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Remote Access Servers and Modem Pools

By jfowler ·
I work for a small insurance brokerage based in Kansas City. We recently hired two new field marketing people that will be telecommuting from Georgia and Florida. These people will need to have dialup access to our servers on our LAN. I've been doing some research on how to go about doing this and I think the Cisco 2509 Access Server is the best way to go. However, Cisco's website doesn't give any suggestions on what modem pools I should use with the 2509. Hidden deep within 3COM's website I found some info on the MP/8. However I think its been discontinued because I can't find anybody who is selling it. Maybe I'm going about this wrong. What are people using today for Remote Access dialup service? Where can I find information on how to put this all together from start to finish?

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Remote Access Servers and Modem Pools

by McKayTech In reply to Remote Access Servers and ...

Unless you're really getting a super deal on long distance rates, I would strongly encourage you to consider a VPN solution where your field reps would dialup a local ISP (or a local access number for a national ISP like CompuServe) and establish a VPN connection across the Internet. The hardware on your end would be a VPN concentrator rather than a modem bank. Performance is usually better and the payback period for the investment is usually much shorter because you're not racking up toll charges for the connect time.

But even if your heart is set on direct dialup and this particular access device, it's still not clear why you're specifying an 8-port access router and looking for an 8-modem bank to support two users. Even if I was devoted to the 2509, I think I would probably just purchase two US Robotics external modems and add more as additional need developed. Keep in mind that purchasing 56k modems will, in this context, still give you only 33.6 connect speeds at the best.

paul

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Remote Access Servers and Modem Pools

by jfowler In reply to Remote Access Servers and ...

Thanks for the response. I have thought about VPN and using a National ISP. However, the problem is these field reps won't be localized in one place. They will be constantly traveling from town to town within their home and surrounding states using laptops to connect to out network. A lot of areas to which they will be traveling will not have local numbers to dial to, and even if the ISP did, I think the ideas of having the reps changing the dialup settings on their laptops a very bad idea. I realize that some ISPs have toll free numbers they could dial, but the hourly rate is outrageous. It would be better for them to dial in to us using a toll free number that we setup through our long distance provider. This way they don't have to mess with setting up the dialup every time they travel to a new location and long distance help desk calls would be reduced.

The 8-port access server does seem a bit much for just two field reps, but I'm thinking of the future. These two reps are something new. If they work out, I'm sure we will be hiring more for other states. Also, this is something our brokers may use when they go out of town on business. They would now be able to dial-in and read their email or download files off the server while on the road.

I'm not to fawned of the idea of separate modems. Mainly due to the clutter these eight modem will cause. Granted it would be easier to replace a single modem if it fails then a whole modem pool. I just wish there was something consolidated and rackable I could use, which is pretty much my orginal question. What do people use for modem pools and access servers. I was just trying to get a general

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Remote Access Servers and Modem Pools

by kevin.murphy In reply to Remote Access Servers and ...

Hi,
We are currently deploying a VPN solution using a national ISP and their approach to access may be an answer to your issue of remote users having to change their dial-up settings as they travel.
We use UUNET as an ISP and they give us asoftware package called PAL that allows the user to enter the area code and phone number they are currently at and then present the nearest phone number to dial into, which is usually local. Also presented is a surcharged 800 number.
Once you select the number, the PAL software then creates the DUN session and give the user a connect button, and therefore the use can never access DUN properties, and add and manages connection all within PAL. It also has some ini files that allow you to input WINS, DNS and other entries so that every session it creates contains that info.

Hope this helps.
Kevin Murphy

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Remote Access Servers and Modem Pools

by jfowler In reply to Remote Access Servers and ...

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Remote Access Servers and Modem Pools

by wayne.carr In reply to Remote Access Servers and ...

Use the 3640 for your central site. You may pay a little more up front, but at least you'll have something that will scale from ISDN/BRI to ISDN/PRI for dial-up services. Install a ISDN/BRI (U) module. I do not believe that you need a modem module since U-loop encoding is 2B1Q. If you were to configure it with ISDN/PRI, then you would need modems since the bearer channels would have PCM encoded bit streams.

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Remote Access Servers and Modem Pools

by jfowler In reply to Remote Access Servers and ...

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Remote Access Servers and Modem Pools

by dave In reply to Remote Access Servers and ...

From your last reponse it sounds like what you're looking for is a solution for a modem pool for users to dial into. I don't have any specific answers but her are a few key words and brands to try:
Digi Board, Rocket modems, Cisco look for routers and switches using MICA modems. You might try calling your local ISP's and ask them for resources.
Hope this gives you a path for further research.
Dave Kemper
dave@dave-kemper.com

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Remote Access Servers and Modem Pools

by jfowler In reply to Remote Access Servers and ...

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Remote Access Servers and Modem Pools

by jfowler In reply to Remote Access Servers and ...

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