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How do I join my work domain from a laptop computer that is not in the same subnet?

Posted on 2008-06-22
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Hi there,

I have set up some Microsoft Server 2003 servers with AD and DNS. I have some public zones corresponding to name resolution on websites, and I have a .local domain which I am beginning to understand is generally used for "private" stuff that goes on in my subnet.

I have a laptop computer that I sometimes carry five miles from my subnet and sometimes carry 1000 miles from my subnet. I am wondering how exactly to connect to my domain at work, and the resources at work, when I am not at the office. I am guessing VPN may figure into this somehow, in which I need a step-by-step on how to get going with it. Or, I may yet need to set something else up with my DNS (maybe a public zone for this connectivity?), or I may not be finished with my configuration.

Please let me know how I can connect to the assets on my domain. Thanks!

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Question by:kennethfine
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 21843482
Yes you need a VPN. It is quite straight forward to set up. The basic server and client configurations can be found at the following sites with good detail:
Server 2003 configuration:
http://www.lan-2-wan.com/vpns-RRAS-1nic.htm
Windows XP client configuration:
http://www.lan-2-wan.com/vpns-XP-Client.htm
You will also have to configure the router to forward the VPN traffic to the server. This is done by enabling on your router VPN or PPTP pass-through, and also forwarding port 1723 traffic to the server's IP. For details as to how to configure the port forwarding, click on the link for your router (assuming it is present) on the following page:
http://www.portforward.com/english/applications/port_forwarding/PPTP/PPTPindex.htm
The only other thing to remember is the subnet you use at the remote office needs to be different than the server end. For example if you are using 192.168.1.x at the office , the remote should be something like 192.168.2.x

Once this is configured you can then use services similar to how you would on the local network. You will not be able to browse the network unless you have a WINS server installed. Also depending on your network configuration you may have problems connecting to devices by name, though this can usually be configured.. Using the IP address is less problematic such as \\192.168.1.111\SharenName.
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by:kennethfine
ID: 21843706
Thanks RobWill, excellent answer. In a nutshell can you advise *why* VPN is necessary in this case? What precisely does it provide that makes this work? I think I know why but I want to hear someone expert explain it exactly.
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Rob Williams earned 2000 total points
ID: 21845224
Information communicated between the host and client requires the use of services (eg. file and print services) and protocols (eg. NetBIOS) that are not routable over a public network (the Internet) and even if they were they would be available for anyone to access. The VPN allows them to use a private network , within the tunnel, and it also encrypts all traffic for security.
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Author Comment

by:kennethfine
ID: 21846289
Great, thank you.
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 21847363
Very welcome. Thank you kennethfine.
Cheers !
--Rob
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