Favorite VPN Solutions

If you were starting totally from scratch and building a "small" VPN system (new routers, computers, operating system, programs, etc.) ... what components would make up your favorite configuration? Let's define small as 3 desktop computers in a small home business and a couple of road warriors with notebooks.

If you have a working system ... please share your set-up and what you would change if starting over. Likes and dislikes.

I'm a VPN newb and want to start off in the right direction.

I know "best" is very vague! Best security, easiest to learn and use, least expensive, most flexible, most common, best support, most mainstream, etc. Endless categories! Making this newb dizzy. Whatever someone with experience thinks is best will certainly be helpful to me!

If I really must limit the scope of this topic ... I currently am using Win2K and have the C++.Net software. Mostly I have been writing console apps, but I am anxious to learn both modern VPN and modern programming methods. I am trying to avoid going back too many programming generations. Thus I should use Frames over MFC? I should study XML? I need Win2003 Server?

Favorite VPN authors and titles would also be helpful! :))

Thanks in advance for your responses.

It's Xmas day here. Happy holidays all. :)

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MS Small business server, remote web workplace, outlook web access and outlook over https/rpc. I've been doing VPN stuff for years and this services 90% of the normal reasons VPNs are implemented. simon

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simon -- Thanks!! The VPN solution you outline above is excellent.

Simply knowing what the gurus' first choices are is a huge help for this newb. The online searching I had done in the past provided some info ... but much of that is shaded over by marketing and is confusing.

Now with some focus and some additional searching, I find the packages you recommended having received excellent reviews. The web casts MS provides for product explanation are excellent as well. :)

My impression at this time is your suggestion is excellent for a small business and has plenty of expansion capability. Starting from scratch ... this combination is a winner. No doubts.

If I may, please allow me to impose on your knowledge a bit more. Instead of a small business starting from scratch ... if you were to consider a "tiny" business trying to add secure remote access to a pair of wire networked Win2K desktops on the cheap ... what would your choices be for hardware (router) and software? I know I am now talking yesterday's technology that is a bit long in tooth, but taking small steps now (with the eventual goal of using the Small Business Server and complimentary support programs you recommended) would be very beneficial for my learning curve and pocket book.

The "tiny" approach may or may not require a VPN router? I own a Linksys54GS and that is my only router experience. It's a great piece of hardware; however, a salesman at Fry's suggested a newer VPN router. I have no clue what makes a router a "VPN" router. Is it the software bundle ... or is there something special about that router hardware?

Perhaps a reasonable beginner first step can be? --> Learn enough about VPN and the newer routers to duplicate the functionality of GoToMyPC (or similar service) while avoiding the monthly subscription fees. For some reason it just feels to this newb that a little knowledge gained can provide: 1) Better security. 2) A learning opportunity. and 3) Avoidance of the GoToMyPC $270/yr two pc annual subscription fee. I might be forced to upgrade from Win2K to XP (or Vista?), but best I not waste anymore of everyone's time here with my guessing and simply hope for some additional insight from the pro's.

Thanks again for your previous and *very* beneficial guidance.

-- Tom

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Linux file server with OpenVPN providing remote access to the network. It's a setup I've used many times successfully for small business networking.

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Roger Blake

Have a look at the Draytek Vigor routers. They're reasonably priced and have lots of good features. You could use one to provide Internet access, DHCP, firewall for the PCs in the office, and laptops out on the road could log on and connect to the office with a VPN.

Regards, SW

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