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Alternatives to Teamviewer or Ultra VNC

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#1 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 12:18 PM

I know this has been asked a million times before, but frankly it's hard to wade through all the threads and find the answers I'm looking for.

 

I currently use Teamviewer to control my mount NUC from inside the house.  I also use Chrome Remote Desktop as a backup.  8-10 months ago I started getting the dreaded "Commercial use suspected" message in Teamviewer and after a while I couldn't use it with some of my computers.  After jumping through the hoops with Teamviewer, and about 3 months later, I was back to a "personal use" license and all has worked well...until just recently I started getting the "commercial use suspected message AGAIN.  Sigh. bawling.gif

 

What I like about Teamviewer is that it is dead simple to set up and works over the internet or will work without internet over a local network via IP address.  It ticks the boxes for all my use cases.  I'm looking for an alternative to Teamviewer that has all the same functionality without the stupid licensing issues.

 

Here are my use cases:

1.  Home - Observatory mounted setup, controlled by NUC (Win 10 Pro) at the mount.  The NUC is connected by Ethernet to my home router/network.  Sometimes I remote into the NUC with a computer that is running Win 10 Pro, but other times I remote in with a computer using Win 10 Home or my phone.    

 

2.  Travel/No Internet - The same NUC controls the mount and equipment.  The NUC uses Connectify to broadcast a wifi network.  I wirelessly connect to the NUC via another computer or my phone (currently with Teamviewer).  I have a backup NUC that runs Win 10 HOME. 

 

I'm reluctant to use Windows RDP because not all my devices run Windows 10 Pro.  The last time the Teamviewer issues came up I tried UltraVNC but found it to be very confusing and difficult to set up and I never did get it to work.   Chrome Remote Desktop only works over the internet.  

 

Are there any other alternatives that would provide an all in one solution for both my use cases?

 

The only solution I can come up with is to use Chrome Remote Desktop at home and still use Teamviewer out in the field, as I believe that the software will still work for direct IP connection if TV doesn't connect to the internet and check the license info.  But this could still be problematic if I lose internet at home as Chrome RD uses the internet.



#2 Pauls72

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:09 PM

I use Windows RDP.

For when I'm remote with no internet access, I picked up a WiFi router that runs off of 12V (cost was around $15-$20) and I have some CAT5 network cables in my kit too.

https://www.trendnet.../N300/TEW-733GR

 

When in the field I connect my Mini-PC into the router by Ethernet cable and everything else can access it by WiFi.

You just have to configure the router to have a fixed IP address.



#3 dhaval

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:09 PM

AnyDesk is a good alternative. I like the free version. One person in our observatory has a commercial version (it is cheap) and he likes it very much - says he won't go back to TV again. 

 

For Windows RDP I believe you need Windows Pro on the NUC (which is where the "server" portion of RDP would be installed). Any PCs connecting to the server can be on Windows Home (the client application is free).

 

CS! 



#4 rgsalinger

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:17 PM

I've pretty much switched over totally to Chrome Desktop. It took me a couple of hours to figure out how to get the mouse to work and to get my dual screens to display at once. Now, it's just seamless and you don't need Win10Pro to make it work. Also, the best part is that it is free and fast.

Rgrds-Ross


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#5 *skyguy*

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:40 PM

I've used TightVNC freeware for many years without any problems. It's easy and quick to set up and all you need is the remote PC's IP address ... no internet required. When used with the free DFMirage mirror driver, screen updates are almost instantaneous.

 

Pros: Everything

Cons: None

 

https://www.tightvnc.com/download.php



#6 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:59 PM

Thanks for the replies, but I get the feeling you skimmed over my original post (which I admittedly do also! That's not meant to be snarky).  

 

 

I use Windows RDP.

For when I'm remote with no internet access, I picked up a WiFi router that runs off of 12V (cost was around $15-$20) and I have some CAT5 network cables in my kit too.

https://www.trendnet.../N300/TEW-733GR

 

When in the field I connect my Mini-PC into the router by Ethernet cable and everything else can access it by WiFi.

You just have to configure the router to have a fixed IP address.

I use Connectify from the NUC which creates a wifi network.  I believe this serves the same function as a separate router.  Are you saying that Windows RDP works offline between two computers connected to the same local network?  Even so, I want to use my Android phone to connect sometimes.  That rules out RDP (unless I have multiple software solutions).

 

 

AnyDesk is a good alternative. I like the free version. One person in our observatory has a commercial version (it is cheap) and he likes it very much - says he won't go back to TV again. 

 

For Windows RDP I believe you need Windows Pro on the NUC (which is where the "server" portion of RDP would be installed). Any PCs connecting to the server can be on Windows Home (the client application is free).

 

CS! 

I'm looking in to AnyDesk. What is unclear to me is if the software will work offline on a local network.  It appears as though the "Enterprise" version will do this, but I can't tell if the free or other paid versions will or not.

