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Thread: Connecting remotely

  1. #1
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    Question Connecting remotely

    I have a basic problem of understanding and trust that someone can explain a few things for me.

    A friend of mine runs a small business and I've set up the network and machines for him, plus an ADSL connection. All basic stuff using modem router, ethernet switch and bundles of wires.

    The machines are running mostly WinXP with one on Win2000 pro.

    He now wants to be able to connect remotely from home as if his home machine were on the network (rather than using something like VNC or PCanywhere).

    So, the questions...

    1. Is this what VPN is all about?

    2. If so, is that the only way to do it?

    3. Can it be done with the systems he's already got or does he need to put Win200x Server on a machine?

    4. Is ther a Linux server configuration that could provide this? (Money is very tight)

    5. Although the office has broadband, if the remote connection is via a modem, is the whole thing too slow to consider?

    6. I've heard of 'terminal services'; what's that all about?

    I hope that someone can help with this. Although technically competent in many areas, I've never looked at this area before.

    Ken.

  2. #2
    Security Intelligence TZ Veteran cash_site's Avatar
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    I think you are on the right track, but probably need more information to exactly what your friend wants to do from home and what tasks are actually required from the work's network.

    Virtual Private Network, would allow your friend to 'dial-in' (via modem or ADSL) to his work network, then his home pc will get assigned an internal IP and they would be able to talk to the 'server' and other computers/printers etc from Home to work. They would also be able to Remote Desktop to the PCs in the work network via VPN without having to open that specific port in the router.

    I think you can install VPN end-point software on normal Operating Systems, but best bet would either to get a router that has VPN end-point built in, or a windows 200x server that has the Remote Access component installed.

    I'm sure there is a Linux solution, someone may be able to elaborate on that...

    If they just want emails, you should be able to setup a virtual SMTP server on one of the XP PCs, then just relay the messages to his POP account from home.

    Good luck.

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  3. #3
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    Many thanks for your quick response!

    Generally they want to be able to do from home most of the things they can do when connected to the network locally; examine their accounts system, access their stock control system, etc. - in fact be able to work from home.

    Personally I'm a bit concerned about the amount of data that would be flying around and am suggesting a VNC desktop approach would be more efficient but they are concerned that it would effectively take an office machine out of action while it was going on and further exacerbated if two people need to connect remotely at the same time.

    Ken.

  4. #4
    Security Intelligence TZ Veteran cash_site's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Moore
    Many thanks for your quick response!
    Personally I'm a bit concerned about the amount of data that would be flying around and am suggesting a VNC desktop approach would be more efficient but they are concerned that it would effectively take an office machine out of action while it was going on and further exacerbated if two people need to connect remotely at the same time.
    Good points...

    Remote Desktop or VNC might be good, Im not 100% but I think you might be able to have different RDC session running on one PC at the same time, ie User A logs in remotely, and User B can do the same...

    On any account, it sounds like they either need a server for VPN/VNC etc or at least another dedicated XP box (perhaps headless) for quick Remote Desktop connections...

    --- 0wN3D by 3gG ---

  5. #5
    Triple Platinum Member Curio's Avatar
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    You need a special router at the host end. One which will allow either VPN passthrough with a VPN server on the network or more practically a VPN end-point router which handles all the VPN server bit. However the network connection if you do not use remote desking of some sort will be pants. You are used to using a 100Mbps connection in office - you will get something like 1/250th of that speed over a 512 ADSL with VPN. Consequently it will drive you mad and make you throw things at the PC because it takes 2 minutes to open a file. That speed of VPN is suitable for remote desktop or for checking mail. You will want a 2MB broadband connection both ends for any useful direct VPN to office network - and even that may make you angry.

  6. #6
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    That's useful info. I realised that it'd be slow but not quite how slow.

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