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Connect a remote notebook application via internet to an application on an office network

When the staff is in the office, they connect a notebook to a DB application on an XP Pro PC via a wireless network. When they leave the local office to work in a remote office, they download a copy of the DB to the notebook and go to work at the remote office. The DB application allows synchronization when they arrive back at the local affice and login to the application via the wireless network. I want them to be able to accomplish the synchronization over the internet so that they do not always have to return to the local office. Does anyone have any suggestions on the best way (least costly) way to accomplish this?
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ThomasoM
Asked:
ThomasoM
1 Solution
 
victornegriCommented:
The best way is to set up a VPN connection and the laptop will think it's in the local office and sync properly and securely.
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ThomasoMAuthor Commented:
Thank you Victor. Can you point me to a resource that will help me define a VPN?
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victornegriCommented:
What operating system are you running on your server? What routers do you have between your server and the internet?

Here's a link to a bunch of resources for configuring a Windows 2003 Server VPN:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itsolutions/network/vpn/default.mspx

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Rob WilliamsCommented:
As suggested a VPN is probably the best bet. You could also use an FTP server but there can be security risks with that. The VPN can be set up with a VPN router and client, or you can use the built in Windows VPN. Excellent instructions ca be found at the following sites:
Windows 2003 VPN server
http://www.onecomputerguy.com/networking/xp_vpn_server.htm
The client end can be configured with the following:
http://www.onecomputerguy.com/networking/xp_vpn.htm
This can be configured with other versions of Windows. Please advise if you need instructions, or you can find most here:
http://www.onecomputerguy.com/networking.htm

You will also have to forward port 1723 on the router at the 'server' end to the computer acting as a VPN server. Finally on the same router you need to enable PPTP pass-through. This could be called GRE, PPTP or VPN pass-through depending on the router.You can find specific information as to how to configure port forwarding for your router at:
http://www.portforward.com/english/routers/port_forwarding/routerindex.htm
Click on the link for your router and on the resulting page click on the link for "Point to Point Tunneling Protocol"

If you don't have a static public IP address at the office you can also use a DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name Services) such as www.dyndns.com to deal with the changing

If you want to look at the router and client option the Linksys RV042 is a very affordable choice:
http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C2&childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1123638171618&pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper
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bbrunningCommented:
Port 1723 is not necessary if pptp is an option on the router.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
>>"Port 1723 is not necessary if if pptp is an option on the router"
If the option of using a router exists, then all of the PPTP options above are of no consequence. <G> The instructions are for a Windows VPN server using PPTP which requires port 1723 be forwarded.
If using a router is an option, in most cases you would use IPSec instead of PPTP, and one of the benefits of using a router is no ports need to be forwarded. As each router is configured differently we would need to know make and model to provide more information, if you have a router that supports direct connection by a VPN.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Thanks ThomasoM,
--Rob
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