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Monday, August 16, 2010

4 Keys to Smart Phone to Home Office Connection Success

Considering connecting your SmartPhone (Droid, Blackberry, IPhone) to your home office or small busines pc/network?

Here are four keys to success and productivity!

1. Choose your SmartPhone, connection server, any needed 3rd party software, and client connection software carefully. At this time, YOCC has deployed IPhone connectivity to four pc servers (W7, Vista Ultimate, Vista Home Basic, and XP). Connectivity software in this network includes a combination of Windows Remote Desktop, TightVNC, and ITaP (Information Technology at Purdue). The ITap software required an investment of $12.00. ITap provides IPhone to TightVNC software. The VNC was free. Windows Remote Desktop is available for XP, Vista, and 7 Pro and Ultimate editions. In addition to supporting ITaP connectivity, TightVNC also provides support for connecting to Windows Home Basic and Premium editions.

2. Become facile regarding configuring your router - especially port forwarding. The basic idea is to point specific ports (to be used by ITaP software) to "within the firewall" ip addresses. So you'll also need to use the Command Prompt interface available in Windows to issue an "ipconfig" command to retrieve those "internal" ip addresses. You will also need to use your router's web facing ip address to configure so-called ITaP bookmarks (an interesting term for connectivity settings for ITaP software).

3. Ready your pc's for 24 x 7 availability. This consists primarily of adjusting implicated machines power settings for needed system resources to remain available for long periods of time - i.e. not sleep or hibernate. Key examples of these resources include: display, disks, and the system itself.

4. Last but definitely not least, build some redundancy into this scheme. Connections can be touchy. So, for example, connect as many servers as you can behind the firewall. This can be done using a combination of TightVNC and/or Windows Remote Desktop. So, if an ITaP connection fails , you may be able to reach the target server via an alternate path. Barring router outage, YOCC has achieved 90% availability to all four of it's Windows servers. YOCC is currently researching methods to build redundancy into its network at the router level.

If you are interested in connecting your smart phone to one or more Windows servers (or Mac's for that matter), YOCC would like to hear from you. Hope the above information helps someone.

Some useful links for this work.
  1. ITaP download and other info - http://itap.mobi/
  2. TightVNC download and other info - http://www.tightvnc.com/download.php
  3. FAQ - Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Remote-Desktop-Connection-frequently-asked-questions
  4. Port Forwarding link - http://portforward.com/
  5. To find your "external" (i.e. web facing) ip address - http://www.whatismyip.com/

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