Connect Two Small Offices

Smc / westell / 8014 / a90
March 25, 2009 at 09:49:42
Specs: Windows Vista/Eventually Win2K3
My name is Scott and I could use some help. I am the IT Director for my company which is pretty small. 50 employees max. We have two offices. One in NJ (HQ) and one in NYC (Sales Office). Right now I am running a make shift "file server" on a higher end desktop with Windows Vista. I was able to open up access to allow a single VPN connection to this machine. (PPTP) Just your basic garden variety simple VPN tunnel with basic authentication. (I know not very secure).

I was able to do this on my own but I need some help with the next step. Innate in this type of set-up, only one user can access the server from offsite at a time. In the IMMEDIATE future, I need to have at least 3-5 concurrent users being able to pull files from this server. Similarly, I’ve designed a “homegrown” software package that will be housed on a separate “application server”. We will eventually need a multi-user VPN connection to this server as well.

Last but not least, we have Sales and Merchandising personnel all over; including ASIA, EUROPE and CANADA. They will need access to these servers as well.

I need suggestions on what type of set-up is best suited for this business model and how do I go about getting started. Unfortunately, as the economy is in shambles, I don’t have a large budget.

Here is some basic info for both offices. End-user base is comprised of a mixture of Mac and PC users, but mostly PC users.

ISP: Comcast.
Bandwidth: cable (not exactly sure of the Mbps)
Hardware: SMC Model 8014

NYC – (Sales)
ISP: Verizon
Bandwidth: ADSL (not exactly sure of the Mbps)
Hardware: Westell Model A90

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March 25, 2009 at 10:02:21
what is your proposed budget?

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March 25, 2009 at 10:12:16
I'm only looking at a few hundred dollars. The powers-that-be are from a different school of thought when it comes to technology and business. They want it to work for the cheapest possible price. Any suggestions.

Right now we have one Public IP pointing to the one server internally. Is there a way for me to set up multiple users to access the same server using the one public? or will I need to orders separate public IPs for each user.

My total knowledge of networking is limited to the basic and this is the first time I've ever done something like this.

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March 25, 2009 at 10:27:54
Management can't ask for international connectivity for a few hundred bucks. Don't waste your time trying to supply this.

What you want is site to site vpns. I use Sonicwalls for this. These are firewall/routers/vpn devices. You put one at each site and a higher end unit at the main site. The vpns are created thru the internet from device to device. This gives each site access to the main site and any/all servers you want just like everyone was in the same building/lan.

I use this setup to connect multiuser sites to the main office.

This setup is in the thousands of dollars.

A cheaper option is to buy a vpn client capable router like the Linksys WRVS4400N. You install the linksys vpn client on a remote machine that has access to the internet. The client is authenicated by the vpn router which than gives the client access to the network.

I use this method to connect single roaming users or sites with only 1-2 users to the main office.

This is in the 100's of dollars but you can see its limitations for growth.

Both solutions are dependent on bandwidth at both ends.

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March 25, 2009 at 10:44:21

the later solution sounds like it would work okay. I just have a small question. Will multiple users (1-3 users tops at any given moment) be able to connect to one server at the same time with this solution. Similarly, will I be able to route traffic to another server using this device assuming I purchase additional public IP addresses from my ISP?

again my apologies of these questions sounds silly.

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March 25, 2009 at 11:30:43
You only need one public ip address and that goes on the wan interface.

The amount of users really depends on provided bandwidth but 1-5 should not be a problem.

Since both servers should be on the same lan no routing is required. If routing was required you would need an additional router [that being the nature of routing.]

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March 25, 2009 at 18:25:29
Might look at a cheap box running untangle.

My guess would be more secure and easier to config and control.

"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, antivirus, anti-spyware, Live CD's, backups, are in my top 10

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