How Does VNC Work?


VNC Basics

  • Virtual Network Computing, or "VNC," is software used to connect remotely to a computer system. This allows a user to see and control one computer from multiple locations. Because this control is transmitted over the Internet, the computer can be viewed from anywhere in the world.

    VNC software is fairly uncomplicated and easy to use. Many operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, already include simple VNC programs. These applications allow users to connect remotely and operate another computer loaded with the same software.

    VNCs allow computers to become remotely sharable. This means that several different users, each in separate locations, can view a computer desktop at the same time. VNC software makes training, monitoring and troubleshooting easy by making remote access flexible.

VNC Interface

  • Most VNC systems are controlled from a simple graphic user interface. Once the software has been installed on a remote computer, it can be accessed from any location. A server constantly monitors inputs and outputs from one computer, and updates them to the second location.

    The interface for most VNCs can operate from any operating system, such as Windows, Macintosh, or Unix. Because information is transmitted over the Internet, the system eliminates many of the traditional cross-platform problems. Just as a website can be viewed on many different operating systems, so can VNC control operate from many different computer types. While "VNC" is a generic term for this type of software, many brands of the software exist, with packages available for all major operating systems.

    The connection used to interface data is protected by a password. This prevents unauthorized users from controlling a remote computer. Once the connection is established, information begins to be exchanged. Details on mouse location, keyboard entry, and screen updates are fed over the secure connection, keeping the computers synchronized.

VNC Uses

  • VNC software began as a way to monitor and troubleshoot systems remotely, and this feature remains a common use. Computer technicians can provide tech support using VNC without being physically present. If a user is having a problem installing software, for example, a support professional can connect to her computer, see the problem, and talk the user through the solution.

    Use of VNC software has also expanded to other areas. Remote work has become an increasingly popular option. VNC allows workers to access and control software without being in the office. For instance, using VNC, a programmer in India can easily control a desktop computer in California, collaborating with colleagues and working on a project remotely.

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  • Photo Credit Svilen Mushkatov
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