Author Topic: Remote PC access  (Read 10362 times)

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Offline xykotik

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Remote PC access
« on: June 23, 2011, 07:48:28 AM »
For discussion... 

I am often away from home and initially wanted a 'net connected PWS to access from the road.  Inevitably, something stops working while I am away.  Other than looking at your data or website, what are your personal experiences/recommendations for remotely accessing your dedicated wx-server over the 'net?  Do you also manage webcams over that server?  How about as a gateway to other devices (DVR, NAS) on your home network from the 'net?  Preference for Linux or Windows?  Web-host from that PC?  Do you use a fixed IP with a business-plan ISP or ddns?  Do you use a smartphone or pda to manage your server hardware remotely?  Have you tried multiple software/service solutions?  Here are a few examples to prime the discussion...

DynDNS.org
xampp (windows)
apache (linux)
java
Windows Remote Desktop Connection
VNC (free or paid)
LogMeIn (free or paid)
GoToMyPC

Also related, what is your restart plan after the UPS runs dry and you are not around?  Do you have to log in as a passworded user in order for your wx-sw to start and remote access to work?

Based on your remote-access experience and computer skill-level, what would you recommend to either a newbie to networking, or also to an experienced geek as a solution to the remote access question?


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Offline mackbig

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2011, 07:55:34 AM »
I can manage my security dvr remotely.  Using dyndns, but my ISP rarely changes my IP even though I am not on a static IP plan.

I did try setting up remote desktop between my laptop and weather pc within my "intranet".  It worked, but had a side effect.  My GR3 stopped working after I disconnected the remote connection.  Since my primary goal was to use RDP to solve GR3 issues I abandoned.   GR3 issues also ceased around the same time, as I discovered a bad web placefile can kill GR3 after several days.

Andrew

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Offline Bushman

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2011, 08:20:53 AM »
Teamviewer.  Free and excellent.

Offline up10ad

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2011, 09:15:38 AM »
I'm not quite sure why XAMPP/Apache is in your list, but I can upvote both of them.  I run on an XAMPP system and it is rock solid on Win7. Free is good.

For remote control I make use of several products for my personal and business.  At work we actually still have a decades old version of PC Anywhere that does the job for some servers, but the main remote product we use is LogMeIn.  I use the pay version ($69.95) on my main work computer and most servers and free versions on my home PC, weather PC and several others.  The free version works just fine, I just got the paid at work to be able to have sound, and to feel like I was contributing to the development.  I mainly control things using the LogMeIn Ignition product ($39.95) on my Home PC to connect to work, but also use the web client to control my weather station.  My iPhone and Android tablet both have the mobile Ignition program ($29.99) which is fantastic for controlling any of them on a small screen.  I can't say enough good about LMI.

I also have TeamViewer and it too does a great job.  I primarily use LMI because it was on my systems first and has never failed.  Win Remote Desktop isn't as good for WAN connections but works well on a local net; VNC is nice but not as seamless or easy to administer.

DynDNS isn't needed with LogMeIn but is a great program if you don't have a static IP and need to act like you do.  I have a static so I don't use it.

I web host at home using XAMPP because I prefer Apache, and it runs so well on Win7.  With LogMeIn I can control my cams and anything else that I can access from my weather PC. When connected from Work to Home, even by phone, I can manage my entire home network including all PCs, video server, and home control system. My DSL is a tad slow on the upload so the web isn't screaming, but its fine for visitors.  I have my DSL modem set to bridge mode which allows my Cisco router to perform authentication/login and all the port forwarding and routing.

More info than you probably wanted, but maybe it will be useful to someone, or help with the conversation. 
Rick
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Offline lddaly

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2011, 10:26:34 AM »
I also use LogMeIn, which is very easy to setup and use \:D/. My restart plan has my system automatically restarting with an auto login and StartWatch kicking in to manage all the applications.

Offline saratogaWX

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2011, 10:57:15 AM »
I use VNC (paid) for remote access to weather station PC from Win7 laptop, iPhone and iPad.  Works great!

Also have DynDNS (free) for the hostname (primarily for the 1sec views for the webcam) that lets me address the VNC connection too.

I'd previously used Hamachi/LogMeIn, but VNC works much better for me.

I just purchased a Dataprobe remotely-accessible power controller to be able to power-cycle the weather PC if needed (and it has needed it a couple of times :( )
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Offline WeatherHost

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2011, 11:20:51 AM »
Also related, what is your restart plan after the UPS runs dry and you are not around? 

