Remote networking?

At my office we have two computers and I bring in my laptop with me.  They are networked and I connect through a wireless connection.  I am doing most of my work out of my house, but am not sure how to connect to them via the internet without messing their system up any.  The main computer has XP Pro, but it looked as if to connect and run things remotely from it would take out the ability to function on that computer at the same time.  Is this true?  Is there a better way for me to gain access to the network by the internet so that I can do all that is need at my house?  I have Windows XP home, on a newly purchased laptop.  Thankyou in advance...
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Hello Geoffrey,

You are correct if you try to work over the internet via Remote Desktop you will take the other users ability to work on that computer away.  If you need access to network resources like files or applications you might want to consider using a VPN (virtual private network) connection into their facility.

I assume boty you and the "work" network have broadband connections to the internet (dial-up is just too slow for VPN access and work transmissions).  If so then you will need to configure the cable-router to allow VPN access.  It should be configured using persistent port forwarding.  It would also be good to purchase static IP addresses for the "work" end so that you do not have to deal with the possibility of the ISP changing the IP address assigned to the WAN interface on the "work" router.

I would also recommend upgrading the OS on your laptop to XP Pro.  Pro offers the needed network features that were stripped from the home edition, though it may be possible it may cause you headaches through out the process.  If you could give a little more information regarding the network structure on both sides it might generate a few more ideas.

Hope this helps.

GeoffreyPittmanAuthor Commented:
Thankyou Lyle,
         More info: we have the lynksys wireless router, but without a broadband connection.  It is something I have tried to look into but with not much success.  Our office is just outside of the major city lines, so the DSL servers won't run there, neither will the cable internet.  Of course we could use the satellite internet but the cost is $600 for installation and afterwards $60 a month.  That is not so bad of a deal and we may go with this...  
         I have a disk for windows xp pro and will install it as you mentioned.  
        Do you have a suggestion for gaining broadband connection?  Is there something I have overlooked?  I have it on my end (as I live in the city), but it has been difficult at the office.  
     Also how much does it cost for VPN?

I have used satellite connection for internet access at one of my satellite offices and it seemed to work pretty good.  If there are going to be a lot of users the bandwidth suffers.  We first started with about 6-8 users online and once we added a classroom of about 8 more getting them all online via the satellite connection was much slower.  You did say that the office had only two users right...if so you should be able to use satellite without to much trouble...of course this will depend on the reliability of the ISP :-( .  In general my experience with satellite was good.

As for the VPN check into the documentation on the router or visit their website for the most current/accurate information, you should be able to simply configure persistent port forwarding to allow inbound VPN access.  If possible purchase a static ip address from the ISP.  This will simplify management, if you ip address changes like it does with DHCP then you will have to reconfigure your VPN settings on the client side.  Windows XP allows you to create a VPN client simply by creating another network connection (follow the wizard in properties of my network places then click create a new network connection).

Post any questions.


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GeoffreyPittmanAuthor Commented:
Thankyou Lyle, that is very helpful.  Geoffrey
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