Set Up Remote Connection

  1. What do we have to do to set up a VPN?

  2. This is not a detailed guide. But, in general, these are the steps:

    First, your server computer needs a static IP address. Every computer on the internet is given an IP (Internet Protocol) address. Usually these are assigned dynamically, i.e. every time you start the computer. However, if you want to be able to find a particular server, it must be at a specific IP address. You must get a static IP address for the server in the main office. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can assign you a static IP address for no, or a very small, charge.

    Second, once you have a static IP address, the router in the office can be configured to allow people in remote offices to connect to the office network where the Sumac database resides. This is done by configuring a VPN (virtual private network). VPN is a protocol that enables people in remote locations to use the Internet to connect to an office network.

    Third, you need to configure the user computers to connect to the server. All modern PC operating systems (e.g. Windows, MacOS) support VPN communications. Once the static IP address and server are in place, it is relatively straight-forward to configure a VPN on your PC.

  3. How can I configure Sumac to connect to the database regardless of where I am?

  4. For example, I use my laptop computer to connect to our Sumac database in the office. When I use Sumac at home, over a VPN connection, the server address is different. How can I configure Sumac to connect to the database regardless of where I am?

    When you are in the office, you do not connect through the VPN. When you are in the office the server computer is probably identified by its computer name (e.g. OfficeServer). When connecting from home, you may have to identify the server by its IP address (e.g. 99.255.86.254) or by a different name.

    When you run Sumac, it looks in a file named databases.txt (this file is discussed in a FAQ above). This file identifies the databases that are available. If there is only one, then it connects to that database. If there are two or more, then Sumac lets you specify which database you want.

    You enable Sumac to access the database from different locations by putting two entries for the database in the databases.txt file. Here is how databases.txt could be configured for this purpose:

    jdbc:mysql://OfficeServer/SumacDatabase com.mysql.jdbc.Driver
    jdbc:mysql://99.255.86.254/SumacDatabase com.mysql.jdbc.Driver

    When you log on to Sumac, it provides a drop-down menu from which you can choose the appropriate database, depending on how you are connecting to it.

    If you use the Sumac Cloud service, then your database is accessible from anywhere on the Internet.

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