So I am looking to have an astroimaging configuration set up at a friend's house, who lives under some darker skies with better visibility than I have at home. The plan is to eventually get set up to run my gear remotely, although he lives close enough to allow for a slow transition with lots of testing before things are expected to work this way. I am fairly confident that a number of the remote control issues are already understood, but the one aspect of this that I have not done before is getting set up to safely control my astroimaging computer, that will be on his local network, from my computer at my house.
My astroimaging computer is running Win10 Pro, and I have already successfully run it using RDP locally, but this is the first time I would attempt to do this remotely. Since I am accessing my friend's network remotely, I want to come up with a solution that is not only reasonably simple to implement, but also does not require him to make any significant modifications to his router firmware or his network configuration, while still making sure we are keeping his network as safe as possible. So my questions are these:
1) I know that VPN can be used for this sort of thing, but I also have heard that using RDP remotely does not necessarily require VPN. Running without VPN is no doubt easier to set up, but how much less secure is running an external RDP solution without employing VPN?
2) If VPN is the only 'safe' way to make this happen, is it possibly to use this with a VPN enabled router that uses OpenVPN, without having to subscribe to a monthly VPN service? He has a Nighthawk R7000 router, that can be enabled to support VPN WITHOUT reblowing the firmware (which is not currently an option he wants to consider...)
3) Ideally, I wouild love to be able to set this up so that when I am logging in remotely, all I can access is my computer, not any of the rest of his gear. If I use RDP (behind a VPN or not) is it enough if my system is the only box set up to be running an RDP server?
4) I would be running TheSkyX, which seems to work reasonably well speed-wise over RDP on a local connection - what kind of speed degredations would I expect to see over an external connection? Is this adversely affected if VPN is also used?
Thanks for any advice or experiences you can share,