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Create VPN connection for two remote sites

Posted on 2008-06-09
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Greetings Experts!  This is the first VPN setup I have done for a client and I want to make sure I dot the i's and cross the t's.

The client has two employees that live in different cities but each use Peachtree to do the accounting work.  To make sure that the data is in sync, he wants the changes, entries, etc to be kept the same on each computer.  Both employees are using Vista and one is using DSL, the other cable.

So, in order to set this up, what hardware and software am I looking at?  The client already bought PeachTree for his employees.  I just need to setup the VPN.  I would appreciate constructive advice and suggestions.  Thank you!

 
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Question by:samiam41
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Rob Williams earned 500 total points
ID: 21752087
The best option is to buy 2 Cisco ASA5500 series VPN routers, however where this is a small operation you may want to use something less expansive. The Linksys RV042's are easy to set up, stable, and about $200 US each.

However 2 issues:
1) You cannot "sync the data". You need to have data located in one location and then be remotely accessed by the 1 or 2 users.
2) Running an application locally and accessing the data remotely using a VPN is very common and works well for applications such as Word and Excel. Database applications are generally different. they generate a lot of "chatting" back and forth such that the slow network connection (the Internet) generally does not allow this to work, and can result in data corruption.

The best solution for accounting applications is to run them on a terminal server and allow remote users access in this way. For two users this may be overkill. My recommendation would be to install PeachTree at one site and choose a PC to host the data. Then add a second XPpro (Or Vista Business)PC to that same location that allows remote desktop access, and runs PeachTree pointing to the other PC for its data. The second PC can be accessed remotely, directly using remote desktop or in conjunction with a VPN for added security. The remote user will likely not even notice a difference in performance.
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by:samiam41
ID: 21754584
I appreciate your post.  I looked online and read what seemed like every article that came up from google when I searched for "vpn hardware".  The linksys rv042 was one of the best and most affordable.  Glad to see I was on the right track with that one.  Have you set up a VPN connection with them before?

The data sync/Peachtree issue was one that I hadn't considered yet.  I am meeting with the client tonight and will bring up that idea you mentioned.  Thanks again for your help.  If you don't mind, I would like to close this question out after I think about the plan and make sure I understand the details surrounding it.
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 21754628
>>"Have you set up a VPN connection with them before?"
Yes dozens of them. One of the easier ones to do and seem to be very trouble free.
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by:samiam41
ID: 21755649
Since this will be the first one I have done on my own, I need to ask a dumb/newb question.

Once I put the rv042 in place, can I connect a linksys wireless router behind it?  If not, how can I get the wireless network re-established at each location?
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by:samiam41
ID: 21755673
One other question I thought about at with the VPN devices, I see some places where # of licenses matter.  Does this come into play with the rv042?
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 21756214
The RV042 will allow about 30-50 tunnels. The keep changing the licensing #'s. You can buy a license that allows 125 for about $100. I doubt that will be an issue. Should you hit 25 I would consider something like a Cisco. I run a couple with 10-12 and they work great.

If you want to add a wireless you could use the WRT54G instead, but I would recommend using the RV042 and adding a second standard wireless router as an access point. To do so:
-no changes required to the wired router
-reset the wireless WAN connection to default, i.e un-configured
-assign the wireless LAN side an IP address in the same subnet as the wired router.  Make sure it does not conflict with the wired router's DHCP range, or any statically assigned devices
-disable DHCP on the wireless
-wireless connections should be configured in the normal manor
-connect a cable from one of the LAN ports of the wired router to one of the LAN (not WAN) ports of the wireless. If the lights do not light up indicating a connection you may need a cross-over cable (usually only necessary on older units)
-now all devices should have Internet access and be able to easily connect to one another to share resources. Don't forget to refresh and DHCP addresses on the wireless clients  



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by:samiam41
ID: 21756437
Freaking amazing.....  I see that you have earned your title well.

Thanks for the explanation.  I plan to doc the heck out of it tomorrow and if I can't think of any other questions, i will drop you the points and close the question.

In the (likely) event that I have some new questions after I close this ticket out, would you mind if I post the link to the new question in here so that you could look at it, time permitting of course?

Take care and thanks again for helping me out so much.
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 21756477
Sure that is no problem, or just send a link to a new question you want me to look at , using the e-mail address in my profile (click on RobWill).
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by:samiam41
ID: 21759134
Thanks Robwill.  
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Author Closing Comment

by:samiam41
ID: 31465612
Great job!  Take care!

-Aaron
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 21759341
Thanks samiam41.
Cheers !
--Rob
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