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Connecting two offices via ADSL.

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Last Modified: 2013-12-14
Hi All

My experience is more with individual machine support so looking for a sanity check/2nd opinion.

I have a new client with an office of 4 PCs and a Server (SBS 2003). Connected to the outside world by Broadband on a Netgear 834. (This is in the UK incidentally).

They're opening a second office with a similar number of machines.

They want to retain everything on the one server (regardless of whichever office that may physically be) - they're accountants so all Sage records/Documents etc reside on the server as does Exchange for their emails.

What would be the best way to give all machines on both sites access to the server. Would a simple VPN cut the msutard? Recommendations for hardware?

They've had advice that Terminal Server is the way to go. But I fail to see the reasoning. Am I missing something?

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TS is what I would be recommending as well.
A number of reasons

- maintenance and security (only one set of critical things to look after)
- performance - everything is close to the server

ADSL in the UK suffers from the problem of poor upload speed. So even if you get an 8mb connection, upload will be 400kb (or thereabouts) on a good day.

So what I have done is connect the sites using a site to site VPN at router level. I tend to use Cisco 857/877s myself. Then have a TS server in the main site. The workstations can either be full machines, or use Thin Clients and have everything located in the main site. The joy of a thin client is you just buy a spare and have it on the shelf. One goes down, the user changes it themselves and you return the faulty one.
Setup correctly it would even allow staff to work from home using TS.

Its one of those things that if you do it correctly from the start, it is easy to scale up. However if the workstations are already there, the switch to TS based systems can be off putting due to the perceived waste of the systems.


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I would be putting in a couple of Cisco 857 routers with an IPSEC VPN between the two.
Either that or upgrade to an MPLS connection between the two sites.

The only reason I am against TS is if the connection at either end goes down, they can't do any work.
At least if you have an IPSEC VPN or MPLS, if any end goes down they will not have access to the server, but could still do work offline as all their programs and things will be there.

While TS would require less licensing, the overhead of having 4 simultaneous TS sessions open would be grueling. With the VPN option they are not going to be all transferring files or receiving emails at the same time. This means a lot less strain is put over the ADSL connection and there they would get a lot more work done not working on a laggy TS connection.

My two cents.
Many thanks for your thoughts.
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