Is a VPN What I Need?

Archived from groups: comp.dcom.vpn (More info?)

I will be going to Thailand to work on some graphic design projects. I am
taking a laptop for this purpose. But I have been thinking about trying to
tap into my own system in the U.S. using a virtual private network, but I
don't really know anything about it. What I *think* it does is allow me to
use a computer elsewhere to actually access the data and programs on my base
system and do work just as if I was in my own office. Is that really
possible? Sounds too good to be true. If it is, where can I go to find out
more info so I can get this set-up before July 6 when I leave? We currently
have Windows XP/Windows 2000 peer-to-peer network and cable modem.
8 answers Last reply
More about need
  1. Archived from groups: comp.dcom.vpn (More info?)

    Alan Bell wrote:
    > I will be going to Thailand to work on some graphic design projects. I am
    > taking a laptop for this purpose. But I have been thinking about trying to
    > tap into my own system in the U.S. using a virtual private network, but I
    > don't really know anything about it. What I *think* it does is allow me to
    > use a computer elsewhere to actually access the data and programs on my base
    > system and do work just as if I was in my own office. Is that really
    > possible? Sounds too good to be true. If it is, where can I go to find out
    > more info so I can get this set-up before July 6 when I leave? We currently
    > have Windows XP/Windows 2000 peer-to-peer network and cable modem.

    You are correct, a VPN would give you the capability to use your files
    securely over an unsecured network (the internet in this case).

    If you have Win2k server or WinXP Pro, you could possibly use PPTP to
    set up a simple VPN. Alternatively, if you have a router or firewall,
    you could probably hook into that.

    I'm fairly sure the fastest way to get it set up is to post here what
    you have and what you need :)

    Jen
  2. Archived from groups: comp.dcom.vpn (More info?)

    It sounds like you're talking about taking control of your software on
    your home computer. For that, you do not want a VPN, unless you're
    using it strictly for the encryption of data for privacy/security.

    It sounds like what you want is remote control software. There are
    many available to choose from. just make sure you're using a fast
    connection on both ends, or you'll be disappointed with the results.

    Dave


    On Tue, 29 Jun 2004 16:15:58 GMT, "Alan Bell" <alanbno2spam@blk.com>
    wrote:

    >I will be going to Thailand to work on some graphic design projects. I am
    >taking a laptop for this purpose. But I have been thinking about trying to
    >tap into my own system in the U.S. using a virtual private network, but I
    >don't really know anything about it. What I *think* it does is allow me to
    >use a computer elsewhere to actually access the data and programs on my base
    >system and do work just as if I was in my own office. Is that really
    >possible? Sounds too good to be true. If it is, where can I go to find out
    >more info so I can get this set-up before July 6 when I leave? We currently
    >have Windows XP/Windows 2000 peer-to-peer network and cable modem.
    >
  3. Archived from groups: comp.dcom.vpn (More info?)

    Dave wrote:
    > It sounds like you're talking about taking control of your software on
    > your home computer. For that, you do not want a VPN, unless you're
    > using it strictly for the encryption of data for privacy/security.
    >
    > It sounds like what you want is remote control software. There are
    > many available to choose from. just make sure you're using a fast
    > connection on both ends, or you'll be disappointed with the results.
    >
    > Dave
    >
    >
    > On Tue, 29 Jun 2004 16:15:58 GMT, "Alan Bell" <alanbno2spam@blk.com>
    > wrote:
    >
    >
    >>I will be going to Thailand to work on some graphic design projects. I am
    >>taking a laptop for this purpose. But I have been thinking about trying to
    >>tap into my own system in the U.S. using a virtual private network, but I
    >>don't really know anything about it. What I *think* it does is allow me to
    >>use a computer elsewhere to actually access the data and programs on my base
    >>system and do work just as if I was in my own office. Is that really
    >>possible? Sounds too good to be true. If it is, where can I go to find out
    >>more info so I can get this set-up before July 6 when I leave? We currently
    >>have Windows XP/Windows 2000 peer-to-peer network and cable modem.

    Good point, you could use that. I prefer a VPN, mainly because it gives
    me access to the remote network, with all files and shares.

    Remote access is certainly easier to set up though.

    Jen
  4. Archived from groups: comp.dcom.vpn (More info?)

    It appears that I have a Netgear FVS318. I had actually forgotten about it.
    I bought it a while ago when I similarly had VPN on my mind. I couldn't
    figure out how to install it so I put it on the shelf and forgot about it.
    Currently I have a Netgear RT311 router in operation. I assume the FVS318
    goes in place of it. But then what?

