NetAdminChallenge: Sonya?s connection solution

Sonya has several options when it comes to connecting remote users to her network. But she's unsure which solution will meet the requirements set forth by her company's management. Help Sonya out, and you could win a newly designed TechRepublic T-shirt.

Welcome to the NetAdminChallenge!
Every so often, NetAdminChallenge poses a systems or network problem to give you a chance to test your admin savvy and troubleshooting skills. Some challenges are routine, while others may be more difficult. We then conduct a random drawing from the correct responses received and send two lucky winners a fancy new TechRepublic T-shirt. You'll be the envy of the office! Let's start with the solution to our previous challenge.

Patty’s PDC/BDC proposal
Here’s a recap of Patty’s situation. She’s an administrator in charge of a network that’s composed of three subnets. Subnet A contains a primary domain controller (PDC). Subnet B and Subnet C each have a backup domain controller (BDC). Each domain controller is the master browser of its subnet. WINS isn’t enabled on the network. Patty wants to ensure that each BDC can communicate with the PDC.

After kicking around some ideas, she came up with four proposals:
  1. Change the BDC directive to 0x1b in the registry of each BDC.
  2. Create an LMHOSTS file with an entry for the PDC on each BDC.
  3. Create a fourth subnet and move all domain controllers to it.

Create an LMHOSTS file with an entry for each of the BDCs on the PDC.

The issue here is ensuring that the BDCs can resolve an IP address for the PDC. Because WINS is not installed, name resolution is not possible. Creating a local LMHOSTS file acts as a static IP address lookup table and lets the BDCs correctly resolve the PDC’s NetBIOS name. Thus, answer 2 is correct.

Answers 1 and 3 are unnecessary to resolve the communication issue. Answer 4, the only one similar to the correct one, is wrong simply because creating an LMHOSTS file on the PDC only enables the PDC to resolve BDC hostnames, not the other way around.

And the shirts go to…
Congratulations to Frank Alvaredo and Elmer Pong, whose winning entries were randomly selected from all the correct submissions received.

Sonya’s connection solution
Sonya is the network administrator of a large worldwide diesel manufacturer. The company operates a Windows 2000 Server shop with Windows 2000 Professional running on all the desktops. She is responsible for users all over the world, with a high concentration of workers located in satellite sales offices.

Recently, she was asked to come up with a solution that would allow access to the network from home for the company’s sales department. Although not the most computer literate users, the sales department members depend on their PCs for daily pricing information. As a result, they must be able to access files from any server in the world. Obviously, a secure connection is needed for folder access, to prevent unauthenticated users from connecting using the guest account. Additionally, at-home clients should be able to access files through their Web browsers. If you were in Sonya’s shoes, what solution would you propose that would allow the most secure connection while making it easy for users to gain access to their folders?

What solution should Sonya implement?
Help Sonya out by providing a solution and explain why you think it’s correct. Send your answer to TechRepublic by Monday, Oct. 16, 2000. We'll send a TechRepublic T-shirt to two individuals whose names we randomly select from the solutions that best meet the requirements.

Our lawyers love this part
By submitting your answer, you agree to let TechRepublic publish your solution on its Web site. You also agree that TechRepublic may adapt, edit, and authorize the adaptation and editing of each submission as it deems necessary. TechRepublic may or may not publish a submission at its sole discretion.


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