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I work for a small business that wants a 3Com VPN to be setup, about 20 people want to remotely access the company network. I have never done it before and have some beginner questions.

1) Would 512k be enough bandwidth on the VPN server if therewere 20 simultaneous users?
2) Can the VPN install be done remotely for client PCs?
3) Are VPNs compatible with cable, dsl and dialup modems?
4) Do VPNs require a port(s) to be opened on a firewall?
5) What hardware specs would be necessary for the VPN server (we're just using a regular Dell desktop with 128k ram, 10gb hard drive, modem, win2000, etc)?

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by Some Guy in Seattle In reply to VPN

1 - Obviously, the answer is "the more bandwidth, the merrier," as performance will go up the more you have. If each user is not constantly pulling or pushing data across the pipe then 512k might be enough. However, if there are lots of file transfers, graphics accessing, etc. you may want to stump for a T1.

2 - Yes...and no. Depends on the VPN software and level of remote permissions on client PC. It is not really recommended to remotely deploy software on a client PC that is destined to have a secure pipe directly into your corporate net. Better to bring the PCs in and do it yourself or have the users load the software themselves (write an explicit doc for them to follow and stand by the phone). Have them download the remote client from your vendor's site or your own FTP site and then mail them the install doc (and wait by the phone again).

3 - VPNs are capable on any link provided the intermediary routers/switches/gateways are not blocking IPSec protocols.

4 - Most firewalls that are worth their cost already have IPSec implemented, and the VPN is enabled on there for client to firewall connections using encryption (with the firewall doing the decryption) after which the traffic is passed on to its destination according to the level of access accorded them by the rule.

5 - As in #1, the more the merrier. Go with the vendor recommendations, double the RAM, and add 400MHz to the CPU.

Hope that helps -

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