There used to be a hardware product called "Reboot".  It had a switched AC outlet and would connect to your phone line.  You dialed into it, entered a 3 digit passcode and it would cycle the AC outlet, shutting the connected device off, then back on.

I have no idea if it's still available.


Offline Bushman

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2011, 11:43:14 AM »
Also related, what is your restart plan after the UPS runs dry and you are not around? 

There used to be a hardware product called "Reboot".  It had a switched AC outlet and would connect to your phone line.  You dialed into it, entered a 3 digit passcode and it would cycle the AC outlet, shutting the connected device off, then back on.

I have no idea if it's still available.


A buddy of mine uses X10 telephone control and it works just fine.  Cheap.  Mostly reliable.  ;)

Offline SLOweather

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2011, 11:45:11 AM »
I use Hamachi as a free VPN and then free VNC. Using Hamachi also gives me shared file access and such to all the computers on the Hamachi network.

Offline mackbig

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2011, 11:50:26 AM »
But if your UPS is done, and the pc is now completely off, how would this restart your PC?

Honest question.  I went thru this when my UPS died recently and little power flashes would shut off pc.  Even my power supply issue as few years ago, at least the pc would reboot, and all my apps would come back up.

I have a new UPS, but anything longer than a half hour and I am shutdown.

Is there a bios setting that will power up a pc, when it sensing a/c again?

Andrew

edit ps:  I think I answered own question.  Appears many pc's have a bios setting for this.  I guess my old pc was on, or became switched to "stay off".  I will have to check new one.  My work pc seems to have "stay off" "last state" and "Power On"

Also I quoted the wrong poster, since weatherhost did not quote, as he italcized the previous statement. Oh well.

Also related, what is your restart plan after the UPS runs dry and you are not around?  

There used to be a hardware product called "Reboot".  It had a switched AC outlet and would connect to your phone line.  You dialed into it, entered a 3 digit passcode and it would cycle the AC outlet, shutting the connected device off, then back on.

I have no idea if it's still available.


« Last Edit: June 23, 2011, 12:00:58 PM by mackbig »

Andrew - Davis VP2+ 6163, serial weatherlink, wireless anemometer, running Weather Display.  Boltek PCI Stormtracker, Astrogenic Nexstorm, Strikestar - UNI, CWOP CW8618, GrLevel3, (Station 2 OS WMR968, VWS 13.01p09), Windows 7-64

Offline utahweatherbear

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2011, 11:58:39 AM »
I swear by logmein to get to my PC from work to reboot machine, or restart cams and/or wx station software.

Offline DaculaWeather

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2011, 12:54:28 PM »
 I use Tight VNC for my remote access, the free version. I also use DYNDNS.org for my DNS for my IP webcam.

I use to have one of those boxes that you plug up to your phone line and restart things with. It worked great, wish I still had it.

Offline gadget_guy

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2011, 12:59:12 PM »
I use LogMeIN.  It is rock solid.  They even have an app for the Droid that gives me access to the Windows desktop right on the phone.  I can do everything from the phone that I can do from a regular PC except transfer files.  Highly recommended.
 

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Offline Dr Obbins

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2011, 01:18:34 PM »
Another LogMeIn user here.

Online SlowModem

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2011, 02:54:22 PM »
I have used logmein and it worked very well.  However, using dialup internet, it took around 30 minutes to do a reboot of the computer.  So it was kind of impractical for me.
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Online ed2kayak

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2011, 07:10:12 PM »

I just purchased a Dataprobe remotely-accessible power controller to be able to power-cycle the weather PC if needed (and it has needed it a couple of times :( )

That looks promising. I wouldn't have to call/txt/im my SO, kids, neighbor, or dog to reboot  pc. :-)
Ed
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Offline Bushman

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2011, 07:55:07 PM »

Offline DaculaWeather

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2011, 12:50:26 AM »

Online ed2kayak

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2011, 08:32:49 PM »
Dynamic IP forwarding & VNC
I've been a realVNC user for along time on local network. I just purchased the Android app works great at home on my wifi.
But a couple of questions I need help with:
1) Do I just need to use a port forwarding service like no-ip or  DYNdns, (probably other examples) and do port forwarding via my router?
2) What are the security implications. Is a strong password adequate on the VNC server?
3) Would I need two instances of VNC server running, if I want to hit it from my lan?

