Internet Connectivity Introduction


In most organizations and networks today, Internet connectivity is no longer an additional option, but a necessity. Most organizations that have a networking environment need to provide its employees or users with some form of connectivity to the Internet.

E-mail and Web sites have evolved into being important mechanisms for a vast number of organizations. Internet connectivity or connections support a company's business in a number of ways. Company employees use the Internet for a number of reasons, including the following:

·         Exchange e-mail with other employees at different branch offices, and with business partners and suppliers.

·         Access the LAN when working from home.

·         Find valuable information, or conduct research using the Web

·         Mobile users utilize the Internet to remotely access the LAN.

·         The Internet also provides the means for other organizations to connect to the company to perform business transactions.

The importance of the Internet to organizations has made developing and implementing the best strategy for connecting the organization's network to the Internet, an important function for most organizations. Developing and enforcing a policy that deals with implementing and managing Internet connections of the organization is no longer an unimportant, unnecessary task.

Typical issues that need to be clarified before Internet connections can be implemented, maintained, and managed include the following:

·         What method will be utilized to provide the company's network with Internet connections and Internet access.

·         What quantity of Internet access is required.

·         What security measures and mechanisms need to the used and implemented to secure the private internal network from unauthorized access.

·         What measures will be used to allow certain Internet users and VPN users access to specific resources on the private network.

There are a number of mechanisms and features provided by Microsoft that enable you to implement Internet connections. Understanding the available technologies and mechanisms, and the degree of Internet connectivity and security provided by each different method, is important. Connecting the LAN to the Internet can be achieved through translated connections using Network Address Translation (NAT), or through routed connections. To connect branch offices and to make the organization's network accessible from remote locations, virtual private networks (VPNs) and router-to-router VPNs can be utilized. Demand-dial connections or persistent connections can be used. The Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) VPN tunneling protocol or the Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) VPN tunneling protocol can be used to establish VPN connections. Remote access policies can be used to manage your VPN connections, and secure these connections. Authentication and encryption methods can be used to secure VPN connections. Also, Internet Authentication Service (IAS) can be used to provide centralized user authentication, authorization, and accounting and auditing. IAS can be integrated with the Remote Access and Routing Service (RRAS) of Windows Server 2003.

To connect a network or the LAN to the Internet, you can use either of the following method:

·         A router which routes traffic to the Internet, and from the Internet.

·         A translation service such as Network Address Translation (NAT) to translate private internal network traffic to public traffic which can be routed on the Internet.