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Mapping drives over the internet

Hello all,

I am new to this kind of setup and I need your help.

We have 3 remote sites with ADSL connections and static IP adds. At the MAIN site (Site 1) we plan on installing a domain working on a WIN 2003 server enviroment. There will be only 1 client in the LAN.

The other sites will be clients running win XP Pro SP2. What we want to do is create maps of the client drives on each site ie.

Site 1: Mapping of HDD of Sites 2 & 3
Site 2: Mapping of HDD of Sites 1 & 3
Site 3: Mapping of HDD of Sites 1 & 2

How can this be accomplished?
Do we need to create a vpn?
Do we need the server to be acting as a terminal server?
Do we need "special" routers?
Do we need a second server?

Any suggestions are appreciated, this is urgent!

Cheers
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ignts
Asked:
ignts
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2 Solutions
 
tomerleiCommented:
VPN will give you the solution.
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tomerleiCommented:
if you connect computers across the internet with VPN the connection makes it act as the computers are on the same local LAN, which gives you the option of mapping network drives.
more info about VPN and how to install:
http://support.real-time.com/windows/vpn/windows_xp_vpn.html
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
Although you will be able to do what you need with just a VPN, you will find that file access is extremely slow, and perhaps may not work at all with these ADSL connections...  I manage over 50 remote sites, using VPNs, and the only way to really get this to work on my corp LAN / WAN is using Terminal Services.. in fact, we use  a Citrix solution for our remote mapped drives...  I suppose it really depends on the size of the data you need access to here...  ???

I also suggest you use a Cisco Solution (VPN concentrator with a Cisco VPN Client)
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igntsAuthor Commented:
Ok I think I get the configuration needed from the clients, however can someone provide help on configuring the pc running win2003 server or links on how to do this. Same applies on what should i keep an eye for when it comes to routers ports etc.
@ tomerlei the link provided is about connecting xp clients to linux server.

Cheers
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igntsAuthor Commented:
@ Fatal_Exception

Citrix wont do the trick. It was what we initially checked but its not what we need. Cisco equipement is also out of the question. The solution we need must be based on WIN 2003 Server, Win XP Pro SP2 for remote sites and Linksys routers. Further more, could you possibly elaborate on the use of terminal services as I am a bit confused when it comes to that :S(! It is smth we are looking into.

Cheers
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
Then perhaps you need to consider a VPN hardware to hardware solution..  Linksys does provide these types of routers:

http://www.homenethelp.com/vpn/router-linksys.asp

If you want to use the server:

How To Configure IPSec Tunneling in Windows Server 2003

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/816514

And, you better get up to speed on TS licensing before you make Terminal Services decisions:

The Ultimate Guide to Windows 2003 Terminal Server Licensing

http://www.brianmadden.com/content/content.asp?id=154
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nhonCommented:
you can map network drive with \\ipstatic\driveshared
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igntsAuthor Commented:
Ok now I am confused!

It seems that we all agree that a VPN is the way to go. However, is it obligatory in order to create a VPN to use terminal services, keeping in mind that what we want to accomplish is mapping drives betweem clients? Let me say at this point that all sites will be using Linksys WAG54GS routers.

Cheers
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
No, you don't have to use TS for this...  We map the drives using it, but you certainly do not..  If you are joining the remote computers to the domain though, you might have 1) logon problems 2) scripting map drives issues...  But if you are not joining them, then you could map the drives locally..
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igntsAuthor Commented:
Ok we are now getting somewhere.

I understood the part on how to create a VPN connection from the client side. I am still not sure on the configuration needed on the server side. I mean in the end, how must I configure the server in order to have a VPN?

Also, if I understand correctly, in order to join the remote clients to the main site domain we should use TS, is that correct? And I guess if we do that then the clients will appear on the network as if they were local clients and thus we will be able to map drives as we would on any LAN, correct?

If the above assumptions are correct, then thats what we want to do, however I am still no sure on how we will do this.
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igntsAuthor Commented:
s
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igntsAuthor Commented:
sry about that!

@ Fatal Exception: http://www.onecomputerguy.com/networking/w3k_vpn_server.htm is this accurate concerning the configuration needed from the server side?
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igntsAuthor Commented:
Oh and 1 final question, can we do this with only one server acting as DC, TS, and file server?
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
No, you don't use TS to join the clients..  It just serves as a place to map drives, and serve applications..  Problem with joining clients over a VPN (without a lot of bandwidth) is that manytimes the clients have problems contacting the DC..  you could however place a DC at the remote location and do it that way..  Another problem that comes with VPNs is that each location must be on a different subnet..  meaning that Network Browsing will not work unless you have a WINs server at each location..  Browse Lists do not transmit between subnets without WINs at both subnets..  If you need to know more about Netbios and Browsing, you can read the article on my website here:

http://24.160.178.164/KipSolutions/NetBios/netbios.htm

Configuration of a standard VPN on Server 2003 and clients, and the router ports to open:

Hey, since we are working on a similar issue, and RobWill just outlined the correct steps in making a VPN connection with a standard client and W2K3...  why don't I just submit the link to his recommendation...

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Microsoft_Network/Q_22071277.html?qid=22071277

FE
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Before going to far with this, as Fatal_Exception touched on earlier, there is the connection speed issue. Why do you need to map the drives ?  Though VPN's work very well and are ideal for mapping drives, I always like to ask if this involves database applications. They do not "play" well over slow links at all. Just thought I should point that out, as it hasn't been brought up.
--Rob
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igntsAuthor Commented:
Rob,

Yes there is database applications involved, however only for reporting pusposes, no transactions will be involved. Also the DSL connections will be 512/192, which I think will be sufficient.
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
Just so you understand, and from my own experiences with adding clients to the domain without a local DC and operating via a VPN...  we have a remote corp office that is tied to our Headquarters with 2 Full T1 lines, point to point...  and even in this configuration I get calls from those remote users about not being able to log in to our domain..  usually it just takes a few more tries, but it does generate tech support calls, so be prepared for these in your situation..  :)

and, we do have to run our Database Apps via the Citrix servers...  as Rob mentions, these do not work well with a VPN..  or in our case, even with dual P2P T1s...
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igntsAuthor Commented:
Fatal,

I understand where you are coming from, however we are talking about 3 users in our case, I think the dsl's we ll do the job. Further more our development geek - guy just told me that he is making a utility that will be based on winsock (whatever that is) and will not need drive mapping and it sounds to me like a mini-mini citrix. Our basic need is to run 1 report on 3 data sets to see if one item is available and where in any of the 3 sites.

In any case we are prob going to go with that for now. Thanks you all for your contribution.
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
That will work!  Glad to be of help, and Happy Holidays to you and yours..

FE
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igntsAuthor Commented:
Thank you very much! Happy Holidays to you and your family as well!
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