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setting up a network

Posted on 2005-03-31
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Last Modified: 2010-04-10
What is your advice for setting up a network between six offices (some international) with remote access also. The offices have no more than 20 computers (a couple as little as six). There is a LAN connection in each office to the existing computers but none of the offices are connected to each other. The remote users want to connect just as easily on the road as they do in the office.
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Question by:farve04
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16 Comments
 
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:pseudocyber
ID: 13670711
Put VPN concentrators at each office with a connection to the Internet.  If you get some decent boxes, you could run Branch Office connections in a full mesh, a partial mesh, or a hub and spoke topology for connectivity between offices through the VPN tunnels.  Your remote users could also connect with client software connections from the Internet to the VPN concentrators - which ever they wanted - or you allowed.

We use Nortel Contivities for this:  http://www.nortel.com/products/01/contivity/

You could also use Cisco 3000's http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/vpndevc/ps2284/index.html or whatever you prefer.  In your scenario, I would recommend staying away from Small Office Home Office gear such as Linksys.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:minmei
ID: 13670720
Do they all have internet access? If so, then VPN is probably the cheapest and easiest way to go.  Get a VPN device for each site, set up tunnels between the sites, set each site (if need be, or just the main site) to allow remote access from VPN clients to give you remote access capability.

If each site has a firewall, it may already support VPN connectivity. If they do not have firewalls, you can get a PIX 501 or similar other brand which will act as firewall and VPN device.

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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:samccarthy
ID: 13670787
Here is what I recommend.  It works great in my City with my remote offices and would for you too.

At each location, I would setup a Watchguard Firebox X Edge firewall.  I would use the X-15 model which will provide for up to 30 concurrent users and has 12 or 15 Gateway to Gateway tunnels.  With these, I would setup the IPsec VPN tunnels between all the units in a Mesh arrangement or with just the home office as in a hub and spoke arrangement.  If you do it this way, with the smaller offices you can get away with a cheaper X-5 unit.  An X-15 will set you back about $450 each and a X-5 about $350.  Make each site a different subnet for ease of administration.  1 could be 192.168.10.0/24, 2 could be 192.168.20.0/24, etc.

This way, you will have all your locations connected together.  The firewalls also come with mobile user VPN licenses, so even from the road, a user can VPN into a location and be connected to all of them.

Once connected, you could all join the corporate domain and use all the benefits of AD, Group Policy, network shares and simplified administration.  If you choose not to, that's fine too as your sites are still all connected.
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Accepted Solution

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herbus earned 2000 total points
ID: 13670788
Whether you want/need all six offices tied together or not, it sounds like the solution you're after is a VPN.

A VPN at each site, whether it's a hardware device or software solution, could accept incoming connections from whomever you authorised for remote access... they could then access their emails, documents, whatever... if they have their own portable devices then you'll be able to keep it all relatively secure as well... if they're expected to connect from public terminals like from internet cafes, then the solution you put in place will be more complex, depending on how much weight security holds for the organisation...

With VPN devices at each site, it would be relatively straight-forward to tie all the offices together also...

It's a pretty broad question you've asked, so I don't know how much detail I can go in to, but do some homework and assess how different products will work for your situation... A service provider that operates in all the office locations, or a selection or providers willing to work with each other, might allow you to get a managed VPN service, which means you wouldn't have to worry about maintennance, etc...

To give you an idea of how simple this can be... when I started at my last job they needed all sites linked, and remote users to have access from home... while something more fancy (and expensive) can be put in later, the first thing I did was to setup Microsoft ISA Server at each location as a VPN gateway-to-gateway... we already owned the software capable of it,.. maybe you do too?

Hope this helps out a little
Cheers,
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:sciwriter
ID: 13677212
homework Q?
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:pseudocyber
ID: 13709674
Hmm, you accept the fourth person who repeats the same thing as the previous three, and don't split the points!?!? :(
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:herbus
ID: 13712658
I'm not the one who dishes out the points, but if it counts for anything there were no other responses when I started typing my post for this :/

Besides, I've been in plenty where I've missed out on an assist or whatever,.. so long as the question is answered then everyone's happy, no?

farve, even though we haven't heard from you since the initial question, it's good to hear you've got it sorted out (I guess)!

