Remote Access using RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol)

March 31, 2009

Previously, we discussed using VNC to remotely control a test platform. Today, a quick introduction to Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Like VNC, RDP provides remote access to a platform, using an RDP server and RDP client, to control the keyboard and mouse of the platform as if you were sitting right in front of it. However, there are many differences between the two products:

  • While VNC is GPL’d software, RDP is Microsoft’s proprietary protocol. So, while both the VNC server and client have been ported to multiple platforms (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc.), the RDP Server is typically a Windows-based product.
  • Windows XP & Windows Vista ship with Remote Desktop Connection and Remote Assistance, both of which use the RDP protocol client & server protocols. While Mac OS X and Linux (Ubuntu, etc.) typically ship with VNC-based products.
  • Due to Microsoft’s low-level hooks in their software, RDP connections usually perform much better than VNC products.
  • Microsoft’s products use RSA Security’s RC4 cipher for encryption.

Which one is best? That’s up to you. Both offer many functions. If you’re using Windows platforms and you want the greatest performance, grab a copy of an RDP-based application like Remote Desktop Connection. If you’re cross-platforms, VNC may be a better tool for you. Either way, get your remote connections setup so you can get out of work on time!

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