I've lurked on this list for a while. I've looked a bit at the code 
and the examples. My programming language is Delphi 7, and I expected 
that I'd need this toolkit at some point. Seems like this point is 
now, only I realize that I don't understand enough to do what I want.

What I'm hoping for is some guidance on where to go to look into the 
issues I think I have.

Background: I've used VNC to connect to machines in the field to 
get "hands on" for tech support, etc., both for work and for keeping 
family/friends machines running. There are new versions that can be 
initiated from the problem end that can connect to my PC (SingleClick 
is one variant, Remote Assistance from contextsoft.com is another). 
When the request can be initiated from the field, this does a lot in 
terms of getting thru firewalls, proxy servers, etc. -- getting a VNC 
connection set up isn't always easy.

I want to support machines that may not have a person at them to 
request a connection. So I'm thinking that I'd like to create a 
program that can do that, with an assumption that the request would be 
initiated at startup, and the program is responsible for making sure 
that there's a valid request open at all times (persistent connection, 

So if I'm going to do that, and have some type of server/acceptor of 
these requests running on my support PC, what do I need to think about 
in terms of connection limits, bandwidth, etc. if I have this 
happening from 1 PC, 2 PC, 10 PCx, etc.? 

What's something good to read that talks about how these connections - 
I assuming sockets - can be made and maintained, and what the various 
machine hits are - connection limits, timeouts, capacity, etc.? 

I've seen some simple examples on how to create a client/server socket 
connection and transfer an image or database record. But I'm not 
talking about answering the connection request immediately. I'm 
thinking about having it there "just in case" I need to see what's on 
the screen, or send a file, or ....  It's a pipeline that's available 
for providing support on an almost immediate basis. Having the 
connection requested also lets me know that the machine is active, 
although there are some other "heartbeat" functions going on to 
different systems.

It's hard to ask the questions that I have, because I'm not sure what 
exactly I need to say. I'm wondering whether this approach - 
persistent connection - causes any performance degradation at the 
client, whether my server needs to be a really beefy device capable of 
handling thousands of requests, or whether a bunch of outstanding 
requests isn't really going to bring it to its knees. Do I need a 
server like Windows 2003 Server as a platform, or can I use Windows XP 
Pro? If I'm using a server, can I actually have something on the 
server handling the connection requests, and transfer the address to a 
PC when someone wants service (so my initial connection handling can 
be done on the server in ASP or PHP or something)?

Am I out of my mind for even trying something like this? If persistent 
connections are an issue, I could make something that checked in every 
X minutes and if I needed to talk to it, I could have something flag 
that the connection is made (I can uniquely identify the source of the 

Anyway, I need to do some learning, so I'd appreciate any pointers on 
where to start. Thanks.

Warrick Wilson
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