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Connect Two Small Offices - Suggestions

By ennovers
Mar 25, 2009
  1. I am the IT Director for a company which is pretty small. 50 employees max. We have two offices. One in NJ (HQ) and one in NYC (Sales Office). Right now I am running a make shift "file server" on a higher end desktop with Windows Vista. I'm installing Win2K3 within the next couple of days. I'm in the process of pricing out a new server for arrival next month or early May. I was able to open up access to allow a single VPN connection to this machine. (PPTP) Just your basic garden variety simple VPN tunnel with basic authentication. (I know not very secure).

    I was able to do this on my own but I need some help with the next step. Innate in this type of set-up, only one user can access the server from offsite at a time. In the IMMEDIATE future, I need to have at least 2-3 concurrent users at any given time. Similarly, I’ve designed a “homegrown” software package that will be housed on a separate “application server”. We will eventually need a multi-user VPN connection to this server as well similar to one one above. The applications backend will be housed on this server. End user profile: a mix of PC and Mac users.

    Last but not least, we have Sales and Merchandising personnel all over; including Asia, Europe and Canada. They will need access to these servers as well. These are personnel that will need access to the file server. Again we are looking at a scenario where not all will be on at one given time.

    I need suggestions on what type of set-up is best suited for this business model and how do I go about getting started. Unfortunately, as the economy is in shambles, I don’t have a large budget.I can only pull a few hundred dollars out of my bosses to get things going.

    Here is some basic info for both offices.

    CH (HQ)

    ISP: Comcast.

    Bandwidth: cable (not exactly sure of the Mbps)

    Hardware: SMC Model 8014

    NYC – (Sales)

    ISP: Verizon

    Bandwidth: ADSL (not exactly sure of the Mbps)

    Hardware: Westell Model A90
  2. xehqter

    xehqter TS Rookie

    50 Employee's, with sales people all over the world, two offices and your bosses excuse for not properly funding this project is the economy? Interesting....

    The way I look at it, you can spend many hours of your time developing a VPN solution or you can buy a pre-packaged one..

    So the parameters are VPN on the cheap... hmm
    OpenVPN, If your going for broke get two WRT routers, flash the firmware with OpenWRT and install OpenVPN on both routers, then setup a routed VPN ie: in NJ, and in NY.. Traffic will be routed from one office to the other. For the employees use a road warrior setup. Expect to spend many hours setting it up. You can get it done with ~24hrs of time and about $130 in hardware.

    Remember VPN traffic will be slower then regular CAT5 traffic, expect to max out your internet connection if you have multiple users..

    If I were setting it up, I'd setup a terminal server and install all your apps on that, then have the users VPN in or just use regular username/password authentication. Granted expect to spend some $$$$
  3. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Posts: 228

    About three years ago, we bought a Cisco hardware firewall that also included VPN software. It supports up to 50 simultaneous users and cost about $1,000. Unfortunately, no one can provide me with the name or part number for the device, but it seems like a possible approach for you.
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