    And one more thing that I'm still not clear on. Using a VPN (or PC Anywhere
    for that matter), will I be able to, for example, use my laptop in Thailand
    which does *not* have Photoshop, to access my computer in Los Angeles which
    *does* have Photoshop to open Photoshop and manipulate an image which is on
    my laptop in Thailand just as if I was working on that image at my office in
    Los Angeles?

    Or is VPN (or PC Anywhere) just about file sharing......or being able to
    operate programs that are specifically have "network versions."


    "Jennifer Knoell" <jennifer@doesnt.want.spam.ing.twinwave.net> wrote in
    message news:40e30040$1_1@127.0.0.1...
    > Dave wrote:
    > > It sounds like you're talking about taking control of your software on
    > > your home computer. For that, you do not want a VPN, unless you're
    > > using it strictly for the encryption of data for privacy/security.
    > >
    > > It sounds like what you want is remote control software. There are
    > > many available to choose from. just make sure you're using a fast
    > > connection on both ends, or you'll be disappointed with the results.
    > >
    > > Dave
    > >
    > >
    > > On Tue, 29 Jun 2004 16:15:58 GMT, "Alan Bell" <alanbno2spam@blk.com>
    > > wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > >>I will be going to Thailand to work on some graphic design projects. I
    am
    > >>taking a laptop for this purpose. But I have been thinking about trying
    to
    > >>tap into my own system in the U.S. using a virtual private network, but
    I
    > >>don't really know anything about it. What I *think* it does is allow me
    to
    > >>use a computer elsewhere to actually access the data and programs on my
    base
    > >>system and do work just as if I was in my own office. Is that really
    > >>possible? Sounds too good to be true. If it is, where can I go to find
    out
    > >>more info so I can get this set-up before July 6 when I leave? We
    currently
    > >>have Windows XP/Windows 2000 peer-to-peer network and cable modem.
    >
    > Good point, you could use that. I prefer a VPN, mainly because it gives
    > me access to the remote network, with all files and shares.
    >
    > Remote access is certainly easier to set up though.
    >
    > Jen
  5. Archived from groups: comp.dcom.vpn (More info?)

    Alan Bell wrote:
    > It appears that I have a Netgear FVS318. I had actually forgotten about it.
    > I bought it a while ago when I similarly had VPN on my mind. I couldn't
    > figure out how to install it so I put it on the shelf and forgot about it.
    > Currently I have a Netgear RT311 router in operation. I assume the FVS318
    > goes in place of it. But then what?
    >
    > And one more thing that I'm still not clear on. Using a VPN (or PC Anywhere
    > for that matter), will I be able to, for example, use my laptop in Thailand
    > which does *not* have Photoshop, to access my computer in Los Angeles which
    > *does* have Photoshop to open Photoshop and manipulate an image which is on
    > my laptop in Thailand just as if I was working on that image at my office in
    > Los Angeles?
    >
    > Or is VPN (or PC Anywhere) just about file sharing......or being able to
    > operate programs that are specifically have "network versions."

    On a quick glance over the Netgear FVS318 specs it appears that you can
    use that one to establish an IPsec based VPN to it from your laptop.
    You'd have to doublecheck the manual to see how it's set up, as I'm not
    familiar with netgear at all.

    With a VPN your laptop will appear as part of your home network, i.e.
    it'll have access to all file shares, printers and other network
    equipment in your home LAN. The units on your LAN also have access to
    your laptops files (presuming they're shared in one way or another).

    A few sanitized examples from our own shop:
    We have an office LAN which is totally inaccessible from the internet.
    The firewall does not allow traffic in or out. We also have people who
    travel around a lot and need access to the office files, printers,
    network fax and whatnot. Let's say the office network has 10.0.0.0/24.
    The clients connect to our VPN gateway and get a static IP. As soon as
    they connect, they attach a few drives to the server:
    U: to \\server\users\johndoe
    P: to \\server\applications
    S: to \\server\commonfiles
    They also now have access to some printers in the office:
    \\printserver\netfax
    \\printserver\laser

    So, now they can open and use applications on drive P: (an office suite
    for example), read and write files to their user drive, and depending on
    permissions also read/write files on drive S: .

    Some applications need to be installed on their computer, to get all the
    registry keys and some shared files in place. I haven't found any app
    that puked on installing it to the network drive, but we don't have
    photoshop, so I can't tell you if that will work or not.

