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networking head office and branch office

Posted on 2002-05-06
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I'm not a network guy but is helping a friend better prepared when he talks about his requirements to network solutions provider. Hope you guys can provide some insights.


Background about my friend's business
- real estate company
- 1 head office and 5 branches
- estimated desktops in offices, 12 in head office and around 5 in branch office
- printers in offices, 2 in head office, 1 in each branch
- head office has 2 floors, 1 printer in each floor
- NOT networked at this point in time


I'm trying to do a quick proposal for my friend to use as a basis of reference.

Question
1. How to connect between head office and branch office
so that they can share files easily?

2. Branch offices submit their excel files containing listings of property sales, rental etc...

file size is around 10500kbytes (max) and probably transfer is done at the end of the day. I would think the transfer should not take more than 10 minutes.

Does this affect the bandwidth require for connecting the offices together?

3. What kind of hardware is needed to network the individual office (LAN) and the various offices together (some form of WAN)?

4. Will VPN be a good alternative as well, given their relatively low bandwidth usage?


Thanks.
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Question by:slok
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by:cfarca
cfarca earned 33 total points
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I will go with:
1-Windows 2000 Advance Server in HO for file/printer sharing between the users.
2-hubs in HO for connecting the users on the two floors and the two floors in between.
1-Router (four ports small size - SMC, NETGEAR, etc) for internet connection.
1-Cable modem or ADSL internet connection.
I will install a small router (SMC Baricade, NETGEAR, etc.. a four port router with VPN pass thru) in HO for internet connection and VPN. I will install RRAS on the Win2K server for VPN connectivity and I will use MSCHAPv.2 with IPSec for VPN security.
I will install Windows 2000 Proffessional on the remote clients pc with VPN for remote connection.
Hope this will help, Chris.
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by:xema
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I will set the networks on each site, a hub or switch per site, except on de Head Office on wich I will place a Switch on each floor and will uplink both switches, depending on the brand&model of the printers I will use a network card or an external print server on each of the printers.

I will setup a machine as a Dial up Server on the Head Office and set a schedule for the comunication of the branch offices, this way the individual networks won't be exposed to the internet and the only security hole I see is the DUS.

BTW on win 98 SE you have the DUS, so you won't need to buy the server software.

This setup may be useful to try and then it is possible to upgrade to a stronger, securere and expensiver set up.
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by:slok
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xema,

will dial-up be able to easily transfer the files within say 10 minutes?

and when u say set a machine for DUS, does it need to have modem or it is just some connection between machine and telephone lines which typically the telephone operators will take care of?

thanks
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by:xema
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I will set the networks on each site, a hub or switch per site, except on de Head Office on wich I will place a Switch on each floor and will uplink both switches, depending on the brand&model of the printers I will use a network card or an external print server on each of the printers.

I will setup a machine as a Dial up Server on the Head Office and set a schedule for the comunication of the branch offices, this way the individual networks won't be exposed to the internet and the only security hole I see is the DUS.

BTW on win 98 SE you have the DUS, so you won't need to buy the server software.

This setup may be useful to try and then it is possible to upgrade to a stronger, securere and expensiver set up.
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by:xema
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The DUS machine will need a modem, as the machines on the branch offices, the branch offices will dial to the Head Office and the DUS will answer the call, then both computers will be connected on a WAN, that's a network of wide area, as for the time needed to move the files it will depend on the size of the file and the telephone line characteristics but I will say it will take longer, about 30 min for a 10.5 MB file or 3 min per MB.

One option to reduce the time required by the transmitions is to compress the file, using something like winzip, so the bytes transmited are less than if you send the file uncompressed.
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by:xema
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The DUS machine will need a modem, as the machines on the branch offices, the branch offices will dial to the Head Office and the DUS will answer the call, then both computers will be connected on a WAN, that's a network of wide area, as for the time needed to move the files it will depend on the size of the file and the telephone line characteristics but I will say it will take longer, about 30 min for a 10.5 MB file or 3 min per MB.

One option to reduce the time required by the transmitions is to compress the file, using something like winzip, so the bytes transmited are less than if you send the file uncompressed.
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scraig84 earned 34 total points
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Personally, I wouldn't trust any design based on that little of information...

Any network designer worth their salt would be asking a number of questions, such as how many simultaneous users will be on the line, what other applications do you see be used throughout the day, what future uses (applications) do you see being used, what are the budget constraints, how far apart are the offices, where are the offices, what is managements standpoint on security issues, etc, etc, etc.  These are just a few questions to get started.  Designing is never as easy as taking a few requirements and slapping it together.  You can do this, but you will probably pay more in the end with the amount that you have to rework the solution.

No offense to the people who have already answered your question, and hopefully you are getting some different ideas, but their willingness to give hard-and-fast answers with very little info tells me that they have not designed much in the past and are giving you one of the few solutions they know or have used themselves.  There are a number of technologies that could possibly work depending on the requirements, such as leased line, frame relay, ISDN, VPN, etc.

All in all, my advice is that your friend should bring someone in that can sit down and ask the right questions to get a proper design in place if he doesn't have that ability himself.  Believe me that the cost to bring someone in will be less than the headaches and cost of flying by the seat of your pants.

Good Luck!
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by:ymash
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There are many ways to accomplish this and every person would do it differently. The main thing here realyl is money and how fast you want your network. you can go as low as setting up dialup connection that take forever and aren't reliable, or you can put T1's and have faster more reliable speeds. you can have simple firewalls to protect you, or you can buy checkpoint or others and go all out. there are many variables and I think you really need someone to consult and help you figure this out.
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by:CleanupPing
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slok:
This old question needs to be finalized -- accept an answer, split points, or get a refund.  For information on your options, please click here-> http:/help/closing.jsp#1
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