Cheers

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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:pseudocyber
ID: 13713958
Herbus, I know, I was directing my comment towards Farve - the "feedback" link seems to have disappeared - or I'm going blind ... ;)
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:samccarthy
ID: 13715653
I agree,,,,,  Same thing.  Not even a split on the points.  I had 2 last week where the accepted answer did not even address the question, but everyone was stiffed on points who did provide lots of revelent assistance.
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Author Comment

by:farve04
ID: 13719032
Wow - you people are unreal. I had every intention of splitting points until someone put in the comment about a school question (I haven't been in school for 15 years). I wasn't going to give that person any points. Because of this I have cancelled my service, which I was really enjoying until I saw the attitudes of the "experts".
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:minmei
ID: 13719077
farve,

Like anything else, sometimes a few can ruin the experience of many.

Don't judge the rest of us by some points-grabbing behavior by a few.

Most are happy for points, but answer questions to help others who are where we were at one time and didn't have anyone to take the hard questions to.

Give it a chance.
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:herbus
ID: 13720381
What minmei said!  :)
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:samccarthy
ID: 13723166
Before anyone gets thrown into a group classified as "points grabbing" or people start accusing others of that, maybe everyone should take a step back.  I don't know pseudo personally, only through the forums here, but I can say that what I have seen is a real willingness to help people with their problems and does not go begging for points.

As for myself, I try to help whomever I can, so I'll say, if you don't know me, then I would appreciate not having comments like that directed at myself either.   Years ago, I got so frustrated with EE and just such behaviors as exactly what happened in this thread, that I stopped visiting.  It took over 5 years for me to find my way back.

If one person made a comment about homework, which IMHO might be legit, I don't believe it is a valid excuse to then ignore all the correct answers or "punish everyone else" for one comment.   Going by the rules and guidelines of EE, the first correct answer should get the points or they should be split among those providing the correct answer.

Many of us had experiences where the points were not handed out according to the EE guidelines.  Cyber was just questioning why the 4th answer got the points and not the earlier ones.  I expressed the same question.

I'm sure I'm like the vast majority here.  I have a family, I have a full time job handling the network for an entire city as well as everything at home.  Getting on EE, helping out people, sometimes recreating their problem, doing research, trying different solutions and keeping up with threads can sometimes take hours out of the day.  The majority of the time there
is not even a "Thanks" for helping out.  Maybe the question is just abandoned.  Maybe the poster just closes it.

Sometimes you get the points, sometimes you don't.  Most people won't say anything if they are handed out fairly and by EE Guidelines.  When you will get comments is when people invest their time and effort, find the right solution and then get passed over for a share of the points that should be distributed otherwise.

I have been in posts where I spent hours researching and documenting step by step procedures.  I have been the first post and sometimes the only post with the correct answer, but then get stiffed when the points are awarded to either the last poster who said "I agree with the above" or worse, an answer that has absolutely nothing to do with the question.

Give out the points according to the guidelines we all agreed to abide by.  That is all most people ask here.  If mistakes are made or if they are given out differently, I see nothing wrong with an expert questioning Why or asking for what they feel they should have gotten. If it's a judment call and the poster answers, that is usually enough to satisfy whomever is asking.

Would you refuse to pay the doctor or mechanic who did all the tests or diagnosed your problem and then only pay the 4th opinion you got?  I don't think so.

I see nothing wrong with psuedo or my question about the points.  If farve leaves EE over this, then it is his loss IMHO


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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:pseudocyber
ID: 13725702
Hey thanks Sam.  Well said. :)
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:herbus
ID: 13729372
I'm too lazy to read all that but I'm sure I'd probably agree,.. :)
...unless it's bad, in which case I don't :P
But yeah, if every now and then you don't agree with the points thing then count to 5 and forget about it or something... no big deal,.. if the probs fixed then everyone can be happy knowing full well that EE saved the day once again :D
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:pseudocyber
ID: 13730809
What happened to the feedback option?
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