Tech Tips: Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and Storage

Q: Dear IT Guy, I am an attorney in Chicago and have decided to go broadband and join the majority of home connections to the Internet. I have three options in my apartment building, DSL, Cable and Satellite form several different providers. My law firm is just now putting in VPN technology but I think I will be able to get connected within the next three months. Given my 3 broadband options or staying with AOL what is my best route?

A: Dear Attorney, it is great that we enjoy so many options for quick Internet service. Well, each service provides a huge gain over AOL dial-up, so let's focus on the broadband options. My experience has been that Cable will give you the faster connection during non-peak times with some connections pushing 3mb. The downside is that when everyone gets home and jumps online the rate drops to a crawl sometimes; I have been told this is due to the branch structure of the cable connections. Satellite is fairly new on the market and my impression is that you pay a high cost for the equipment and run into times when the weather can affect you speed and connection. DSL has been the most stable service type; there is some retardation in connection speed when the circuits get busy but not to the degree of Cable. Cable and DSL also support VPN, whereas Satellite service does not.

Q: IT Guy, I work on some of my documents from home and have been transferring my revisions by floppy back and forth from office to home. The IT Department wants me to Email myself the documents and work on them and Email them back after I finish working on them. This doesn't work too well because I am limited to dial-up Internet access and it takes forever to get connected and have the files downloaded. Do you have any ideas?

A: Drop the Floppies, I have had more lost files by people using the sneaker-net. I suggest you buy what is known as a USB Flash Drive (a.k.a. a Key or Pen drive) to transport your files. Flash drives are very small USB connected drives that can save large amounts of data and are easily carried back and forth from home to office. A typical 256mb USB Flash drive will run you about $40.

Tips courtesy of Chuck Linebaugh of O'Hagan, Smith & Amundsen.

Technology changes quickly. For a more up to date discussion on this topic, please visit the Computer Networking & Storage section at FindLaw’s Technologist blog.