How to occasionally communicate between two different LANs

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bwana

Regular Contributor
One of the offices I work at has two separate internet connections each with its own router.Each router has its own LAN. One of the LANs has a big NAS. Someone on the other LAN sometimes wants to access the LAN with the NAS. I suggested he get a wireless NIC and plug it into his laptop-that way he could have access to both LANs. However, there is no wireless access at this office (for security reasons) Then I suggested he get a usb ethernet adapter and use a cable to connect to a jack connected to the other lan.

Then other people wanted to do the same thing. Now he is asking me if there is any hardware that can bridge the two lans so people can simply connect to both LANs transparently. Most of the traffic on each LAN is unique to each LAN. This new need to connect to both LANS was not anticipated but will not consume much bandwidth.

Any suggestions?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
The normal solution would be to put a router between each network. However this needs to be done as part of the overall network design. So the first question I would have is why are there two separate networks with separate internet feeds?
 

cptnoblivious

Regular Contributor
@bwana are you the IT person for both companies? Are there other folks that should be consulted?

If not, I want to echo ColinTaylor's comment, this should be properly designed. Ex. most places these days that I work at (I consult) have wifi, it's not an issue to secure it. Is this a sensitive location? Is the data sensitive? Why was this designed as 2 completely segregated networks?
 

bwana

Regular Contributor
2 separate networks due to two different businesses that share space. A bunch of artists and a bunch of makers. They each pay a small amount to their own operating funds to maintain things like rent, internet etc. They want to stay separate. There is no ‘IT’ department. And there is not likely to be be any money for consultants either. I am part of the ‘makers’ and the artists share some of their designs which we print for them and us. The NAS is on their network .It’s not a big deal but I advised them against using a simple switch to connect the two networks. If anything goes wrong, untangling the spaghetti of who caused it will not end nicely. For now I suggested using usb sticks. Not only is this more secure but it fosters interpersonal contact which is important. Since this is not like developing a code base or some huge software project, there is not going to be a lot of daily changes to a file from multiple Groups. Sometimes I think it’s too easy to get carried away with ‘if it’s new it should be better’
 

cptnoblivious

Regular Contributor
Thanks for the background, makes sense that you're looking at an easy way to do this.

Personally, I'd setup a VPN to the network that has the storage only for the people that need access, instead of connecting both networks. Provides a bit more separation should there be any kind of problem (randsomeware / malware), but overall you maybe right, using usb sticks might be easier for them.

Always tough when there isn't someone dedicated to the task, managing whatever is put in place can become a pain if there is turnover of the situation changes. The process for that is, for me, more of a concern than the technical solution.

YMMV of course :)
 

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