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Tool to track network operation ... newbie questions

By fpdowney ·
Anyone,

I work in an attorney's office where I'm asked fairly regularly to help track down/troubleshoot
problems with their computer network. I do have some computer programming background, and am pretty comfortable dealing with alot of computer related issues. However, networking is not exactly my field of expertise and I'm kind of learning (actually floundering is a better word) as I go. I'm supposed to be doing some computer support, and training to be a paralegal ... HA!!

Our office is connected via a VPN connection with
the main office that houses the servers. There are 2 servers at the main office: one for running thin client/terminal server operations and one for processing data. We're running Microsoft
Server 2003 for the terminal server, and a Novell operating system for the data server. At our office, we have a Cisco router (for VPN??) connected to a Bellsouth DSL(Cayman 3220) for internet access. At the main office, DSL is provided by another ISP,and I don't know what DSL device they use.

I came onboard much after this whole network was established. The terminal services session frequently goes down for one reason or another. Sometimes, the problem appears to originate from the location of the main office, and sometimes from ours. It is sometimes difficult to troubleshoot the issue. It often seems that we as the remote users are the ones that cannot access the network. Does anyone know of a tool that can track or monitor the operation of a network so that determining the root of the problem is simpler? Also, in a terminal server setup with some of the
workstations being remote and connected with a vpn, would there be some indication on the server
console running terminal services of the nature of the problem when the remote users are disconnected? No one at the main office is educated in this area. They often resort to calling the computer specialist. We'd like to be able to handle more of these issues on our own. Since I'm at the remote location and appear to be the best candidate for computer support, should I be investigating the possibility of setting up a remote desktop connection to the server so I can actually view the server console?

Hopefully, I don't appear too terribly ignorant. If I'm asking in the wrong forum, could someone please point me in the right direction? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Penny Downey

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