Remote Access

Hi,
I hope someone can give me a bit of advice.
I'm currently trying to put together a decent Remote Access solution for my little company and I've been looking at the 3Com SuperStack II.  Does anyone know if this is the best thing for the job or are there better alternatives?  We have between 4 & 10 people who require remote access and some have ISDN, some have 56k modems and others may eventually have ADSL.  Is it a simple case of buying the base unit and then the particular type of cards to support each method of access?
cheers
Bruce
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bsandemanAsked:
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SysExpertCommented:
It depends on how many need simultaneous access. What kind of Internet connection do you have at the office ?
Have you looked into VPN technology on a RAS server or over the Internet ?
Please give more details of what you already have setup in your office, so that an integrated solution can be provided.


I'll find more info and get back to you.
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SysExpertCommented:
From the 3com site, I see no built in support for telecommuting, no RAS, and no VPN. All the 3Com SuperStack II provides is a switching HUB. It will sipport external devices , but has no built in interfaces for what you need. Please explain further and maybe I can help.
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jlevieCommented:
I you want to support direct access to your network via modem or ISDN, you need some form of terminal server. That can be as simple as a modem or two (analog & ISDN) connected to some system that dialup access (via RAS on windows or pppd on Unix/Linux). Or it could be a dedicated terminal server like those offered by Livingston/Lucent like the PM2 (http://www.lucent.com/ins/products/portmaster2.html) or the Ascend/Lucent Max 800 (http://www.lucent.com/ins/products/max/max800_a.html), and others.

While RAS or pppd and modems on a workstation are the cheapest way, the dedicated terminal servers are more reliable and stable. Once set up, they'll pretty much run without requiring any attention other than adding/deleting users. They seldom need re-booting and there aren't any disks or other things to fail.

ADSL requires access from the Internet. If you are at all concerned about network security (and you ought to be) you need to consider using VPN's to connect remote users to your network. VPN access requires that the local network have a full time Internet link of reasonable speed, say 128Kbps or better. There are a number of ways VPN's can be implemented, ranging from simple nodes on the network providing VPN services all the way up to full blown Cisco (and other) router/firewalls providing IKE/IPSec VPN services.
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sash031299Commented:
if you just need to share files vpn is the best way to go. remember, if you want dial-up (ras) you need phone lines for each of the modems. very expensive. if you have nt server, you dont need anymore software to use vpn.
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bsandemanAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the comments,
I've been away for the last 3 days at a stag do!
Firstly, Our setup at present is 4 analogue modems (for RAS), on our Windows NT file server : Which all works fine (most of the time).  Currently we have ISDN dial-up to the Internet, hopefully moving to ADSL in June/July.  We have between 6 & 10 people that need access, I don't want to plug lots of modems into different NT boxes, as it will make a big mess.
I want one piece of kit that can handle it all.
The 3com SuperStack II RAS1500 is the exact one I was looking at and it seems to offer a lot in terms of Remote Access.

cheers
Bruce
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jlevieCommented:
The RAS1500 should be able to do what you want. Also either of the two items I referenced above can also provide that funtionality if you want to do a bit of comparison shopping. I've not had occasion to use the RAS1500, but I have had considerable experience with the Ascend & Livingston gear. Both have worked admirably and I've gotten excellent support from the vendors.
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bsandemanAuthor Commented:
thanks for all your help.
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