Teleworker Services

Teleworking is working away from a traditional workplace, usually from a home office. The reasons for choosing teleworking are varied and include everything from personal convenience to allowing injured or shut-in employees opportunities to continue working during periods of convalescence.
Teleworking is a broad term referring to conducting work by connecting to a workplace from a remote location, with the assistance of telecommunications. Efficient teleworking is possible because of broadband Internet connections, virtual private networks (VPN), and more advanced technologies, including Voice over IP (VoIP) and videoconferencing. Teleworking can save money otherwise spent on travel, infrastructure, and facilities support.
Modern enterprises employ people who cannot commute to work every day or for whom working out of a home office is more practical. These people, called teleworkers, must connect to the company network so that they can work from their home offices.

The Business Requirements For Teleworker Services:
More and more companies are finding it beneficial to have teleworkers. With advances in broadband and wireless technologies, working away from the office no longer presents the challenges it did in the past. Workers can work remotely almost as if they were in the next cubicle or office. Organizations can cost-effectively distribute data, voice, video, and real-time applications extended over one common network connection, across their entire workforce no matter how remote and scattered they might be.
The benefits of telecommuting extend well beyond the ability for businesses to make profits. Telecommuting affects the social structure of societies, and can have positive effects on the environment.
For day-to-day business operations, it is beneficial to be able to maintain continuity in case weather, traffic congestion, natural disasters, or other unpredictable events affect workers from getting to the workplace. On a broader scale, the ability of businesses to provide increased service across time zones and international boundaries is greatly enhanced using teleworkers. Contracting and outsourcing solutions are easier to implement and manage.
From a social perspective, teleworking options increase the employment opportunities for various groups, including parents with small children, the handicapped, and people living in remote areas. Teleworkers enjoy more quality family time, less travel-related stress, and in general provide their employers with increased productivity, satisfaction, and retention. In the age of climate change, teleworking is another way people can reduce their carbon footprint.
When designing network architectures that support a teleworking solution, designers must balance organizational requirements for security, infrastructure management, scalability, and affordability against the practical needs of teleworkers for ease of use, connection speeds, and reliability of service.
To allow businesses and teleworkers to function effectively, we must balance the selection of technologies and carefully design for telecommuting services.

The Teleworker Solution:
Organizations need secure, reliable, and cost-effective networks to connect corporate headquarters, branch offices, and suppliers. With the growing number of teleworkers, enterprises have an increasing need for secure, reliable, and cost-effective ways to connect to people working in small offices and home offices (SOHOs), and other remote locations, with resources on corporate sites.
Traditional private WAN Layer 2 technologies, including Frame Relay, ATM, and leased lines, provide many remote connection solutions. The security of these connections depends on the service provider.
IPsec Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) offer flexible and scalable connectivity.
Site-to-site connections can provide a secure, fast, and reliable remote connection to teleworkers. This is the most common option for teleworkers, combined with remote access over broadband, to establish a secure VPN over the public Internet. (A less reliable means of connectivity using the Internet is a dialup connection.)
The term broadband refers to advanced communications systems capable of providing high-speed transmission of services, such as data, voice, and video, over the Internet and other networks. Transmission is provided by a wide range of technologies, including digital subscriber line (DSL) and fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, wireless technology, and satellite. The broadband service data transmission speeds typically exceed 200 kilobits per second (kb/s), or 200,000 bits per second, in at least one direction: downstream (from the Internet to the user's computer) or upstream (from the user's computer to the Internet).
To connect effectively to their organization's networks, teleworkers need two key sets of components: home office components and corporate components. The option of adding IP telephony components is becoming more common as providers extend broadband service to more areas. Soon, voice over IP (VoIP) and videoconferencing components will become expected parts of the teleworkers toolkit.
Home Office Components - The required home office components are a laptop or desktop computer, broadband access (cable or DSL), and a VPN router or VPN client software installed on the computer. Additional components might include a wireless access point. When traveling, teleworkers need an Internet connection and a VPN client to connect to the corporate network over any available dialup, network, or broadband connection.
Corporate Components - Corporate components are VPN-capable routers, VPN concentrators, multifunction security appliances, authentication, and central management devices for resilient aggregation and termination of the VPN connections.
Typically, providing support for VoIP and videoconferencing requires upgrades to these components. Routers need Quality of Service (QoS) functionality. QoS refers to the capability of a network to provide better service to selected network traffic, as required by voice and video applications.

Connecting Teleworkers to the WAN:
Teleworkers typically use diverse applications (for example, e-mail, web-based applications, mission-critical applications, real-time collaboration, voice, video, and videoconferencing) that require a high-bandwidth connection. The choice of access network technology and the need to ensure suitable bandwidth are the first considerations to address when connecting teleworkers.
Residential cable, DSL and broadband wireless are three options that provide high bandwidth to teleworkers. The low bandwidth provided by a dialup modem connection is usually not sufficient, although it is useful for mobile access while traveling. A modem dialup connection should only be considered when other options are unavailable.
Teleworkers require a connection to an ISP to access the Internet. ISPs offer various connection options. The main connection methods used by home and small business users are:
Dialup access - An inexpensive option that uses any phone line and a modem. To connect to the ISP, a user calls the ISP access phone number. Dialup is the slowest connection option, and is typically used by mobile workers in areas where higher speed connection options are not available.
DSL - Typically more expensive than dialup, but provides a faster connection. DSL also uses telephone lines, but unlike dialup access, DSL provides a continuous connection to the Internet. DSL uses a special high-speed modem that separates the DSL signal from the telephone signal and provides an Ethernet connection to a host computer or LAN.
Cable modem - Offered by cable television service providers. The Internet signal is carried on the same coaxial cable that delivers cable television. A special cable modem separates the Internet signal from the other signals carried on the cable and provides an Ethernet connection to a host computer or LAN.
Satellite - Offered by satellite service providers. The computer connects through Ethernet to a satellite modem that transmits radio signals to the nearest point of presence (POP) within the satellite network.


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