Thanks, many pros here to guide me.

Thanks for the links for hardware reboot products, I use a netbook, soo I don't think those will help me.

Someone mentioned a telephone product:check this out:
http://dataprobe.com/remote_power/power_pal.php
Ed
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Offline Bushman

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2011, 08:42:10 PM »
A lot of netbooks do not have power options.  Check your BIOS.

Offline saratogaWX

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2011, 01:26:50 PM »
1) Yes, you should use a service like DynDNS to have a DNS entry to address your home setup. It's not a 'port forwarding' service, just a DNS service so your system can be addressed when outside your local network with a public IP address of your current ISP connection.  You run the DynDNS client on one system in your local network to keep the DynDNS address updated as your ISP may change your public address with DHCP.
You will need to set your router to pass the realVNC port to the inside IP address on your local network.  I use different ports for each system to be controlled so the router setup forwards the selected port to the proper local address.
2) A strong password should be enough, although using the WinNT authentication is probably stronger.  I use a strong password.
3) Only one instance of realVNC server is needed per host to be controlled.  To hit from LAN, use the local IP address (192.168....).  For outside access, use the DynDNS name and the same port.

I also don't use the default port for realVNC .. a different high port just makes it a bit more difficult for folks to try to hack in.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 01:30:24 PM by saratogaWX »
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Offline xykotik

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2011, 01:30:25 PM »
Lots of great ideas and diverse experience.  I'm playing a bit with logmein (free edition) and something like that oughta be sufficient for my occasional needs.  For file xfers, I uploaded to a "scratch" folder on my website using an FTP client on the remote PC, then downloaded from that folder on my access-computer with an FTP client.  A bit clunky I suppose, but the paid version of logmein that includes a file-mangler is a bit steep for the rare times I would use it.  I see it serves up it's own ddns independent of any other ddns client, like DynDNS or my router.  I'm still using DynDNS for my spy-cam.

I mentioned Apache/Xampp in case some are hosting their own webpages from home, rather than using a paid service.  The ISPs say that's ok for personal use, and I don't ever plan on running any kind of trendy site that would invite the general public en mas anyway.

More experimenting with this topic begs another question for Dell laptop users.  In the "special" Dell BIOS (the blue tree) I find options for power-on-LAN and power-on at a given time.  It does indeed power-on at the chosen time (ie 3:00am) when that feature is enabled, but not before.  That is, if I unplug the power and let the battery drain until it does a controlled shutdown then plug it back in some time later, it does not power up again until 3:00am.  The BIOS in other (non-Dell) PCs I have gives options to wake on other triggers, or "last state" when power is restored (ie, stays off if it was off, or powers on if it was on before power loss).  Anyone know if there is a trick to do that with an old Dell?


Facit solem suum oriri super bonos et malos et pluit super iustos et iniustos.

Springtime in Seattle...  March comes in like a lion and out like a wet lion.

Offline gadget_guy

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2011, 09:15:27 PM »
Another option I sometimes use is to email the file(s) to the remote pc.  then I use LogMeIn to access the email client and save the attachments.  That actually works quite well.  I have the paid version for a couple of critical PCs and the free version for the rest.  So moving files via email on the free PCs works quite well.
 

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Offline up10ad

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2011, 11:36:40 PM »
I share a lot of stuff with DropBox, between work PC, home PCs and my iPhone. 
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Offline xykotik

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Re: Remote PC access
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2011, 01:49:55 AM »
I share a lot of stuff with DropBox, between work PC, home PCs and my iPhone. 

I used to swear by drop.io (then they went all facebook) and then dropbox, but it was too good a productivity and collaboration tool I think, because my company BLOCKED it within the intranet and vpn. I'm waiting for them to block my personal domain now, since it is more efficient for sending large (GB+) files to TS eather than the HOURS it takes using the company's big-file-xfer app.  For some insane reason they also  (try to) block google calendar and translate, but gmail is fine with them. 

Yes, I know.  Google is evil, but at least they make the trains run on time.  Getting my entire technophobic family (four generations) to use gmail is the only thing that got us efficiently communicating during a year full of crises.


Facit solem suum oriri super bonos et malos et pluit super iustos et iniustos.

Springtime in Seattle...  March comes in like a lion and out like a wet lion.