. SNAA implements the required NetBIOS/NetBEUI protocol to access shared network resources. SNAA uses the user's login and password to access the network resources. So, a user is allowed to access only the network services he or she is allowed to access as set by the network administrator.

SNAA hides all the details of NetBIOS/NetBEUI protocol f...