Virtual Network Computing

Also see: Remote | Desktop | RFB

Acronym: Virtual Network Computing

Remote control software which allows you to view and interact with one computer (the “server“) using a simple program (the “viewer“) on another computer anywhere on the Internet. The two computers don’t even have to be the same type, so for example you can use VNC to view an office Linux machine on your Windows PC at home. VNC is freely and publicly available and is in widespread active use by millions throughout industry, academia and privately. VNC was originally developed by AT&T and uses the RFB protocol.

VNC disadvantages, a viable and cheap alternative?

Unlike RDP, VNC compresses JPEGs and transmits those over the network. RDP instead translates system calls thus lowering bandwidth which makes it possible to use RDP even over high latency / low bandwidth networks such as dialup. With VNC, this is only possible with a bit of lag and low quality JPEGs and/or if possible compression (uses resources). Although there are currently no known benchmarks the theory holds.

An alternative to VNC is using the X and RDP protocol; Windows 2000 server, Windows XP Pro (including DevilsOwn) and higher include a RDP server. Free and non-free, platform agnostic RDP clients are available, including for Linux/*NIX. If your server is a Linux/*NIX server then you can use NoMachine (aka NX) which compresses the X protocol making it even usable over a 56kb link.


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