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The Best VPN solutions?

By buschman_007 ·
I am the sole IT manager for my company. We have three locations and use VPN heavily. Some of my problems are inherited from the previous IT guy and the lack of spending that was going on in his day.

Currently the company has two VPN solutions, none of which is working 100%.

The Nortel Contivity 1500 was the old solution. The upside is that it is only solution that even remotely works with satellite employees(I'll explain more later). The downside is that it randomly drops people with no apparent reason. I also have no support contract remaining on this box.

The new solution is Windows 2K3 Routing and Remote access. The upside is wired employees have virtually no complaints. They can stay up for days. Plus the setup costs were nill. The downside is that wireless 802.11a/b/g employees are having difficulty staying connected, myself included. Personally, I can't stay connected for more than 10 minutes before getting kicked. My one Satellite employee can not connect at all. I even had MS on the phone and they could not figure out how to get it to work. Not to mention that support for this VPN costs me $275 a pop!

My one problem child, as I'm sure many of you IT people can guess, is my CEO. He is the lone satellite user who is also trying to use 802.11b behind that. So it's like a double whamy for my VPN.

My VPN is causing me more work than it should be. Bigger companies would have to have a more reliable solution for employees to connect. People are allowed to access from home on PCs I have no control over and can't standardize what hardware, software, and network equipment they can use.

I've read about a product called V-One that specializes in satellite VPN. That's great but how well will it support my other users?

I'm looking for any advice on how bigger or similar sized companies are handling their VPN solution.

Thanks for your help,

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by Oz_Media In reply to The Best VPN solutions?

NEC's NEAX 2000 IVS is pretty much the only hardware solution that actually does what it proposes to.

Nortel released the 1500 prematurely without finishig th eR&D, they then folowed with the BCM 2.0, which also only did HALF of what they said it did. They then brought out the BCM 2.5 that actually had MOST of it's stated features working.

NEC did the same thig several times, but as far as working VoIP hardware solutions, the NEC NEAX 200 IVS and een the smaller IPK are the leaders for featureset, preformance, reliability and WORKING features.

I had a BCM in my home for about 6 months, scrapped it and the cliet uistalled a NEAX 200 IVS, full unified messaging, sattelite access when on the ferry etc.

I hae recently installed ad configured the same PBX for a chain of grocery stores all over BC, and it works flawlessly, after MUCH effort though.

nobody is making a simple solution, but there are cheap and pathetic solutions or reliable and working solutions. A three site company just invested $130,000 in a NEAX 2000 IVS with just over 40 phones per location (software phones and extra key codes boosted the price though).

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My tying is atrocious sorry

by Oz_Media In reply to NEAX 200 IVS

I seem to be havig some N issues lately.

One day I may take the time to learn the formal hand/key positioning (actually I probably won't).

but you'll get the general idea anyhow.

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130K is way out of our range(even in canadian $)

by buschman_007 In reply to My tying is atrocious sor ...

I'm positive I can't convince my higher ups to spend that much money regardless of reliability. I'm thinking a $5k max, preferably under $1K. Also while we do use VoIP between offices, we already have routers in place to handle the traffic. I don't forsee full VoIP anywhere in our near future as our sales tend to be low in number and high in value.

So a unit high in features is not what I'm looking for. High reliability, with the ability to handle high latency connections, such as 802.11 and satellite, is by far the ideal VPN solution for us.

Perhaps I'm doing something wrong in my current setup, which is causing me problems. Perhaps my expectations are unreasonable and no one has stone cold reliable VPN access at any level. I'm totally open to discussion on this issue. But my guess is there are better solutions out there. If I can afford them I want to impliment a better VPN plan in here.

Thanks for the suggestions so far,

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Fair enough

by Oz_Media In reply to 130K is way out of our ra ...

Mind you though, I hae worked with, installed or removed more than 20 different VoIP attempts, none of them live up to expectations.

As far as latency, in the case of the NEAX 2000, you require your own routers but if the system does not sense the appropriate QOS, it will not even boot.

Saving money is fine, but if you are on a budget, your best bet is to forget VoIP and get a decent key system with off-premise satellite.

You won't be doing yourself any favous cutting a budget in VoIP, as many try to do. You sound like you've experieced this first hand already.

As far as the $130,000, that was for multiple ofices with many phones ad UN keycodes.
For your needs (if uder 50 phones) you'd be closer to $30,000.00 US (guesstimate).

Very honestly though, I have never seen someone save money on VoIP and get what they expect, sorry.

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by buschman_007 In reply to Fair enough

I think we are talking about different technologies. I was referring to Virtual Private Networking. Taking a remote user on his or her own PC and then tunneling a secure channel through the internet to our offices. My apoligies if my initial post wasn't clear.


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No it was my F-up completely, sorry about that

by Oz_Media In reply to Miscommunication...

Actually I think it's me who needs to apologize and I do mean that sincerely.

There has been a real stir with Tech republic trying to get poeple into a VoIP discussion, several threads are focused on it and with it being my main source of income, perhaps I had VoIP on the brain.

I did notice you were taking VPN,bu to me VoIP IS VPN because most DECENT VoIP PBX's will also provide the VPN, I just got my acronymns screwed up.

I am sorry if I wasted your time, I know my repsponses are completely irrelevant to he topic at hand. I guess I had my head on other things today, sorry about that.

Best of luck with your questionm I really don't have input (due to the VPN/VoIP connections in MY world).

I am actually feeling rather stupid right now, ooops!

OM :-P

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No problem

by buschman_007 In reply to No it was my F-up complet ...

We've all been there. :)

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Check out Sonicwalls.

by admin In reply to The Best VPN solutions?

Their tech support is admittedly not very good but it's an excellent product. Cheaper than the Cisco route and lotsa shops use them.

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by buschman_007 In reply to Check out Sonicwalls.

I am actually using a Sonicwall currently as our as our firewall. So this sounds like an interesting suggestion as the cost would probably be very low. But I am still cautious about a new VPN solution. Cause as you know, everything works in a testing environment.

Anywho, has anyone ever used a Sonicwall to VPN. Did you have any satellite customers? Any trouble with user uptime or wireless clients?


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we have used a pro 200 successfully for a year and 1\2

by admin In reply to Interesting...

We use it for mission critical billing software every day with the sonicwall software client at 2 additional locations and it has never gone down itself. The connectivity has, but very rarely.

We are installing a pro 4060 right now to repalce the pro 200 and putting a TZ170 at the client end, so this will fail-over to another DSL line on one end and to a dial-up on the other.

We have ISP's on seperate backbones, so it should very rarely go down if at all.

We use Terminal Services and so it takes very little bandwidth and speed has never been a problem so far.

Hope this helps! :)

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