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I have an interesting scenario.

My company has an office in the US. The factors of the office want to charge $100 per user for use of their internet connection. This seems excessive so I was planning on going down a mobile broadband route for individual user access.

However, I also would like to be able to

  • Host a server in this location which uses an online back up strategy
  • Remotely log on to administer this server.

I'm looking for creative (legal!) ways to achieve this without having to pay $100 per user for an internet connection using the factors rates.

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Using a dynamic DNS service, having a server and remote logins is possible; the question is whether mobile broadband can give you the bandwidth you need; most mobile broadband plans I know have you pay per gigabyte or throttle you down to dialup speeds once you exceed a transfer limit.

Alternatively: do you really need the server to reside in the office physically? Renting one from a hosting company is usually a much better idea.

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Not sure I understand how they are going to determine how many users are using their internet connection. However, a borderline-legal solution would be to put a NAT box, pay for that, and have everybody go through it (possibly using a VPN). Techincally, there's only one 'computer' physically attached to their internet connection.

If, however, they want you to pay depending on how much people you declare being in the office at any given day, it's a totally different question. If it is so, I'd suggest changing provider altogether. Such tactics speak of extremely poor management and ignorance of basic networking, and that would worry me if I were to rely on them for keeping the connection up and running or fixing it in case of troubles.

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    It's not an ISP demanding the per-user fee, it's the company they're renting the office from. "Changing provider" would involve moving to a different office. – Michael Borgwardt Dec 9 '09 at 10:46
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I'm not sure I understand how the landlord controls what you do with the pipes into the office? A voice/fax land line can also run run DSL, a T1 can run voice and/or data, cable TV can also provide internet? Without knowing more details it may just be that they are encouraging you to get your own ISP connection and not share theirs.

Regardless, if you can't get around the landlord with DSL or cable and a T1 is too expensive then I would investigate a wireless (802.11) ISP connection, depending on the location it can be faster and cheaper than mobile broadband. Mobile broadband + online backup could make $100/user cheap! Talk to the other tenants and see what they are doing or call a local IT shop and see what they recommend, they'll know the best ISPs options.

As suggested by others, setup DDNS for a direct remote connection. Other options include LogMeIn (free or paid), GoToMyPC or similar services that all work fine without a static IP.

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I would go for either a 3g stick + 3g router or as someone else said, get a standard router (not modem router... unless you want to customise it/routing table), and then through another computer you want to manually set its ip to whatever the office gives you and then put DHCP on a different range for your internal computers.

For example, if your router would get 192.168.0.x, you want to put every machine on the 10.0.0.x range etc.

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