Cisco Telecommuting and Remote User Solutions

As advances in digital communications shrink time and distance, a new model of the workplace is taking shape. The modern office is no longer contained within a structure—instead, it is mobile and geographically scattered. The twenty-first century workplace is becoming any place where work is done. Companies must provide remote access to e-mail and other network resources to telecommuters and remote users. Telecommuting can be a valuable tool for recruiting and retaining key personnel in today's tight labor market.

Small- and medium-sized businesses in need of integrated telecommuting and remote user solutions need to take the following actions:

• Integrate dialup connectivity with traditional, remote user to LAN access

• Support the higher levels of performance required for new applications, such as Internet access, intranet communications, and multimedia

• Ensure security, data privacy, and availability as users connect from any location, including branch offices, home offices, and hotel rooms

• Integrate products powerful enough to handle today's needs and flexible enough to grow and to adapt to tomorrow's requirements.

Telecommuting and Remote User Considerations

This section covers telecommuting and remote user considerations.

Scalability

Scalability and modularity are key requirements—as a company grows, it can leverage its investment in existing equipment.

For telecommuting and remote access solutions, it is critical that the central office solution allows system administrators to scale their network capacities.

Security

When implementing telecommuting and remote user solutions, it is critical that security for the central site be preserved; user authentication features prove a user's true identity to prevent unauthorized use of network resources.

WAN Optimization

Because most ISDN charges are based on usage, it is important that ISDN telecommuting users have a solution that can implement dial-on-demand routing, enabling users to initiate a WAN connection only when there is network traffic destined for a remote location.

Bandwidth-on-demand is another important feature that allows ISDN users to dynamically aggregate multiple B channels for high bandwidth when required.

Configuration Flexibility

Today, two popular WAN services for telecommuters are modem dialup via basic telephone service and ISDN modem dialup is a cost-effective solution for users who need occasional access to the corporate network to transfer relatively small amounts of data, or for mobile users who need to connect from customer sites, hotel rooms, or other locations. ISDN offers an attractive alternative for users who need high-speed access to network resources and large files. In addition, Frame Relay is growing in popularity as a WAN service for full-time telecommuters. It is important that a central site solution for telecommuting have a modular design that can accommodate all three types of connections from a single device.

Telecommuter to Central Site Solutions

A vendor that provides both home office and central site products offers a solution that simplifies network management and that ensures full interoperability. The correct solution depends on the needs of the user:

• Does the user need additional analog interfaces that allow devices such as fax machines to share the ISDN BRI line?

• Does the user need an integrated four-port hub?

• Does the user require support for multiprotocol routing or synchronous serial WAN connectivity?

Figure E-2 shows Cisco telecommuting and remote user solutions.

Figure E-2 Cisco Telecommuting and Remote User Solutions

Central Site

Figure E-2 Cisco Telecommuting and Remote User Solutions

Central Site

Cisco 3600,D 4500, AS5x00,D 2600, or CiscoD 2509/11 Series

Cisco 1000D Series

Cisco 3600,D 4500, AS5x00,D 2600, or CiscoD 2509/11 Series

Cisco 1000D Series

Cisco Solutions for the Home Office

Cisco offers a variety of solutions for the home office.

The Cisco 700 series ISDN access routers offer a cost-effective solution for telecommuters with multiple computers or network devices that require transparent, high-speed access to a company network.

The Cisco 760 and 770 series feature two analog telephone interfaces that allow devices such as standard telephones, fax machines, and modems to share the ISDN BRI line, eliminating the need for multiple telephone lines or expensive ISDN telephones. The Cisco 770 series offers an integrated four-port 10BaseT hub. All the routers in this family of products include the Cisco Fast Step application, a Windows 95 and NT 4.0 graphical user interface (GUI) that makes the routers easy to install, configure, and manage. In addition, the Cisco 770 series can be managed from a central site.

The Cisco 1000 series of compact, easily installed and managed fixed-configuration desktop routers provides low-cost, high-speed connectivity for branch and small offices, as well as telecommuters. These products can be installed by nontechnical people at remote sites.

The Cisco 1000 routers are ideal for home telecommuters who need AppleTalk capability or for connecting small remote sites with Ethernet LANs to regional and central sites. The Cisco 1000 family offers ISDN, leased line, Frame Relay, X.25, and Switched Multimegabit Data Service (SMDS) WAN services.

Cisco Solutions for the Central Site

Cisco Systems offers a range of central site products ideal for telecommuting and remote user solutions. All the following series of products are scalable and modular, and they offer the utmost in configuration flexibility. In addition, they all support features to increase WAN security and to reduce WAN costs.

The Cisco AS5x00 family of universal integrated access servers provides superior density, price, and performance to accommodate the needs of general remote access users and high-bandwidth telecommuters. The AS5x00 series is extremely popular because it integrates the functions of standalone channel service units (CSUs), channel banks, modems, communication servers, switches, and routers into a single chassis. By terminating both analog modem and ISDN calls on the same chassis from the same trunk line, the AS5x00 meets traditional analog dial-in needs while supporting the growing demands for high-speed ISDN access.

The Cisco 4500 and 4700 series access routers are high-performance, modular central site routers that support the most comprehensive set of LAN and WAN technologies with NIMs. Their modular design allows easy reconfiguration as needs change. A full range of high-speed connectivity options are available, including Fast Ethernet, ATM, HSSI, and FDDI.

The highly modular Cisco 3600 series access servers provide amazing versatility to support branch/central site dial access applications, LAN-to-LAN or routing applications, and multiservice applications in a single chassis.

The Cisco 3640 has four network module slots, and the Cisco 3620 access router is equipped with two slots that accept a variety of mixed-media or WAN network modules, including one slot that supports dual Ethernet and dual WAN ports. Multiservice applications are supported by integrated voice network modules.

The Cisco 2600 provides a cost-effective solution for extending data/voice integration, dial concentration, and VPN access to remote branch offices.

The Cisco 2509 and 2511 and the AS2509-RJ and AS2511-RJ access server models are dialup remote access servers with integrated routing. They provide high-speed synchronous and asynchronous serial line connections that are perfect for telecommuting and remote access solutions to the corporate LAN from a single platform. These fixed-configuration access server models provide Ethernet or Token Ring LAN connections for 8 and 16 simultaneous dialup users.

All Cisco access routers incorporate the industry-leading Cisco IOS software. Cisco IOS software supports robust multiprotocol routing and provides enhanced support for multimedia and features, to reduce WAN connection costs. Data compression and multiple traffic prioritization techniques ensure that critical data is accommodated. Dialup costs are minimized with features such as protocol spoofing, snapshot routing, NSLP route aggregation, DDR, and BOD. Comprehensive authentication and authorization allow only approved traffic onto the network; event logging, audit trails, encryption, virtual private networking functions, and NAT provide additional network security. Support for protocols such as IGMP and RSVP makes the Cisco routers ideally suited to meet the demanding needs of audio and video services.

Cisco Management Solutions for Telecommuting and Remote Users

All Cisco access routers are manageable by the CiscoWorks Windows software, a comprehensive, Windows-based network management system with the following characteristics:

• Based on the SNMP industry standard

• A powerful set of network management tools for easily managing Cisco products

The Fast Step utility is used for configuration, troubleshooting, and monitoring of Cisco 700 series routers.

ConfigMaker is used for initial configuration of Cisco 1000, 1600, 2500, 2600, and 3600 series routers.

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