What is Remote Access Networking

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 What is Remote Access Networking  





Remote access networks provide the infrastructure necessary to support access to the corporate network from remote sites such as the branch office, and small office/home office (SOHO). In the past, remote access to corporate networks was plagued by high cost, poor performance, low-speed modems, and security issues. However, the remote access network market is currently experiencing an explosive growth, and several factors have combined to make it a very dynamic market segment of the networking industry. These factors include the following:

1.  Advances in telecommunications. The steady improvement in modem speed and availability of high-speed lines, such as the integrated services digital network (ISDN) lines, are continually pushing the remote access communication performance to be comparable to that received by a user that accesses the corporate network from within the company premises.
2.  Telecommuting. A telecommuter is an employee that spends most of his or her time working from home. Telecommuting started with the need to reduce highway traffic and increase the air quality. Many companies claim that their telecommuting programs have increased productivity, improved quality of life, and decreased absenteeism. This has led to an increasing population of telecommuters as more companies make the telecommuting option available to their employees. Even where there is no official corporate policy on it, telecommuters include people who, for many reasons, choose to work permanently at home and dial into the corporate LAN. Similarly, they include people who take their work home and dial into the corporate network from home to finish the work.
Advances in telecommunications have led to the concept of “office-anywhere” or virtual office whereby employees can connect to the corporate network from remote locations. This has increased the need for telecommuting. In addition, telecommuting will be essential as communities try to reduce air pollution by cutting back on highway traffic.
3.  Mobile workers. The increasing computing power of notebook computers has helped extend the corporate network to include mobile workers. These workers, who are involved mostly in sales, service, and support, use the remote access network to log in to the corporate network to read their e-mail and participate in discussion groups. Mobile workers also include traveling managers who connect to the corporate network from airports, hotels, and even in transit between locations, to check their e-mail.
4.  Internet access. The popularity of the Internet, the world’s largest wide area network (WAN), has accelerated the growth of the remote access network. We are in an information age when almost everybody wants to be connected to the Internet. All that a user needs is a personal computer (PC), a modem, and an account with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the user is able to join millions of other Internet users to exchange e-mails, access electronic billboard services, participate in discussion groups, and download information from the World Wide Web.
5.  Rise of virtual corporations. The Internet has given rise to the virtual corporation, which may be defined as a geographically distributed organization that coordinates it work via electronic communication. In a virtual corporation, workers usually work from home or remote offices, and remote access networking is their lifeline.
6.  Branch office access to the enterprise network. Advances in telecommunications have essentially shortened the distance between a branch office and the corporate headquarters. The remote access network is driving this change and making it possible for workers at remote branch offices to have full access to the corporate network and thus participate in discussion groups and collaborative work with other workers in the company.
7.  Growth of the extranet. The use of the Internet as the WAN of choice for enterprise communication has generated a new class of Internet-related networking concepts. One of these concepts is the intranet, which is a private network that has the Internet technology as its underlying architecture. An intranet is shielded from external access by firewall protection. However, there is a growing need for vendors, and even some customers, to dial in to the corporate network to check inventory status or place orders. This has led to the extension of the intranet and created a new concept called extranet which is used to describe an intranet that grants access to vendors, special customers, and strategic partners. The extranet is now seen as an important customer service vehicle that can be used to disseminate messages to corporate customers and shareholders.
8.  Growth of broadband services. A broadband service is one that requires a transmission rate greater than the T1 rate of 1.544 Mbps. The advent of ISDN has made several broadband services possible. These services are usually accessed via primary rate ISDN connections from such locations as doctors’ offices, legal services offices, educational institutions, government agencies, healthcare institutions, retail operations, and corporate offices. Typical broadband services that have helped to advance remote access networking include:
A service that permits doctors and other medical personnel to review patient records from remote offices.
A real-time, bidirectional service that permits the exchange of audio, video, and data information among multiple users at separate locations.
A service that allows the user to browse video catalogs or virtual shops to purchase products and services.
Distance learning.
A service that provides a “virtual classroom.” The teacher and student are at different locations.
A network-delivered service that offers the functionality of a home video cassette recorder.
A service that provides multiple users with immediate real-time access to multiple TV/radio/data programming.
A specific broadcast that allows the user to view special TV programs without requiring a dedicated point-to-point connection for each user. Titles and start times are broadcast and the user selects a service at a designated time.
A service that allows two users at separate locations to initiate and control a conversation that may include the real-time, bidirectional exchange of audio, video, and other data.




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