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Author Topic: Need help connecting to company server from home  (Read 13513 times)

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hifilie

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Need help connecting to company server from home
« on: December 07, 2006, 08:43:24 AM »
Hello,

I'm trying to connect to my company's sever from home.  I'm the entire IT department.  I'm actually a programmer but I do other IT-related work also.  I've set up a sever and have configured the user accounts for the other office personnel to have access to the server by remote from their office computers.  All that works fine.  I've also set up the server as a RAS server.  However, I'm having difficulty in figuring out how to access the server from remote locations.  I was looking into setting up a VPN but there I can't seem to find any good free VPN client software.  In any case, networking isn't something I'm extremely knowledgeable about, so any information would be helpful.  I have been trying to use the Start -> Run command and typing in the server's address -- FQDN, IP address, and some random things, none of which have worked.  I keep getting a message saying "Path cannot be found."  I understand that since the remote computers are not connected to the company's domain so I can't simply type the server's name and presto it works.  However, I was hoping there's some other way to connect to the server from remote, preferably free and secure.

Thanks,
-One lost programmer

Rob Pomeroy



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Re: Need help connecting to company server from ho
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2006, 12:27:49 PM »
VPN is your only realistic option, in this scenario.  Before giving any advice, I'd need to know a bit more about your environment.  What OSes are involved?  (Server, work PCs, home PCs.)  What routers are you using - home and office?  (Make and model please - they may have VPN capabilities.)
Only able to visit the forums sporadically, sorry.

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hifilie

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Re: Need help connecting to company server from ho
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2006, 02:04:14 PM »
The server  is a Dell PowerEdge SC440 running MS Small Business 2003.  All client workstations are sportin' Win XP Pro.  Some home PC's are also WinXP Pro but a few (one I think) is WinXP Home.  Our office's router is a Westell 6100 (made for Verizon specifically).  Home's Internet solution is Verizon DSL but I dont't know what brand/model modem is used.

I set up a VPN using Windows but it says it cannot find the server's IP address, most likely because the IP is for the office's domain, not the Internet.  I think... all this networking stuff gives me a headache  :-?

Any help is much appreciated.

Rob Pomeroy



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Re: Need help connecting to company server from ho
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2006, 01:47:04 AM »
Gotcha.  The good news is that you can do it!  Can I suggest that you start by reading the networking FAQ (link is in my signature) - in particular the first section.  This will help you understand the networking side of things, and may ease your headache a little!  This is not obligatory, but I'm confident it will help.  Once you've got the difference between public and private IP addresses sussed, the rest becomes considerably easier.  You can read on, but reading the FAQ first should help.

In order to VPN in from home, you need to be able to connect a VPN client (from home) to a VPN server (at the office).  Windows SBS 2003 has a VPN server built in - you will find the settings under Administrative Tools-->Connections Manager.  Your router does not have a VPN server built in (which is a shame, because that's always easier!) so you have to set up something called "VPN passthrough" - whenever the router receives an incoming VPN request (from home) it then passes this through - on to the SBS machine.

Consult your router's manual for instructions on setting up VPN passthrough.  I suggest setting up PPTP initally.  It's slightly less secure than L2TP/IPSEC, but much easier to set up.

Configure your VPN users on the SBS box; you should then be able to set up incoming VPNs.  Give your home users their username, password, and your router's external IP address.

Does that make sense?
Only able to visit the forums sporadically, sorry.

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