File Transfers in the Virtual Office

There are several ways of transferring files among team members. One way is to do a direct modem-to-modem hookup and use a communications-package protocol like zmodem. This can be the fastest but is usually less convenient than Internet alternatives because of the muss and fuss of setting up the communications package. Not recommended.

Another way is to use ftp. This transfer a file to another site that's running an ftp server. For instance, person A transfers a file to company server X, then person B gets the file from company server X. This method is too slow in most cases, but can be convenient when sending a huge file while person B is out of the office, so that they can pick up the file later while person A is out of the office.

Another way is to directly transfer the file to the recipient using ftp. This requires that person to be running an ftp server. Win NT comes with such a server, and various shareware ones for Win 95 exist. If you know your IP address already, you're all set: just tell it to the other party, start your ftp server, and they'll be able to transfer the file directly to you. Recommended for large transfers.

If you have dynamic IP addressing, you can still find out your IP address for the purpose of telling the other party: connect up to the net, then run the command "route print" from a command line. It'll print a bunch of info, the leftmost column being a bunch of addresses. One of these addresses is your IP address, which you'll have to recognize as fitting the pattern your ISP promised you your address would fall within. Continue as above to do the transfer.

Another way to send a file is as an email attachment. This is the most convenient for short files, as it doesn't require a phone call between the parties, and it automatically shows up at the recipient's machine without needing to take any special steps. Recommended for small transfers.

The ftp approaches might seem less desirable because they're slower than zmodem, but since net access is effectively free, and the machines do the transfer in the background, speed is usually not a big issue. When one needs to transfer multimegabyte files quickly on a regular basis, a direct modem or even ISDN hookup might be desirable. But such uses are rare.

Substantive changes:
    March 25, 1996: created.
Copyright © 1996, Steve Colwell, All Rights Reserved
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