It can also be explained as remote control of a computer by using another device connected via the internet or another network. This is widely used by many computer manufacturers (DELL, HP etc.) and large businesses' help desk for technical troubleshooting of their customers. Windows XP, Vista, and Server 2003/2008 include Remote Desktop Services; Apple includes Screen Sharing with Mac OS X but sells its Apple Remote Desktop separately. Various professional third-party, open source and freeware remote desktop applications exist which are cross-platform and work various versions of Windows, Mac, and UNIX/Linux/BSD.
Typical commercial programs used for controlling Windows PCs include Radmin, Netop Remote Control, NetSupport Manager, pcAnywhere, I'm InTouch and Laplink. For Macintosh computers, there is Apple Remote Desktop and Timbuktu (Timbuktu also works under Windows). There is also open source remote control software such as VNC (which stands for Virtual Network Computing) and FreeNX. Another solution is a Web control, where you can use your computer anywhere and any platform, is a FogCreek-like solution.
How it works
When it works the controlling computer displays a copy of the image received from the controlled computer's display screen. The copy is updated on a timed interval, or when a change on screen is noticed by the remote control software. The software on the controlling computer transmits its own keyboard and mouse activity to the controlled computer, where the remote control software implements these actions. The controlled computer then behaves as if the actions were performed directly at that computer.
Depending on how it is implemented, displays connected to the controlled computer can show what the controller is doing or be disabled to hide actions and lock out users in front of the terminal.
The quality, speed and functions of any remote desktop protocol are based on the system layer where the graphical desktop is redirected. Software such as PC Anywhere, VNC and others use the top software layer to extract and compress the graphic interface images for transmission. Other products such as Microsoft RDP, Graphon GO-Global and others use a kernel driver level to construct the remote desktop for transmission.
A main use of remote desktop software is remote administration. However, remote desktop software can also be used for "headless computers". Instead of having separate monitors and keyboards for each computer, or using a KVM switch, one can attach a single monitor, keyboard and mouse to one computer with remote control software, and use it for operating the other computers. The duplicate desktop mode is also useful for user support and education. Remote control software combined with telephone communication can be as helpful for novice computer-users as if the assistant was actually there.
Since the advent of cloud computing, remote desktop software can now be housed on USB hardware devices, allowing users to connect the device to any online PC and recreate their desktop via a connection to the cloud. This model avoids the problem with remote desktop software, which depends on the user's primary computer being switched on at the time when the user wishes to access it remotely. The common name for USB devices with the capacity to remotely recreate a user's desktop is "secure portable office."
Remote desktop products
It is available with three models: hosting service, software and appliance.
Main article: Comparison of remote desktop software
Remote desktop protocols
The main remote desktop protocols in use are:
Virtual Network Computing (VNC) - a cross-platform protocol
Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) - a Windows-specific protocol featuring audio and remote printing
Remote Frame Buffer Protocol (RFB) - A framebuffer level cross-platform protocol that VNC is based on.
Apple Remote Desktop Protocol (ARD) - Original protocol for Apple Remote Desktop on Mac OS X machines.
NX technology (NX) - a newer cross-platform protocol featuring audio and remote printing
Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) - a proprietary protocol designed by Citrix Systems
X Window System (X11) - a well-established cross-platform protocol mainly used for displaying local applications, but can also be used remotely
Rapid X Protocol (RXP) - the Graphon GO-Global protocol to communicate between the host and the client
Appliance Link Protocol (ALP) - a Sun Microsystems-specific protocol featuring audio (play and record), remote printing, remote USB, accelerated video
PC-over-IP (PCoIP) - a remote display protocol available in hardware and software implementations
Comparison of remote desktop software
Comparison of Java Remote Desktop projects
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Remote administration software
Apple Remote Desktop Back Orifice Back Orifice 2000 Citrix XenApp Crossloop System Center Configuration Manager LANrev Secure Shell TeamViewer NetBus pcAnywhere Remote Desktop Protocol Remote desktop software Sub7 Timbuktu Virtual Network Computing NetSupport Manager
Categories: Remote administration software | Remote desktop | Software type stubs