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Is a VPN the correct tool for connecting three computers?

I have my SOHO at one address consisting of 3 computers linked thru an ADSL router/modem operating on IP 127.0.0.1. The computers are 192.168.1.100, 101 and 102. I am living elsewhere ATM and have a lone computer which I would like to use as offsite backup. It also sits behind a modem/router.

I have read about VPN's and am not really any wiser. I have also read about IIC from MS and am none the wiser (and seriously don't trust it anyway). What solution would you recommend for this situation? And where would I find the resources for doing it?

Depending on your ADSL router(s), you might be able to establish a VPN tunnel between the two, providing you with access to your three remote computers. To see if this is possible, log into your router and look for a menu option that mentions 'VPN'. If there is such an option, then simply go through your manual or spend some time to discover how you can use it and what you can do with it.

In the case your routers do not support VPN connections, you'll need to use one computer on each side to create a VPN tunnel. If you're running Windows 2000 or XP, you'll be happy to find out that the operating system supports VPN connections and it's really a simple process to complete. You'll be happy to find a VPN installation guide on my site, www.firewall.cx.

One thing you should have in mind when creating a VPN server using Windows is that you'll need to setup the ADSL router to forward specific ports to your internal VPN server, otherwise you won't be able to successfully create a connection.

A VPN tunnel is a logical connection between two points, allowing you to safely transfer data between the two points using encryption algorithms. The problem is that depending on the type of encryption, you'll be using different ports, and these must be known to the router in front, so it may pass them directly to the inside machine that will be the end of the VPN.

The VPN guide mentioned contains most of the information you'll need. If you find yourself troubled or unable to complete the connection, please refer to Microsoft's support page.

This was last published in July 2005

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