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Remote Office Setup

By jim.cantrell ·
Okay gurus, time to weigh in with your expert opinions!

I'm looking for advice on how best to setup the following situation. I'd appreciate as many specifics as possible in your solutions.

The client (we'll call them ABC Inc.) has a home office in City A. They have about 20 users in that office. They are expanding their operations and want to open a sales office in City B on the other side of the state.

The office in city A has a Windows 2003 Small Business Server that provides file, print and Exchange services. They have a frac T1 768K Internet connection with a simple D-link DI-624 router.

In setting up Office B, we will have 5 +/- users using laptops that need to access files, 2 applications and Exchange Server at the home office.

The prefered solution would allow users to have quick access to files (both Office A and Office B people would need to work with the same files). Since they are laptop users, being able to take the files offline/out of office would be very helpful. Remote users could certainly use OWA, but using Outlook to connect to Exchange would be a little better. The two applications are a big variable. I think we'll solve that with Terminal Services since users will only need the apps will connected at the office.

So, in your collective vast knowledge, what's your opinion on how this should be best setup with today's technology? I welcome any questions and input. Please use specific hardware recommendations when possible.

Thanks!

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by CG IT In reply to Remote Office Setup

you've outlined the best solution. OWA for Office B which has only 5 users and use offline files for roaming around doing work. Terminal Services for applications. And the built in company web site via sharepoint services for collaboration on projects between all users in all offices. Further office B with only 5 users would not cause undue burden with authentication over a WAN link the DC SBS in Office A which has 20 users. I can not see any other Windows based solution that would provide users with better faster easier access [though OneNote might be a program to look at]

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by jim.cantrell In reply to Remote Office Setup

I'm really most in need of advice on how to setup the remote office connection. Should I use a VPN between two routers with broadband internet at each office? If so, what routers/VPN appliances should I use? Is this a job for frame-relay? If so, what should I get? That type of thing.

Thanks folks!!

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by cliff680 In reply to Remote Office Setup

I agree that you hit the nail on the head with OWA and TS. As for connecting the offices together, it sounds like what I setup at one of my accounts. I put a Sonicwall VPN firewall at both locations and built a tunnel between the 2, both locations have different IP schemes. At the remote site I also have the Sonicwall doing DHCP. With the tunnel up people at the "remote" office were able to access the server for files and for Outlook access. This would be a secure and easy way to access files across the public internet. My client seems to like it.

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by Monice In reply to Remote Office Setup

I've also set up similar configs using Cisco PIX firewalls at each location with site to site IPSEC VPN. Also the mobile users can also take advantage of using the Cisco VPN client to connect to the main office. If you need details you can email me.

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by Chorito In reply to Remote Office Setup

Everyone has the right idea. VPS tunnel is the solution. Weather you use the Cisco PIX, SonicWall or the Linksys RV0041 10/100/1000 4-Port VPN Router ... VPN is the way to go.
You stated that one of your main goals is to allow users to have quick access to files...you will need another frac T1 at office B. And with a VPN connection you won't need to use OWA or Terminal Services...you can have the apps run like if you were in Office A. Which means you can use Outlook to connect to Exchange. Outlook does suck up bandwidth but you should be ok with only 5 users. You can also split up the shared files. The files that are used the most by users in Office B should reside on a file server in Office B and the files used most by users in Office A should reside on a file server in Office A. This way you minimize file transfer traffic.

You can contact me directly if you would like a more detailed layout?

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by jim.cantrell In reply to

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with a forest or single domain

by onearmfight In reply to

question about this setup, with windows 2008 in place would it be better to do a forest?

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by jim.cantrell In reply to Remote Office Setup

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