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An appropriate client-router VPN router

Posted on 2007-07-21
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I bought a WRVS4400N because I would like to VPN remotely from my laptop into my small office and the 4400 had VPN server capability. However, I'm starting to wonder if the WRVS4400N is the right router for me because it supports IPSec VPN tunneling, which what I've read is more suited to router-router VPN rather than client-router VPN. I think I need a PPTP VPN router.

My long term goal is:-
1) provide VPN support for 3 clients max. All remote PCs - no remote offices
2) setup a web server in my office for external access for my customers. It will also be running Sharepoint. There will only ever be 10 users at a time max accessing Sharepoint remotely.
3) wireless capability in the office
4) support 3-4 PCs, network printer in the office.

Should I stick with the 4400?   Any advice?    I also have a WRT300N laying in the corner that can be incorporated into the overall architecture if need be - but only if it makes sense and not because of trying to save money.

Thanks,
Dave

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Question by:djcrouch
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by:Rob Williams
Rob Williams earned 320 total points
ID: 19540028
Glad to assist with the VPN option but if you are planning to set up a web server have you considered Small Business Server instead. It will allow remote secure access to files via it's own VPN, built in secure access to Sharepoint, remote access to office desktops, a mail server, a file and print server, a web and/or Intranet server, and much more. Ideal solution for remote access to some or all services. Only suggest as you mention you are looking at adding a web server.

IPSec is fine by the way for client to router access, but you have to use an IPSec client rather than the basic Windows client. All commercial grade routers work this way.
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by:lrmoore
lrmoore earned 180 total points
ID: 19540119
The 4400 should support the QuickVPN client. It is an IPSEC client.
Linksys website is "undergoing maintenance" at the moment so I can't check to verify. It may even support PPTP like the RVOx series.
However, pptp is much less secure that IPSEC anyway.
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Author Comment

by:djcrouch
ID: 19540282
Guys,

Thanks for the feedback. The 4400 came with a disk with the QuickVPN client. However, from what I've read on the web the QuickVPN client software doesn't do a good job of exposing resources on the VPN. That is, you can connect fine, but I read that if you want to browse the intranet and connect to shares it doesn't do a good job of this (even though it is advertised as supporting this). So, I thought native Windows PPTP. I used to VPN in remotely at another company using native Windows PPTP support and it did everything I needed it to do but point taken about being less secure than IPSec. Also, avoiding having to install a proprietary VPN client is also appealing.

RobWill:  I'm going to be running Windows Server 2003 for the webserver and Sharepoint host. SBS looks like a great fit for me. However, I previously did some research and read that there were problems with installing an addon component related to Sharepoint but I don't remember exactly what. Essentially, the install of the component was not supported on SBS and users did report problems when trying to install on SBS but it went fine on Windows Server 2003. Now, since SBS is Windows Server based I'm sure you're going to say that I can also use Windows Server 2003 as a VPN server (among other things). I thought about this and thought that a hardware-based VPN server would be faster and more robust than a VPN server on Windows. Is this a fair assumption?

Overall, does it sound like I'm heading in the right direction?   Has anybody had any experience with remote VPN with the 4400 similar to what I want to do?   Unfortunately, I know enough about networking to be dangerous ;-)

Thanks,
Dave
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Rob Williams earned 320 total points
ID: 19540471
If your Sharepoint add-on is not compatible, I completely understand. I had just suggested it as an affordable alternative, and it's integrated VPN service works very well for browsing the remote network. The reason that is, and it is not always so with the Linksys Quick VPN, is it is configured with WINS.
Linksys QuickVPN works very well, but "Browsing" a remote network doesn't work well with any VPN unles NeTBIOS is usable, such as with WINS. The Linksys is somewhat limited in configurable options. That is not to say the tunnel doesn't work, just you cannot browse the network as with Network Places. You can easily get around connect by IP and onece connected to your remote share, there is absolutly no issue with browsing a folder. In most cases you map a drive to the IP anyway, and then it is not an issue.

Haven't used the 4400 but I have used the Quick VPN with a couple of the other Linksys and have been very pleased. It is very easy to set up, so why not just give it a try, just connecting to existing shares.

The WRV4400S does not support PPTP clients so you will need to use the QuickVPN client, or if ambitious you can use the GreenBow client  http://www.thegreenbow.com

For the record I haven't tried that model I have tried it's little brother the RVL200 and found it very flakey, requiring frequent re-boots. I am sure they will work that out with firmware updates.

If you were interested in switching models I would recomend the RV042. it supports the Windows client and QuickVPN, and is very dependable. Then you could use the WRV4400S as an access point, or the WRT300N
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by:lrmoore
lrmoore earned 180 total points
ID: 19540790
One of the difficulties of connecting to shared resources on the LAN is NetBIOS name resolution. If you create yourself a LMHOSTS file on your mobile computer then you should not have any problems connected through the VPN client.
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Author Comment

by:djcrouch
ID: 19543655
Guys,

Very valuable info. Thanks for the help. RobWill, your last post mentioning your experiences with various products was extremely insightful.

Thanks,
Dave
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 19543688
Thanks Dave. Good luck with it.
Cheers !
--Rob
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