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Remote Support

By discokym ยท 8 replies
Oct 31, 2002
  1. Hi peoples,

    I'm setting up a computer resource center for children in Northern India in a few weeks time. Because I'm only going to be there for a couple of months I would like to be able to provide some level of remote support for the center when I get back here to Australia.

    The lab will have 10 PC's (one is a server) runinng win2k pro and will have a fairly average internet connection.

    So my question is this. What cheap (free - if possible) ways do you think I will be able to support the resource center. Some of the ways I've been thinking are:

    * VNC -- but not exactly sure how to get their IP (it'll probably be dynamic)

    * Netmeeting -- although that seems a bit heavy weight for the internet connection

    * Set the server as a dialup server of some sort -- so I can dial in form australia -- but what about phone fees?

    * Terminal services

    * email and phone

    Has anyone done anything similar, got any good ideas or advice to offer. Anything welcome -- even just to tell me I'm crazy.

    Kym Phillpotts
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    If these computers have Windows XP (I think Windows Me has this as well), Remote Assistance might be an interesting option.. It won't let you show them how to fix any problems, but you can access the computer itself, log in and fix the majority of problems that occur yourself.

    I'm skeptical about how well it will work over a slow connection like 56k though.

    It's easy to do. As long as they can use Windows Messenger or have an outlook express e-mail acount, they can send you an "invitation" through e-mail or IM. You can then use this invitation to access their computer as though it were yours.. A little window will be open on your computer that displays the desktop of the computer you are working on and you can use it just like your own computer with a GUI and such.

    Phone and e-mail is a pretty good option albeit pretty standard these days. Sometimes that realtime-communication can be pretty important. You may even want to consider instant messaging as a pretty good option. It's fairly quick and you can send images and files.. Any of which may be very useful for troubleshooting.
  3. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    I saw on TV somewhere that as long as you can setup remote assistance on those computers and allow your username and password that you can just simply click on the shortcut and connect to that computer without having to be asked for assistance. I am trying to find it, but to no avail. I'll keep looking though.
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Sounds like a bit of a security hazard.. heh. That would awfully convenient though, wouldn't it?
  5. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    Well I searched for quite a while, but couldn't find exactly how to do it. I know I saw it on a TechTV show, either www.thescreensavers.com or www.techtv.com/callforhelp

    I'll keep looking, but they explained it that it is of use for office's and problems just like this one.
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    The way I understand remote assistance is that the computer that make sthe request has a time limit... The user chooses how long the invitation expires. You should have NO control over this however, so whether you can access their system via a shortcut depends on how long they specify.

    To access the system at any time, the user would probably have to set the remote assistance account so that it never expires.

    Then there's also the deal with IP address.. Dynamic IPs would make it difficult for a single shortcut to locate the computer, I would imagine. Perhaps using some sort of static DNS naming service would help if the computer is dynamic.
  7. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    dyndns would give them a host name associated with a dynamically allocated IP even if the IP changed from time to time....

  8. Elcarion

    Elcarion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 169

    FYI: Some newer Cable/DSL routers support Dyndns.org. I don't know about the following:
    The new Linksys VPN Cable/DSL Router (model BEFSX41) (around $70 USD) allows you to connect to a remote network through PPTP or IPsec VPN. (I strongly recommend IPsec if you have the bandwidth available for it's added security.) This would allow you to use a less secure, more robust protocol for your remote access without the fear of doing so over the Internet. For example, Remote Desktop which is included win WinXP Pro or Win2K Server. Win2K Pro is a bit more limited. You need to determine the security risk of the protocol you choose compared with the threat. For example, I would consider a 16 year old child a bigger threat than a 5 year old.

    Here's some info on it: http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/Reviews-17-ProdID-BEFSX41.php

    This is not to be confused with the Linksys BEFVP41. This router is around $110 USD and might be worth considering as well. It has an IPsec processor built-in and allows for a remote computer to connect without requiring an IPsec client.

    When I find info about VPN Routers with DynDNS support I'll let you know.
  9. Elcarion

    Elcarion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 169

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