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Questions about Remote Access

Posted on 2013-02-05
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Last Modified: 2013-03-25
The situation I have is this - our local humane shelter has 4 computers all running Windows XP Pro SP3. They all connect to the same Netgear router and share files from the main computer. The Manager of the shelter is confined to a wheel chair at her house and needs remote access to all the shelter computers. She also has a computer with XP Pro SP3. Here are my questions -

Can we use Remote Desktop to accomplish this?
Will we be connecting to the main computer and then to the others from there?
Will I need to give the main computer a static IP address?


Thank you!

Robert
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Question by:RobertEhinger
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15 Comments
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:rl3
ID: 38857750
Be sure that Remote Access is available with the Internet Connection at the Shelter.  If it's DSL you may have to call to have the port opened.  

What would probably work best is to set up one computer to be accessed remotely and then she can access the files on the other computers using a drive mapping.  I suggest this because it is likely there is only a single address out to the internet.  

If each shelter computer has a separate and distinct IP address then (test using whatsmyip.org) you can use dynamic dns to make each system accessible remotely.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:l33tf0b
ID: 38857842
What kind of environment is this?  I'm assuming it's a Workgroup environment and not a domain environment.

Using a netgear router - it sounds like you are using NAT - with one WAN IP.  As described above find out the external IP of each machine.  Most likely you'll need to use Port forwarding so the router knows which machine to direct RDP traffic to.
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LVL 28

Accepted Solution

by:
jhyiesla earned 334 total points
ID: 38859191
You might also look into something like Logmein. There's a free version that works well and would give remote access to her. Depending on the environment at the shelters, this might allow you to accomplish what you need without having to mess with any router or firewall settings.
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Author Comment

by:RobertEhinger
ID: 38859240
If I understand it correctly Logmein would give access to one computer at the shelter. Are you suggesting that we could then access the other computers once establishing access to the main computer?
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:rbudj
rbudj earned 166 total points
ID: 38859405
I concur with jhyiesla. Use logmein at logmein.com. Logmein will allow you to install a small program on each workstation. Then you go to their website, login to your free or paid account and you will have a list showing your 4 computers. You simply click the one you want to access and the remote connection is started automatically. Very simply and quite good. I've been using it for a few years now.
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LVL 28

Expert Comment

by:jhyiesla
ID: 38859482
You could do it either way. You could put Logmein on all the computers and give her access to each one via Logmein. Or you could put something like VNC on all the computers and she could access one with Logmein and then remote to other ones from the "main" computer. It's probably a better user experience to put Logmein on all of them and use that as the portal. VNC works great, but doing a remote session from a remote session, while totally workable, usually doesn't give the best end user experience.
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Author Comment

by:RobertEhinger
ID: 38859580
The next question would be cost. Since the Humane Shelter is completely non-profit and has limited funding we need a free solution. If she has access to multiple computers from her home computer won't we have to pay for that access?
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:rbudj
ID: 38859828
Logmein has a free version and a paid version. The paid version offers additional features such as file transfer.
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LVL 28

Assisted Solution

by:jhyiesla
jhyiesla earned 334 total points
ID: 38859907
The other expert is right. The free version should give you all the functionality that you need; unless you need file transfer capability as he has noted.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:rl3
ID: 38866128
What type of internet service does the shelter have?  DSL, cable (xfinity or uverse), etc...  Also, how many WAN ip's is the shelter paying for?  This will determine the best course of action for remote access.  If there is no 'budget' for this project I would suggest using dynamic dns with remote access.
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Author Comment

by:RobertEhinger
ID: 38873097
Right now they have a wireless signal coming into the building and then routed to each computer. There are plans to go to fiber optic. We are going to give logmein a shot. I will let you know how it goes.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:rl3
ID: 38877294
yes, please update; from your post I supposed you all were looking for a long term free solution; I think logmein if free to try...
0
 

Author Comment

by:RobertEhinger
ID: 38930428
We are trying logmein and there is a free version. I think it will do what we want.
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