Real VNC – Gaining Access To More Than One Desktop
Technology is a funny thing. Take the computer desktop for example. Most people have got their desktop set up exactly as they want it to be. They know where everything is as well. But this is no good if you are on the road and you have your laptop with you. Leaving something you really need on your desktop computer can be very frustrating.
Managing a number of computers can be complicated if each requires a physical visit, imagine the technical problems trying to administer a dozen servers in a computer room, or trying to fix your kids laptop, help someone out with their blog, or fix mums computer over broadband. Would it not be easier if you could quickly and securely access another computer desktop from where you are?
With all this technology around – there must be solution.
There are a number of paid solutions that can achieve this but RealVNC (VNC stands for virtual network computing) has been designed specifically to enable you to connect to a computer from a remote location. It has a wide range of uses and can benefit many different people, by allowing them to view and access another computer in a different location.
RealVNC, a technology company based in Cambridge in the UK, was set up in 2002 by the developers who created the original VNC program and the purpose of RealVNC is described on the site as“…it provides remote control software which lets you see and interact with desktop applications across any network.”
Now for the technology bit. The program consists of two parts. A server application and a viewer application. The server application sits on the computer you want to view whilst the viewer application sits on your computer. You can point the viewer to any computer that has the server application in installed.
Whilst you gain familiarity with the program it might be best to close the server application down until you actually need it – to increase security.
Three versions of the program are available, a personal edition, an enterprise edition and a free edition, which can be downloaded from the website, which is at http://www.realvnc.com/.
There are several versions of the program available, including one intended for personal users and one which is aimed more squarely at businesses. But there is also a free edition with limited features, as depicted on the site. You can see a comparison of the versions at http://www.realvnc.com/vnc/features.html.
There are a number versions of VNC Free Edition available including Windows (Server and Viewer), Linux (x86), Solaris, and HP-UX. A number of additional viewers are available including a handy Java version. The source code is also available if you are interested in the development of the application.
There are many different ways the program can be used. You can access your own desktop remotely, but it can also be used for teaching and installing programs on a linked computer. Rather than gaining a remote desktop view of the remote machine this application will show you the actual desktop the user is seeing on that machine, and the other can use the computer at the same time.
Here are just some of the benefits a technology like RealVNC brings:
- It has a versatile number of uses
- The connection between computers is securely encrypted over the Internet
- Enterprise edition works on Mac OSX and Unix as well as Windows
- Quick and simple file transfer from one computer to another
- Ideal for both private and business use
Aside from the free version, you can ‘try before you buy’ with the other two more involved versions of the software as well. This opportunity allows you to decide whether it would prove to be useful for you. Some of the features included in the fuller versions include wide support for operating systems, improved security, file transfer, address books, and desktop scaling.
You can download RealVNC by visiting the website at http://www.realvnc.com/.
You can access the handy frequently accessed questions at http://www.realvnc.com/support/faq.html.
Update: In February 200 RealVNC launched a mobile VNC solution. Read more in VNC Mobile Solution Overview (PDF).