I'm on the edge of my networking experience here, so any help is appreciated. My goal is to enable a remote user to map a drive letter on their local machine to a remote file server share. The end user's experience would be identical to working inside my LAN, meaning they could open, save, edit, delete, etc. From my research thus far, I think I am describing a VPN.
The ideal solution would be secure, but simple. I don't mind installing a new piece of hardware in my LAN, but would very much prefer to not require new hardware for my users. As they connect from various geographic locations, I don't want to require them to lug around additional hardware for this purpose.
My current LAN hardware is a Linksys WRT54GS router with static IP and an Iomega ReadyNAS NV+. I have successfully connected remotely to the NAS using HT TPS.
Client machines are running Win XP SP2 or Vista. One client machine is running Mac OS X 10.5.2.
I've determined thus far that my current router is not sufficient to provide a VPN connection. I looked at the Linksys business class routers (model WRVS4400N or similar) but the reviews I've found are disappointing.
I took a look at the bottom of the line Cisco units, namely the 851W, as a replacement. I'm NOT a network engineer, so I'm nervous that Cisco products will be over my head. Is there a better unit to look at?
Would a Cisco 851W require my remote users to have VPN hardware? Does it come with a software application that could be used in lieu of hardware?
Given that I'm going to need to learn the next steps, what is the best way to pull this off?