If I want to connect two offices physically separate from each other but in the same city, what type of features do I need?

I want to allow the following;

  1. allow users to log in using accounts
  2. allow users to log in from home
  3. have printers attached to the network
  4. allow users to save files in their account ?file server?
  5. perhaps a database is needed, not sure why yet
  6. allow users to send emails
  7. allow users to telephone calls,voip? any other method?

Some features of the network, each site has at least 15 pc's and 3 multi-function network printers.

I was thinking of the following;

Servers: Mail, Web, File, print, directory, database, VPN
Other: Switch, firewall, router, cat5e cabling, network printers, telephones.

I am not sure if this can be done, but since web and mail requires little bandwidth then only have mail and web server in one location? Can I even merge the two in one server instead of having separate servers for each, and if this is done which of the above servers should be merged into one big server, perhaps (mail, web, file, print) can these coexist in one powerful server? or is not recommended?

This is my proposed network for the main branch


This is for an assignment I need to do but I have never done any networking so I am a bit lost, I have spent 2 days trying to gather as much information as possible.

  • why did i get a vote down, ive spent 2 days researching – David Garcia Apr 23 '12 at 18:50
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    Six 2U servers at a location with "at least 15 PCs" seems like a bit much; surely most of those boxes would be at least 95% idle, at least 95% of the time. There is value in separating roles but servers can be virtualized. – Skyhawk Apr 23 '12 at 18:58
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    @JoseDavidGarciaLlanos My guess is because your question reads a little like homework: The problem you're asking to solve is pretty trivial for experienced admins, and if you're feeling out of your depth implementing it the answer is likely to be "Get some help from an experienced professional before you accidentally break something" – voretaq7 Apr 23 '12 at 19:16
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    I agree with the overuse of servers. To be honest, one SBS server with 16GB of RAM or so would be sufficient to serve 15 clients efficiently. – JohnThePro Apr 23 '12 at 19:48
  • From what i had read i can merge (mail,web) in one server since they dont need alot of bandwith, can you guys help me then merge the others, – David Garcia Apr 23 '12 at 20:15

All you need is a VPN between to the locations. If properly configured, all resources from one side should be available to users on the other side, and vise versa.

I recommend OpenVPN, but if you have Windows servers, you can use the Windows RRAS (Router and Remote Access services)

What I would do in your situation is:

  1. A 'main' office, with better hardware, hosting the Domain Controller, and other network services.
  2. A 'branch' office, with a second domain controller (RODC's are good in this use case) and other network services.
  3. DIFFERENT SUBNETS FOR EACH LOCATION. If Network A(main) is, make Network B(branch) be
  4. A VPN solution to connect the two networks
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  • I'd agree with this. This might very well be all that you need, and if it isn't, its still the first building block upon which extras would need to be built. Once the offices can communicate, you can then test to see if performance of all the functions you want is adequate over the link, and if not you can then spend more time and money on those specific areas, which is much better than taking a scatter-gun approach of trying to do everything. – Rob Moir Apr 23 '12 at 17:06
  • As long as the routing between the two locations is good, it should be all he needs. – JohnThePro Apr 23 '12 at 17:07
  • What about the servers, do i need file serves on both same as vpn servers on both, how about to allow the employees to connect to their accounts – David Garcia Apr 23 '12 at 17:26
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    Is this network all imaginary at this point? If you have two fully functioning locations, complete with two separate domains, you'll need: a)VPN to connect the two sites, b) a TRUST established between the two domains to allow users from one to access resources on another. – JohnThePro Apr 23 '12 at 17:29
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    @JoseDavidGarciaLlanos - the workstation LAN connects to the switch, not directly to the servers (unless you mean there are two switches present, in which case you need to add the second one). The core/main switch on a network is like a spider sitting at the centre of the web. – Rob Moir Apr 23 '12 at 18:30

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