How to Remote Into A PC Through A Wireless Access Point
There are many services both paid and free that will allow you to remote into your home pc. If you have any of the pro or business versions of Windows you already have the means to setup remote access, the “Remote Desktop” program. The real issue that causes everyone headaches is how to get it to work when you have a wireless access point at home. Few people know how to get past their home router. In this article I’ll show you one way to do this. We’re going to do this the quick and dirty way. Using the DMZ on your wireless router. This article presumes you have some intermediate networking knowledge and know your way around the network settings on a pc. I’ll provide some screenshots to help just in case.
A few things are necessary to any and all situations in order to setup remote access with “Remote Desktop.”
1) Log onto your wireless router. Go to the “Status” tab and write down your public IP address ( shown as Internet IP Address 71.XX.XX.XX ), the subnet mask, and the DNS server IP.
2) On the computer you want to remote into, go to the control panel and then to network connections. Right-click on your LAN connection and then to properties. Look for the IPv4 item in the list of protocols. Right-click on it and again go to properties. Click on the radio button that says “ Use the following IP address “ and set the IP statically to an address in the range that your router is using. Most likely it is a 192.168.1.XX address, Where you can replace the XXX with a number between 20-253 and probably have no issues. The subnet mask is almost always 255.255.255.0 but make sure to match what you wrote down in step 1. Put the DNS server IP’s in the DNS server box, and put the IP of the wireless access point in as the default gateway. This is almost always 192.168.1.1 for Linksys access points. Check the “Setup” tab on your particular equIPment if you’re not sure. Below you can see how I’ve configured my pc with a static IP of 192.168.1.103.
Set a static IP
3) Again, on the pc you want to remote into, right-click on the MyComputer icon and go to properties. Select the remote tab and make sure that remote access is enabled by putting a check in the box.
Then make sure to click on “Select Remote Users” and add the account you will be using to log in with remotely. The admin account should be automatically added but check to make sure what account is configured. When you attempt to log in you will need the credentials for the account found under the “Select Remote Users” button.
With these steps done it’s time to complete our config on the router.
Log onto the wireless router one more time. This time go to the “Application and Gaming” tab. Then on the “DMZ” tab. Once there enable the dmz setting. There will be a box for the source IP. This should be set to “any” so that it won’t matter where in the world the request is coming from. The destination IP should be the static IP that you gave your pc in step two above. For this example that was 192.168.1.103. Now save these settings.
Application and Gaming Tab
It’s now time to test your access. Go to your neighbor’s house or local library, anywhere that you can get on the Internet. Open up the remote desktop app. In the “Computer” box put in your public IP. Remember, this is the IP address you got from the status page on your wireless router. I’ve blacked out the IP in the screenshot but you can see it is the one that starts with 71.XX.XX.XX. Click connect. If all of our configurations are correct we should be presented with a log on screen. If some warning appears that states that Windows can’t verify what computer is on the other end then just click ok and then login. It will only accept the credentials for the account that you allowed on the remote tab on the remote pc. Once you logon you will be presented with a window that contains the desktop of your pc at home.
Here’s how the dmz method works. Your wireless router will take an incoming request and send it to the IP that you configured on the dmz tab. Since this is the IP of your home pc it’s similar to creating a static route. In other words, your router will see the remote desktop app trying to connect and send the request straight to your pc. Some people say that it is the same as putting your pc out in front of your router. Either way it solves the problem. You open remote desktop and click connect then your pc on the other end receives the request and allows you to logon.
Two things to be cautious about here. One is that nothing is encrypted using this method and someone may be able to try to hack into your machine. Someone sniffing packets at a coffee shop or other public place may be able to see your network traffic if you are on the same network as they are. Never let your logon credentials be compromised. Change your password occasionally. Even better is to setup an account just for remote access and put a long complicated password on it. Still the risk is slim but possible. More than likely you would get hacked a hundred other ways before someone could brute force their way into your machine. The other thing to keep in mind is that unless you have a static IP from your ISP then your public IP will change from time to time. So always double check your public IP before going on vacation or whatever the situation is that puts you away from home. If the power goes out or the cable/dsl modem reboots while your away it may not have the same IP when it comes back up.
All for now.
- Rome’s IT Guy