What you need to do to be setup for remote computer support


You may need computer support and would like to get it for free from a
friend or relative who lives remotely. This article has instructions
for what you need to do to help someone you trust to establish remote
access to your LAN and computer(s) so they can help you with computer
support. There are many ways to enable remote access but this article
will focus on using the free VNC (Virtual Network Computing) software.

1. Provide your router IP address
2. Provide your router type, model number, and firmware version
3. Configure your router for remote administration by yourself or
someone else
4. Provide your router IP address, type, model number, firmware version, and admin_id and password to someone you trust to
configure your router
5. After your router has been configured. Setup VNC server on your
computers for remote access to the computers

1. Provide your router IP address
In your browser go to the following address:
http://www.whatsmyip.org/
Your router external IP address will be listed at the top of the screen.

2. Provide your router type, model number, and firmware version
Below is a diagram showing Internet access from a small home LAN with
multiple computers accessing a broadband Internet connection using a
broadband modem and router/firewall. The router/firewall needs to be
configured to allow VNC traffic from the Internet with the right
password to access the computers.
Home LAN Internet Access

To manage the router/firewall protection it is important to know the
router type (e.g. Linksys in diagram), model number, and firmware version.
Below are a couple of pictures of my wireless router and the underside
which has the information on the router model.
Wireless router closeup

Underside of Wireless Router

If you have trouble reading the fine print in the blue tag area my
router model is WRTSL54GS.
To find the router firmware version enter the router internal IP
address (usually 192.168.1.1) into your browser address bar and enter
the admin_id and password when prompted. The firmware version is
usually shown on the admin screen.

3. Configure your router for remote administration from the Internet by
yourself or someone else (if you will be doing it only yourself you can
just access the router internally on your LAN)
This can depend on the type of router. Usually there is a tab for
router admin where you can enable administration from the Internet and
the port number to be used. See the screenshot below for an example.
Router adminsitration fields
Router firmware version is displayed in the top right corner and is not
editable. The router password field and remote management port have
also been highlighted in yellow to focus on these key fields (these
fields have a white background in the actual administration screen).
Good idea to select the web access HTTPS box and use https box so the
password is not sent in the clear. You need to accept  the
certificate being used by the router and next time the internal access
address is https://192.168.1.1/. The external access address will be
https://”external IP address”:”port number” where you replace the
quoted external IP address and port number with the actual IP address
and port number.
 
4. Securely provide your router IP address, router type and model number, router
firmware version, management port number, admin_id and password to
someone you trust to configure your router
You only need this step if you are delegating the router setup to
someone else you trust. Not a good idea to send the admin_id and
password in the clear over the Internet. Best to provide this
information over an alternate channel like the phone or using something
with encryption like skype.

5. After your router has been configured. Setup VNC server on your
computers for remote access to the computers
After you have completed step 4 your buddy will be able to set your
router up remotely. The next step you need to do is install and
configure the VNC server on the computers you want to provide remote
access to. That is the subject of the next blog entry.