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Small office network/remote access

By Bergie ·
Small office network/remote access

Overview: Four mixed OS (W98SE and XP [Home version]) boxes on a token ring (unless there's a more suitable topology). It's unlikely that the setup will need to expand for three or more years. A client/server steup doesn't SEEM to make make much financial sence, but please feel free to comment.

Objective: Have the four boxes share files/stand-alone printers AND permit browser-based remote IP access, primarily via through DSL/cable but occasionally through dial up.

There is only one box that will regulaly accessed both remotely and locally since it possesses the one program of mutual interest to all parties: QuickBooks Pro. And at no time will the same data file be accessed by more than one user. However there is a possibility that two or more remote users will need to access QuickBooks Pro.

And now...the questions:
Is this a realistic objective?
Will the box hosting QuickBooks Pro be useable by the local user when being remotely accessed?

Hardware, remote access software and alternative recommendations will be gratefully appreciated.

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Small office network/remote access

by sgt_shultz In reply to Small office network/remo ...

sounds like you are not planning to use a 'network aware' version of quickbooks, since it will only be installed on one computer? you can get away with having a non-network version of quickbooks if you can live with one person using it at a time...
token-ring is probably not what you want as it requires special cables and nics (network interface cards)...'modern' way is ordinary ethernet 'star' topology. get a dsl modem with a router with at lease 4 network ports.
the remote control software will be 'in control' of the pc when off-site folks are using it so, no, you really can't have both using it at the same time. (unless you get network aware version of qb, see?) consider an extra pc workstation to server as qb/remote control 'host'/fileserver/backup/spare pc. kinda a poor man's server. internal and external users use remote control to run applications they don't have installed locally. (one at a time, unless app is 'network version). add it up: you'll need you'll need 1 'host'license and 1 'client' for each 'remote' user. as it comes out of the box, remote control software is pretty insecure. especially with your accounting. ahem. pcanywhere is a good choice, having said that...you can improve security from how it comes out of the box by changing the standard port pcanywhere uses to talk to the off-site folks, by telling pcanywhere not to 'broadcast' that it is a 'host', by using high level of encrytion on both client and host, by implementing the user passwords scheme built into pcanywhere...and if practical, by telling pcanywhere to call you back at a predefined phone number when you want to connect (implying a dial-up connection)...you *can* make it reasonably secure...

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Small office network/remote access

by Bergie In reply to Small office network/remo ...

Thanks for your help. Pointed me in the right direction.

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Small office network/remote access

by sgt_shultz In reply to Small office network/remo ...

yes, i think you probably don't want client/server. everything will cost more, hardware, software, support. don't forget anti-virus and firewall software in your budget. remember backups and having off-site backups and multiple backup copies that goback in time. budget for that takes a lot of media (tapes and/or zip disks) and it will add up. every year you'll need replacement media as it wears out. don't wire the thing yourself imho if you can afford it, get pro wiring and have them test and guarantee to 100mb. as wiring problems can masquerade as other problems and it is easy to make a mistake. and be time (=money) consuming to troubleshoot. have them put plenty of extra network jacks in the walls, to provide at the get-go for the future pc's and printers (cheaper to get them now than to add them later). you may need to allow extra jacks for the printers if you use 'print servers' (recommended) (print server is external or internal electronics that allows printer to hook directly to your network, otherwise you have to have a pc attached to it as the 'print server' which is a pain because the printer will go down if computer it is attached to get's rebooted or turned off. hassle that will cost you time and tech support money. my opinion is print servers will easily pay for themselvs in a year...my 2 cents...hope it helps....

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Small office network/remote access

by Bergie In reply to Small office network/remo ...

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Small office network/remote access

by colin In reply to Small office network/remo ...

Token ring isnt the most obvious choice, I would go for Cat 5 ethernet, or wireless when the 50mb/s stuff is sorted.

You could probably get away with W2K server on a powefull PC as long as the backups are good. This will allow terminal services so you can access the quickbooks remotely or from thin clients/PCs internally.

If you have a ADSL line or similar you can then protect this with a sonicwall firewall. The firewall will give internet access to all internal PCs and allow terminal services access from remote sites. You can add VPN capability if security is a major concern.

1 server licence and a sonicwall is not much outlay for a stable and good office/remote access solution.

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Small office network/remote access

by Bergie In reply to Small office network/remo ...

Many thanks. Hadn't considered the VPN access scenario until you suggested it. Am now discussing it with the broadband provider.

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Small office network/remote access

by Bergie In reply to Small office network/remo ...

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