Remote Access VPN

By | March 19, 2009

Do you work by telecommuting? I know some do, but it’s not really a reality yet (mostly). The world still runs on the 9-5 on-site job unfortunately. Not only is telecommuting a less stressful way to work, but it is way better for the environment (plus many other positives your boss never mentioned). But telecommunicating needs one thing – A secure remote access system in place.

The main problem in telecommuting is communication, in which communicating with your co-workers/managers can be a challenge. But fortunately, there is a remote PC access solution built in to all Microsoft operating systems since Windows XP.

Remote access forms the basis of cloud computing. Accessing your workplaces network remotely will allow you the same access that you would have if you were right in the office. You can send files to the office printer, and even retrieve files that are located on other shared hard drives in your network. The only noticeable difference between remote access and actually using the computer in the office is the speed of the computer. If your work computer is generally very fast, you will notice the speed is reduced when using remote access. The remote computer will only work as fast as the network connection will allow.

Virtual Private Networking (VPN) uses the internet to connect two computers that are otherwise not on the same network.  To connect a Virtual Private Network you will need a key piece of information, which is the host name or IP address of the computer you are connecting to; your office IT team should be able to get this information for you.  Once you have that information you are ready to setup your VPN connection.

Here is the procedure to set up a VPN connection in Windows:

1)  On your home computer navigate to Start>Control Panel>Network Connections.


2)  In the quick list on the left click on the Create a New Connection link/wizard.


3)  Click next

4)  On the Network Connection Type page click Connect to the network at my workplace.

5)  Click Next

6)  On the Network Connection page choose Virtual Private Network Connection.

7)  Click Next

8)  On the Connection Name page choose a name for your connection. This will be the name under the connection icon. You might choose to call it something like ‘work connection’ or ‘office computer’ so you will easily recognize it.

9)  Click Next

10)  On the Public Network page, choose Do not dial the initial connection (if you don’t want this connection to happen automatically every time you turn on the computer) or choose automatically dial this initial connection and choose the new connection you created from the drop down list. (if you want this connection to turn on automatically each time you turn on the computer)

11)  Click Next

12)  On the VPN server selection page fill in your office’ host name or IP address as provided by your office IT department.

13)  Click Next

14)  If you are prompted with a Connection Availability page choose whether or not this connection will be available for everyone who logs into the computer, or just select users (this screen only appears if your machine is setup with multiple users).

15)  Click Finish

16)  If prompted to reestablish your connection choose yes.

17)  On the Connect dialogue box you will be asked for the Login Credentials that you would use on your office computer. Enter them here.

This should complete the setup of a basic VPN connection in Windows. Once connected, you should see the remote computer added under My Network Places. In the foreseeable future, remote access is going to gain more and more importance, so it’s definitely something to get familiar with, especially if you are keen to explore telecommuting jobs.

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