We use VPN. As Wayne pointed out, you are at the mercy of Internet congestion, and you may have bandwidth issues with shared systems like cable broadband - DSL may be more dedicated, hence more predictable.

OTOH, you can get in from anywhere you have an Internet connection. And anyone else can try, as well. There are also concerns about access leaks from you remote machine - your home machine can be a way in for a hacker.

We are a relatively small development operation and are very satisfied with a LinkSys VPN router that allows up to 70 VPN connections to be active. They do not provide a specific client, but Win2K and XP have the means to create security policies for connecting to the LinkSys - ugly to set up but work quite well. The LinkSys also is not the most secure animal in town - no certificate authentication, e.g. (No attacks, please!) I personally use a once-available software VPN client that works better for me than the security policies. It does, however, not coexist with Internet Connection Sharing in Windows.

Or the remote sites could have their own VPN router (2 session, maybe), which'd handle the connections nicely. Again, pre-defined shared keys is the authentication and encryption is not the best - only 3DES and MHA (or whatever the name is?).

I would think some expertise is needed to set this up. There are many issues I know nothing of. Access with VPN is convenient, esp. with the LinkSys, which integrates VPN and NAT router functionality. But convenience brings with it some security risks.

Other vendors have much more secure appliances for this - Cisco, etc.

Good luck

At 03:51 PM 3/5/2004 -0500, you wrote:
Our current frame relay contract is up in May and I was wondering if anyone is using
other means of remote communication with the AS/400. I've researched VPN a bit and
it sounds like a possibility. We're not disappointed with our frame relay service
I'm just thinking that there has to be a cheaper way to do things and now's the time
to check it out. Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

Ed Chabot
The Marlin Firearms Company
100 Kenna Drive
North Haven, CT 06743

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