It's good to know that RDP only requires Windows Pro on one device, but my spare NUC has Home and I want to also use my Android phone sometimes so that pretty much rules out RDP (unless I use multiple software solutions).

 

 

I've pretty much switched over totally to Chrome Desktop. It took me a couple of hours to figure out how to get the mouse to work and to get my dual screens to display at once. Now, it's just seamless and you don't need Win10Pro to make it work. Also, the best part is that it is free and fast.

Rgrds-Ross

Chrome Remote Desktop indeed is easy to setup and use, although at times I have had issues connecting to a remote computer with it, even on my very robust home network.  But as I mentioned in the OP, I need an offline solution for some of my use cases.

 

 

I've used TightVNC freeware for many years without any problems. It's easy and quick to set up and all you need is the remote PC's IP address ... no internet required. When used with the free DFMirage mirror driver, screen updates are almost instantaneous.

 

Pros: Everything

Cons: None

 

https://www.tightvnc.com/download.php

Perhaps it was easy for you, but when I tried it before I was bewildered.  There's very little setup instructions and nothing was intuitive to me.  I never got it to work properly and I gave up on VNC as I said in my original post.



#7 rgsalinger

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:20 PM

Windows Remote Desktop only requires the target computer to be 10Pro. So, that would be my recommendation when using a LAN for any reason and that's what I do. Over the internet I use Chrome Desktop. I have had zero problems with it other than the fact that it's tricky to resize the desktop in my dual monitor system.

 

I don't really understand the term "offline" solution. If you mean when there is no network available then you need to look into a tiny router. I keep one that cost me 30 bucks a couple of years ago. If by offline you just mean over a LAN, you can use Teamviewer that way and will not get any stupid (technical term) messages from them.

 

Reading through the post it sounds as if the wireless network at your house might be the problem. I've found RDP, TV and ChromeDesktop to be utterly reliable here and at my observatory. YMMV is always in effect but this just sounds odd to me. 

 

Rgrds-Ross



#8 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:31 PM

Windows Remote Desktop only requires the target computer to be 10Pro. So, that would be my recommendation when using a LAN for any reason and that's what I do. Over the internet I use Chrome Desktop. I have had zero problems with it other than the fact that it's tricky to resize the desktop in my dual monitor system.

 

I don't really understand the term "offline" solution. If you mean when there is no network available then you need to look into a tiny router. I keep one that cost me 30 bucks a couple of years ago. If by offline you just mean over a LAN, you can use Teamviewer that way and will not get any stupid (technical term) messages from them.

 

Reading through the post it sounds as if the wireless network at your house might be the problem. I've found RDP, TV and ChromeDesktop to be utterly reliable here and at my observatory. YMMV is always in effect but this just sounds odd to me. 

 

Rgrds-Ross

By offline I mean out in the field where there is no access to internet.  Chrome remote Desktop and many other solutions require internet service because the connection is routed through their online servers.

 

It sounds like RDP can be used over the local network (no internet), but again my "in the field" backup NUC (the target computer in your words) has windows HOME.  

 

Regarding Chrome Remote Desktop, I don't generally have connection problems on my home network (ethernet connections between mount computer, router and desktop) or on wifi connection from other devices.  But sometimes I have trouble using Chrome RD to connect to my work computer from home.  I never have issues with Teamviewer connections, it just always works.  The problem is the darn commercial license thing.  I'm aware that TV will work over a LAN without the stupid message.  I'm just trying to find a single solution instead of having to use different software for different locations.  It looks like AnyDesk may be the best solution.



#9 Kevin Ross

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:55 PM

Since you've pretty much ruled out every other remote desktop solution, I'd suggest you take another look at VNC (either TightVNC or UltraVNC). If you're having problems getting it working, I'm sure we can get you going.


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#10 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 03:30 PM

Since you've pretty much ruled out every other remote desktop solution, I'd suggest you take another look at VNC (either TightVNC or UltraVNC). If you're having problems getting it working, I'm sure we can get you going.

I'm not actually writing anything off, I'm just looking for an all in one solution if possible.  I appreciate the offer to help get VNC up and running and I'll reach out if I decide to take another look at it.



#11 Kevin Ross

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 03:46 PM

Windows Remote Desktop is a viable option. Apparently there's a project that enables RDP service on Windows Home editions. https://www.ctrl.blo...pper-win10-home

 

RDP works on local networks, no Internet required.

 

There are RDP clients for a variety of operating systems, including Android, Mac, and Linux.



#12 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 04:21 PM

Windows Remote Desktop is a viable option. Apparently there's a project that enables RDP service on Windows Home editions. https://www.ctrl.blo...pper-win10-home

 

RDP works on local networks, no Internet required.