    A fair warning: If the internet connection (uplink AND downlink) on both
    sides isn't very fast, working over a VPN like this is going to be
    painful. VERY painful. After all, Windows has to load the whole app
    including all the DLL's over your internet link in that case. Once it
    has it, it'll be fast though.


    Now an example for remote desktop control (like PC Anywhere, VNC or MS
    Terminal Service):
    I occasionally need to help a store clerk figure out why something or
    another doesn't work on their back office machine. In this case I use
    VNC to connect to their desktop and take control of it. I can see their
    screen, see what they see, and generally control their machine if I
    chose to do so. However, their machine has no access to files on my
    machine, neither do I really have access to their files, other than
    being able to transfer them via VNC from/to my machine. Applications on
    my machine have no idea that I can see their desktop. For me it's
    strictly a way to have a look at their machine without having to fly a
    few thousand miles. Not to mention that even over a very fast link it
    still feels somewhat sluggish, because screen updates have to be
    transferred to me - and even in our LAN, that often takes a second or
    two. Especially if you think about working with graphical apps like
    photoshop I'd imagine that would be unpleasant, to say the least.


    As you see, two totally different things. VPN is all about logically
    placing remote machines (or networks) into one (logical) LAN.

    Remote control is more about controlling another machine, without
    linking ressources. The lines are a little blurry there, as there are
    software packages who DO map drives, printers and the like as well.

    What's best for you is hard to tell. I personally like the convenience
    offered by a VPN and the encryption inherent in most VPN solutions. On
    the other hand I do like remote control software for troubleshooting
    purposes, but find it too sluggish for everyday work.


    Hope this gives you some ideas :)

    Jen
  6. Archived from groups: comp.dcom.vpn (More info?)

    Thanks. I have a better idea of the difference now.

    "Jennifer Knoell" <jennifer@doesnt.want.spam.ing.twinwave.net> wrote in
    message news:40e4305e$1_1@127.0.0.1...
    > Alan Bell wrote:
    > > It appears that I have a Netgear FVS318. I had actually forgotten about
    it.
    > > I bought it a while ago when I similarly had VPN on my mind. I couldn't
    > > figure out how to install it so I put it on the shelf and forgot about
    it.
    > > Currently I have a Netgear RT311 router in operation. I assume the
    FVS318
    > > goes in place of it. But then what?
    > >
    > > And one more thing that I'm still not clear on. Using a VPN (or PC
    Anywhere
    > > for that matter), will I be able to, for example, use my laptop in
    Thailand
    > > which does *not* have Photoshop, to access my computer in Los Angeles
    which
    > > *does* have Photoshop to open Photoshop and manipulate an image which is
    on
    > > my laptop in Thailand just as if I was working on that image at my
    office in
    > > Los Angeles?
    > >
    > > Or is VPN (or PC Anywhere) just about file sharing......or being able to
    > > operate programs that are specifically have "network versions."
    >
    > On a quick glance over the Netgear FVS318 specs it appears that you can
    > use that one to establish an IPsec based VPN to it from your laptop.
    > You'd have to doublecheck the manual to see how it's set up, as I'm not
    > familiar with netgear at all.
    >
    > With a VPN your laptop will appear as part of your home network, i.e.
    > it'll have access to all file shares, printers and other network
    > equipment in your home LAN. The units on your LAN also have access to
    > your laptops files (presuming they're shared in one way or another).
    >
    [snip]
  7. Archived from groups: comp.dcom.vpn (More info?)

    Remote control software will definitely be safer.
    We are using "RemotePC" (http://www.remotepc.com/) and have found it to
    be very safe. The entire communication is encrypted using 128-bit
    RC4/SSL to ensure security during remote access. So wherever you are,
    you can access your files or even transfer them without any security
    issues.
    It also works behind most firewalls without any special port settings.
    Regards
    Ed Smith
  8. Archived from groups: comp.dcom.vpn (More info?)

    Windows 2003 server can also be accessed remotely when you configure
    Terminal Services for remote administration. This is an option if
    security is not a Major concern. You will need to NAT port 3389 from
    the internet to your Server. I am not aware of any vulnerability for
    TS but this is Microsoft and they have a lot of enemies. If your
    router allows, you can put a password on the router which will force
    anyone to authenticate to the router/firewall before allowing a
    connection.

    If you can afford it, look a a product called Netilla. The website is
    www.netilla.com. Go to https://demo3.netilla.com for a demo of the
    product. This product does a good job of protecting your networks
    while allowing external users secure access.
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