I want a simple way to provide device sharing, network security, and VPN capabilities on a small remote network. Are you aware of a device that includes all these functions, or should I look at separate solutions?
I know of one product that provides all the functions you want. (Whether you should entrust all these functions to one unit is another matter and depends on how crucial connectivity is for your remote office.) Filanet's InterJak 200 is an Internet service appliance that provides two USB and two FireWire ports for file and print sharing, DHCP server services, Network Address Translation (NAT), and a firewall with as many as 50 filters. The appliance also offers an optional VPN that uses PPTP or 56-bit Data Encryption Standard (DES) or 168-bit Triple DES (3DES) IP Security (IPSec).
For file sharing, you can attach supported drives to InterJak 200's USB or FireWire ports. The product runs Linux and uses Samba for interoperability with Microsoft OSs, so both Microsoft and UNIX systems can connect to the appliance. (In this regard, the product is similar to some of the increasingly popular low-end Network Attached Storage—NAS—servers.)
Filanet claims to support "almost any USB printer." You can view a sample list of compatible printers at the vendor's Web site (http://www.filanet.com).
InterJak 200 comes with two Ethernet ports: one to connect to the WAN and one to connect to your LAN. The product also supports several USB cable modems and Digital Subscriber Lines (DSLs) for WAN connectivity. At a street price of about $650, the appliance seems like a great little gadget for the small or remote office.