 

There are RDP clients for a variety of operating systems, including Android, Mac, and Linux.

Hey that just might work then.  I didn't realize there were android clients for RDP. Thanks for the info.



#13 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 06:05 PM

It looks like AnyDesk is the winner.  It is stupid simple to set up and meets all of my needs, including direct IP connection between computers and my phone when in the field away from internet access.  

 

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and advice.  



#14 Pauls72

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 06:28 PM

 

I use Connectify from the NUC which creates a wifi network.  I believe this serves the same function as a separate router.  Are you saying that Windows RDP works offline between two computers connected to the same local network?  Even so, I want to use my Android phone to connect sometimes.  That rules out RDP (unless I have multiple software solutions).

 

Joel,

In the Google play store, search for Microsoft RDP. The Android client app is free.

In a local network as long as you configure your router with a fixed IP address and for the Router to be the DNS server, you should be OK.

Even if the Router will not support itself as being the DNS server, you can use the IP address instead of PC names or you can configure host files to do name resolving.

Paul


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#15 Kevin Ross

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 01:08 AM

It looks like AnyDesk is the winner.  It is stupid simple to set up and meets all of my needs, including direct IP connection between computers and my phone when in the field away from internet access.  

 

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and advice.  

Thanks for confirming that AnyDesk works with a local network, without Internet access. It wasn't clear from their website that anything other than the enterprise version would allow that.


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#16 Phil Sherman

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 02:33 AM

There's a way to bypass TeamViewer's "Commercial use" issue if the controlling computer and the controlled computer are both on the same LAN segment. All you need to do is to access the controlled computer using its IP address. This avoids all communication with TeamViewer's servers which actually do the "Commercial Use" checking.

 

For field use, you could bring an inexpensive router configured to match your home router. Plug both computers into it with ethernet cables and everything should be the same. I do this when traveling in my motorhome, with a router set up to imitate my home network. Our phones, tablets and computers all connect as if they're in my house.


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#17 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 10:58 AM

There's a way to bypass TeamViewer's "Commercial use" issue if the controlling computer and the controlled computer are both on the same LAN segment. All you need to do is to access the controlled computer using its IP address. This avoids all communication with TeamViewer's servers which actually do the "Commercial Use" checking.

 

For field use, you could bring an inexpensive router configured to match your home router. Plug both computers into it with ethernet cables and everything should be the same. I do this when traveling in my motorhome, with a router set up to imitate my home network. Our phones, tablets and computers all connect as if they're in my house.

I should have realized this earlier, thanks for pointing it out.  When I'm out in the field without internet I have always connected via IP address and Teamviewer.  It never occurred to me that the same could be done (via IP address) even when on my home network and connected to the internet.  It would be a little inconvenient though, as I maintain about 5 computers and I'd need to remember the IP addresses of all of them.  



#18 BenKolt

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 01:17 PM

There's a way to bypass TeamViewer's "Commercial use" issue if the controlling computer and the controlled computer are both on the same LAN segment. All you need to do is to access the controlled computer using its IP address. This avoids all communication with TeamViewer's servers which actually do the "Commercial Use" checking.

 

For field use, you could bring an inexpensive router configured to match your home router. Plug both computers into it with ethernet cables and everything should be the same. I do this when traveling in my motorhome, with a router set up to imitate my home network. Our phones, tablets and computers all connect as if they're in my house.

This is precisely how I use TeamViewer.  I use fixed IP's and connect only through local LAN.  Additionally, I have it set up TV on all my computers to accept a fixed password rather than require I use the random generated passwords.

 

I have a dedicated laptop running my imaging rig and collecting my image files.  I use TV to connect from my main desktop indoors from where I monitor the imaging session and download and process the frames.  This is my fastest file transfer configuration since the desktop is hardwired to the router.

 

And I usually have yet another laptop by my side when I'm away from my desk from where I can use TV to monitor the imaging session and access the main desktop as needed.  For example, I sometimes wish to wake up at a certain time during the night to make sure a new target was acquired or the meridian flip performed correctly, and the second laptop allows me to monitor this from the comfort of my bed.  (Who says this hobby has to be miserable?)

 

I am curious to look into AnyDesk and see if it has some features not present in TV.

 

Best Regards,

Ben


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#19 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 02:34 PM

I am curious to look into AnyDesk and see if it has some features not present in TV.

 

Best Regards,

Ben

I've been playing around with AnyDesk and it is very easy to use.  I still think Teamviewer has more features, most of which I never use.  One thing missing from AnyDesk vs. Teamviewer is the ability to have an "account" that stores all your remote computers.  With TV I can be half way around the world and install TV on a computer, log in to my TV account and all my remote computers will be immediately available to me.  

 

With AnyDesk you always have to know either the randomly generated AnyDesk ID number, or an alias that you set up, for each remote computer you want to log in to.  So if I'm away from home and I forget the alias I set up or the ID number I won't be able to log in to my home computer.  

