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WAN Connectivity Options

By rschierer ·
I am looking for options on how to connect 5 branch offices [in 3 separate states, OH, PA & FL] to Corp Hdqts in NY.

Presently, we have no connectivity in place other than connecting via a dialup line an PCAnywhere.

At each branch is a LAN with a Novell NetWare 4.11 server for file and print services. To connect to the internet, only 1 or 2 users have access via dialup modems and AOL accounts.

Corporate hdqts is connected to the internet via a DSL line. The data center that is located here has a Novell NetWare 4.11 server running GroupWise 5.5, 3 NT 4.0 servers running Citrix [for corp use only], Great Plains and SQL Server 2000.

As we are a home health care organization, we need to comply with HIPAA regualtions and the WAN has to be secure.

And being we are a small company we cannot afford some of the higher priced solutions available such as managed private network solutions.

I have been looking into connecting the offices to the internet and using a VPN. To say that I have read a lot is an understatement and to say that I am still confused is another one.

I have read about Novell's BorderManager as a possibility.

We also have users working from home at each site, who connect to their PCs at the office via PCAnywhere and dialup modems.

As previously mentioned, I am looking to tie us all together and give remote users access to their office LANs. When this is completed, we will be pushing applications to each site via Citrix and replacing the currently used DOS based app that they use in house for time/billing with an windows based, perhaps web-based, application. Each site will access the internet via corporate hdqts.

Thanks in advance for all your responses.


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WAN Connectivity Options

by OriDjinn In reply to WAN Connectivity Options

Watchguard has a complete VPN solution. The main office VPN appliance is approximately $2500 and the remote office VPN appliances are approximately $500. They are very easy to install and has a graphical interface to set up. This is what I did for one of my clients and it is a very secure environment and a very reliable connection.

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WAN Connectivity Options

by NetTek In reply to WAN Connectivity Options

To expand further on answer 1, many firewall hardware solutions include, or can provide as and add-on, VPN server solutions, including client software. Netscreen, Watchguard, NetGear, and SonicWall are just a few.

I also recommend that each larger site get some kind of broadband, either dsl, cable, or sattelite. Dial-up may be okay for sites with only a couple of workstations.

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WAN Connectivity Options

by McKayTech In reply to WAN Connectivity Options

I agree that what you want is a VPN appliance of some sort. The Watchguards are good, as are SonicWall and several others and they can be used with everything from dialup to cable modem to DSL to T-1 and beyond.

In a HIPAA environment, one thingto look for is that the system will support (by upgrade, most likely) the 256-bit AES encryption standard.

In your circumstance, the other important factor is going to be multi-protocol support because you will have to encapsulate your Novell IPXtraffic to send it over a VPN. In theory, once the VPN "tunnel" is up, you should be able to send anything through it but the practice is usually not that simple.



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WAN Connectivity Options

by pgm554 In reply to WAN Connectivity Options

It appears as if the 4.11 servers are all in different trees.What you might want to consider is upgrading to Novell Small Business Server 6.

It has everything built into it .There is a promo of a free 5 user license from an authorized dealer.(of which I am one)You could use one 5 user license for each site.



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WAN Connectivity Options

by Deadly Ernest In reply to WAN Connectivity Options

Everybody has given you the best answer security wise, a Virtual private Network over the Internet, I would also add give each office DSL with a decent DSL router that includes Network Address Translation and a few other security features and then have it configured to manage your VPN links for you, that way it will route to the VPN or the general Internet as required and still give you security.

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by wlbowers In reply to WAN Connectivity Options

Provide each office with a dsl connection.

With a router at each location you can tunnel or vpn through the internet.

I know Cisco has a firewall program that runs on their routers. They also have a good vpn package.

You can contact them direct and they will help you design and implement a solution.

Good Luck Lee

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