Basic WAN setup and options

Hi

I am working for a company that is based in London, we also have an office in Delhi. I have recently set up a VPN tunnel between the two sites. I have got my laptop working (previously registered on the domain) and one other client that has been added. This was relatively straight forward and is "working". (I'm in Delhi at the moment)

The first issue is speed, both sites are on a 512kbps connection, London at 20:1 and Delhi at 3:1. (London appears a lot faster than Delhi). Both are ADSL, the server is based in London - is there any reliable way of improving speed - i am not expecting fast data transfer but my machine does seem to run very slowly when working via the VPN tunnel (doing any operation). If I get a SDSL connection I guess that would be an improvement as all comunication inevitably includes an "upload" section - any thoughts? The VPN tunnel is set up between two cisco PIX's.

My next issue is that one of my main reasons for setting it up was to have all documents and emails stored centrally. We operate MS Exchange in London but are approaching the 16Gb limit and I have been told that switching to full version exchange is not that straight forward/cheap! I am thinking of all the clients (Delhi) working off exchange but downloading to a normal .pst file. This is more out of necessity than design.... but I think that I can get around this less flexible solution by having some kind of network storage device. Where a large HDD is set to have a series of folders (like user areas) where the .pst files and "My Docs" are kept. Then when a user logs into the client machine the Mapped drive will point to their "user" area on the storage device. This way people can swap desks and we can centrally back-up all the data. Will this work? Is there a better way of doing it?

I am thinking that I can just set up a w2k machine on the network with a fixed IP address and backup software etc - will this be OK? I don't think I can justify the expense of a full NAS device.

Any thoughts on the above will be much appreciated.

Thanks

Ben

p.s. I need to order any hardware in the morning... so please be quick!
benburch25Asked:
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scampgbCommented:
Hi benburch25,
The suitabilty of any network design (and subsequent speed) will depend entirely on what data you're transferring over it.  What exactly are you doing over the VPN tunnel?

As for the difference in ADSL speed.  The actual line speed & contention is only one element of the equation.  For example, the connections between the ISP in Delhi and your ISP in London could be a limiting factor.  Go to http://www.adslguide.org for a bit more info on this and access to speed comparison tests.  This is UK-specific though.

SDSL may help - but for me to comment on that I'd need to have a much better idea of your traffic patterns.

Your plan about having the users in Delhi download their emails from Exchange to a "local" PST file is a good solution.  The Enterprise version of Exchange is quite pricey.
If you set up a small LAN in Delhi and share a directory on a W2K machine, that should work well.  You're right about needing backups though :-)

What sort of machine you need for this will depend on the number of users that need to access it, and how heavily it'll be accessed.  Bear in mind that NAS boxes are essentially PCs anyway :-)

Does that help?
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benburch25Author Commented:
Thanks very much,

The main traffic is emails, we have a few graphic designers who i am trying to educate and avoid the sending of massive emails..... 148Mb in one email! One designer reached the 2Gb liimit in two months.

Is there any reason why my laptops normal functions should be operating slower now?

I don't expect to be able to transfer large graphics files and that is another main reason for having central storage of them. We are only talking about 10 machines in Delhi.

Will I be able to map the drives to a specifc folder based on a logon script? i.e. if some one logs onto a different machines they can just goto "My Docs" and they'll have there documents?

The Delhi office is currently connected up via a switch so I think I can just add the "NAS" into the network and map away.

Thanks for you info so far.

Ben
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scampgbCommented:
Graphic designers have a tendency to do that ;-)

As for normal laptop functions, no - not that I can think of.  Unless you're accessing any files or services over the VPN link it shouldn't make much difference.  Bear in mind that the maintaining the VPN link itself will take some processing power.
Get a copy of Process Explorer from www.sysinternal.com  This will let you know what's using up all your processor time and memory.

> Will I be able to map the drives to a specifc folder based on a logon script?

Yes, that's not particularly complicated at all.

> i.e. if some one logs onto a different machines they can just  goto "My Docs" and they'll have there documents?

That's a different matter :)
You can do this using the "Folder Redirection" functionality of Group Policy, assuming that those users are logging into an Active Directory domain.
I'm happy to advise further on that stuff, but I'll need a lot more information about your domain structure and how you want the users to access the files.  
For example:
Do they each need their own directory, or do you want a shared one?
Is there an OU that contains just the Delhi members?
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benburch25Author Commented:
Thanks,

We're nearly there  I think.

The users are logging on using active directory so I don't think I'll have too many problems setting the mapped drives up. I have not done a folder redirection before.

I will set up a file for each (india office) user on the network storage and then set the access priviledges to that folder to be user only. What is the general procedure for setting up a group policy? Sorry not sure what an OU is?

I can muddle through most of the problems if I know the starting point!

Thanks

Ben
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scampgbCommented:
An OU is an Organizational Unit.  You create one in Active Directory Users and Computers.

Right-click > New > OU

This article should get you started http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000serv/howto/grpolwt.mspx
It'll take a bit of time to plan and get right, but worth it in the end :-)
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scampgbCommented:
Incidentally, this link will help with the folder redirection work: http://www.computerperformance.co.uk/w2k3/gp/group_policy_folder_redirect.htm
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scampgbCommented:
Glad I could help :-)
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