 

While AnyDesk does everything I need it to, so far I'd still prefer to use TV if it weren't for the darn commercial use suspected issue.  I understand I can use direct IP address, but who wants to remember IP addresses for the 8 devices I maintain (for myself and for others)?  And direct IP won't allow me to login to my TV computers while away from home over the internet (if the commercial use issue is present).  

 

What also bugs me about TV is their license options.  Beyond the free version, the least expensive license is $49 per month.  I'd gladly pay $60/year for a simple user license if it protected me from the commercial license nonsense.  


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#20 BenKolt

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 04:04 PM

I've been playing around with AnyDesk and it is very easy to use.  I still think Teamviewer has more features, most of which I never use.  One thing missing from AnyDesk vs. Teamviewer is the ability to have an "account" that stores all your remote computers.  With TV I can be half way around the world and install TV on a computer, log in to my TV account and all my remote computers will be immediately available to me.  

 

With AnyDesk you always have to know either the randomly generated AnyDesk ID number, or an alias that you set up, for each remote computer you want to log in to.  So if I'm away from home and I forget the alias I set up or the ID number I won't be able to log in to my home computer.  

 

While AnyDesk does everything I need it to, so far I'd still prefer to use TV if it weren't for the darn commercial use suspected issue.  I understand I can use direct IP address, but who wants to remember IP addresses for the 8 devices I maintain (for myself and for others)?  And direct IP won't allow me to login to my TV computers while away from home over the internet (if the commercial use issue is present).  

 

What also bugs me about TV is their license options.  Beyond the free version, the least expensive license is $49 per month.  I'd gladly pay $60/year for a simple user license if it protected me from the commercial license nonsense.  

 

For the time being I am going to keep using TV as it works fine for my situation and configuration of computers.  Thus far I have encountered only one challenge when upgrading, that I was a suspected commercial user (how do they reckon that anyway?), but I found the best thing to do was to uninstall TV completely from the computer that offended them, then reinstall the latest version.

 

They advertise free software for residential, non-commercial use, and until they change that policy I ain't paying for it!  If that policy does change, I will consider a reasonable annual payment as you suggest, but as this thread shows, there are many other options as well.

 

Ben


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#21 dhaval

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 04:06 PM

I am with you Joel - I think AD is a good "back up" option, but I would still prefer TV, just that I too have been burned by the commercial use thing. The way around it for me was to create a new account and see how far that takes me. I realize I will be audited as well, primarily because I have a remote computer in a remote observatory - but I will face that issue when it does present itself. Agree with you on the licensing costs as well - a more managable license fee and I don't mind paying that, but $50/month is way too high for what I am trying to do.

 

CS!


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#22 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 06:14 PM

Thus far I have encountered only one challenge when upgrading, that I was a suspected commercial user (how do they reckon that anyway?), but I found the best thing to do was to uninstall TV completely from the computer that offended them, then reinstall the latest version.

Ben

When you say you uninstalled TV, do you mean just with a typical uninstall from control panel, or did you do some other kind of deep clean?  

I submitted the form to try and convince them I'm not making millions of dollars using TV for commercial purposes, but perhaps I'll just try this and see what happens.  



#23 rgsalinger

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 06:56 PM

They hit me and I just went to Chrome Desktop after sending them an email. I was back online with TV three business days later. I now use it only occasionally, Chrome Desktop works just as well for me and I don't have to pay a dime or worry about a change in company policy.

Rgrds-Ross



#24 DaveB

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 10:24 PM

I never image away from my scope (i.e., I'm always on the same LAN), so I don't need internet access. That allows for the various VNC and similar options. I have a $100 stick PC at the scope, so it feels the pain of every CPU cycle. Originally, I was using TV, but I found it frustratingly sluggish on the stick PC, so I switched over to TightVNC. That runs *much* better than TV did. If I had a beefier computer at the scope, the difference may not have been noticeable, but it certainly was with my setup.

 

This article describes some of the VNC variants and their strengths/weaknesses. One of the strengths of TightVNC listed is its simplicity, including "Simple to configure on remote machines". Compare that with UltraVNC that you used, which has a con listed as "More complicated than other VNC alternatives". I realize that you may have settled on AnyDesk, and if so, I hope that it works well for you (I'm not familiar with it). But if you have issues, I second the vote for TightVNC. Don't let the complexity of UltraVNC scare you off of all of the VNC options.


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#25 AhBok

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 12:20 PM

Thanks to this thread I switched from TV to Chrome Remote access. I alternate between a laptop and iPad to access my rig outside. One you set it up, you just click in an icon without having to enter passwords. Last night was my first real useage and imaged with it for 5 hours with zero problems. I’ll keep LV for backup.

Thanks all!


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