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  • Branch Office Network

    Hello Friends
    I have a SBS 2003 server at our HQ with more 50 + users , 2 NIC configured , ISA Server installed , Exchange Server 2003 installed on it .
    We wanted to open a branch office some 60km away and we have 10 users using internet only for the moment . No server is present in there . So am planning to connect this branch office to the HQ .
    So since i am newbie to this things can u please help me what technologies is ideal for me .
    I am planning to install Windows Server 2008 on the branch office . I don't know if i need to have a Domain Controller in the branch office or not .
    Can someone please help me with a thoroughly step by step guide in connecting to the branch office
    pleaase !!!

  • #2
    Re: Branch Office Network

    First, you will need to connect the network at the branch office with the main network. If the Internet connections at both locations provide sufficient bandwidth, a site-to-site VPN tunnel will do the trick.

    Whether you need a local server (and whether a VPN tunnel will provide enough bandwidth) depends on the kind of network services the users at the branch office will be accessing. Are they to access files stored on the main server? E-mail? A web-based application? If you want specific recommendations, you'll need to provide some more information.

    You do seem to have more immediate problems, though. Exchange Server 2003 is no longer supported, Windows 2003 has less than a year left, and ISA Server is so outdated it's not even funny (even the succeeding product, TMG, has been retired). You should seriously consider at least replacing the ISA server as soon as possible. Any VPN-capable router should do.

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    • #3
      Re: Branch Office Network

      Originally posted by Ser Olmy View Post
      First, you will need to connect the network at the branch office with the main network. If the Internet connections at both locations provide sufficient bandwidth, a site-to-site VPN tunnel will do the trick.

      Whether you need a local server (and whether a VPN tunnel will provide enough bandwidth) depends on the kind of network services the users at the branch office will be accessing. Are they to access files stored on the main server? E-mail? A web-based application? If you want specific recommendations, you'll need to provide some more information.

      You do seem to have more immediate problems, though. Exchange Server 2003 is no longer supported, Windows 2003 has less than a year left, and ISA Server is so outdated it's not even funny (even the succeeding product, TMG, has been retired). You should seriously consider at least replacing the ISA server as soon as possible. Any VPN-capable router should do.
      Thanks for the quick reply Ser Olmy . Let me add some info about our situations . HQ users uses email in outlook , share network printers , access shared files and we want the same services for the branch offices too . We have a 2Mbps broadband internet in HQ on its way to be upgraded to 4Mbps and the branch office have 2Mbps bandwidth . Plus can you suggest me what Can i do to replace ISA Server 2004 suggestions are highly appreciated .
      Hope you will have enough info .

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      • #4
        Re: Branch Office Network

        Originally posted by hayeutino View Post
        HQ users uses email in outlook , share network printers , access shared files and we want the same services for the branch offices too. We have a 2Mbps broadband internet in HQ on its way to be upgraded to 4Mbps and the branch office have 2Mbps bandwidth .
        2 Mbit is tolerable for e-mail and general Internet access, but accessing files on a server at the other end of a 2 Mbit link is not going to be a pleasant experience. I'd recommend a DC at the branch office doubling as a file server with a DFS replica of the files from the main office. By putting the server in a different AD Site, you can easily set up a suitable replication schedule.

        As for printing, you will either have to print directly to the branch office printer(s) from the workstations, or let a local server manage the printers. Having workstations at the branch office send print jobs to a local printer via the server at the main office would be lunacy.

        Make sure you take into account that each branch office PC will consume an SBS license, and so will a server.
        Originally posted by hayeutino View Post
        Plus can you suggest me what Can i do to replace ISA Server 2004 suggestions are highly appreciated .
        I've been very happy with the ZyXEL USG series. The USG 50 does just about everything an ISA server can do (and a few things the ISA can't do). For the branch office, the USG 20 would be ideal, or the USG 20W if you want integrated wireless networking.

        The Cisco ASA 5505 is an even better product, but slightly more expensive and the base model has a very restrictive license.

        I've even used D-Link firewalls on occasion, but historically the reliability of their "wall wart" power supplies has left a lot to be desired.

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