How can I connect a remote office to my Windows 2003 network?

5 pts.
Tags:
Active Directory
ISA
Network connectivity
Remote offices
VPN
Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2003 security and patches
I have a Windows 2003 R2 Network with 60 workstations and 20 printers to which I must connect a small remote peer-to-peer office network with 9 workstations and 2 printers. I plan on adding the new users to my domain via AD and creating a mailbox for each. I also want them to have file and printer sharing capailities. Is VPN or ISA my only choices? My inclination is not to run a dedicated line, and install a router and firewall but performance is an issue and up-time is crucial, so maybe that's the way to go. Any ideas?

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ISA is one of the options. Others include firewall VPN appliance boxes like Netscreen or Cisco. Open source alternatives include <a href=”http://www.smoothwall.org”>Smoothwall</a>. You will find that your network connection uptime is dependent on the tunnel between the sites as well as your provider(s) network(s) and last-mile reliability. Rarely is there a network provider problem (knock on wood)… it is usually a last-mile local carrier problem that takes a network link down. The VPN tunnel is only as reliable as the solution you put into place and how familiar you are with the gear. If you have an implementation partner, then that will be in your favor to keep this link up as required.

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  • MrAwesomes
    I think the best idea, is invest in a good solid dell server. You can get them really cheap these days for under 1k with pretty decent hardware. Make this server a child domain controller for your remote site. Then setup AD Site and Services to subnet your network so you don't have to worry about propagation over the VPN. Setup a software VPN inside your Windows Server 2003 servers using RAS. Sounds good and works well! you don't have to invest in anything big and breaking up AD along with using sites you really cut down on propagation and the need for that uptime since the other computers at the other sites don't have to worry about having to authenticate through the VPN.
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