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  1. ROS uses randomly-assigned ports for publishers and subscriber. These ports are typically in the range 1024-65536 . Computers running ROS within your network need to be able to communicate on these ports. (I'm surprised your IT department thinks this is a non-starter).

  2. There are a number of ways to satisfy this:

    1. set up static IP addresses and DNS
    2. set up static IP addresses and hosts files on every computer
    3. set up a combined DNS/DHCP server like dnsmasq.
    4. set up DHCP to assign addresses statically, and set up DNS
    5. set up DHCP to assign addresses statically, and set up hosts files on every computer
  3. I'm not sure why you're bringing up VPN. If all of your computers are on the same network, you don't need it. I feel like I'm missing some big part of your requirements.