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Also known as CDU, the Cisco Dialout Utility was a *free* program available from Cisco's website. With CDU and a properly configured Cisco NAS, your modem-less Windows 3.1/Windows 95 or Windows NT workstation can use apps like Hyperterminal to connect via modem to other modems. How? By using a serial-over-telnet protocol (defined in RFC 2217, I believe), CDU can emulate a serial port and redirect it's commands via telnet on port 7100 to one of the NAS's rotary groups. A rotary group, very simplified, is an interface within the nas that's in charge of handling how things make outbound calls.

Sounds really neat huh? Don't get your hopes up, as Cisco decided to discontinue it over a year ago. A reason was posted, to the effect that with the popularity of the Internet, WANs and VPN's dialing things via modem isn't required anymore. Personally I think they did it so that you'd get to buy a solution from another company that Cisco is getting paid to develop products for. But then that's just me. Yet there's already a few such products out there, many coincidentally fine-tuned to work with Cisco equipment.

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