Home Remote Desktop
Project Status: Complete
The project has been completed with Remote access to my home computer available from any location with internet. Over good connections gaming can be done with Parsec to the desktop or Windows Remote Desktop can be used from laptops and iPad Mini. How to Connect 1. Connect to home VPN using OpenVPN client. 2. With Blink or Powershell connect to pi with ssh user1@ 3. Wake desktop with ~/.wake.sh 4. Connect with RD client to with user firstname.lastname@example.org, password is the windows password.
- Fast home internet
- Static IP
- Edgemax router/modem
- Home computer
- Raspberry Pi
- iPad Mini 6th generation
- USB-C to USB/HDMI hub
- USB keyboard and mouse
- Windows 10 Professional
- OpenVPN server and client
- Blink on iOS for ssh
- Remote Desktop App
Links to guides I used to setup the connection
- OpenVPN guide for Edge Max
- Edgemax Static Internal IP pg. 41
- Enable Remote Desktop on Microsoft
- Convert pem certs to pfx Convert a CERT/PEM certificate to a PFX certificate - Stack Overflow
- Article on hw offloading for EdgeMax, this doubled internet speed
Complete files that can be modified for own setup
Placed in home directory for Raspberry Pi.
wakeonlan -i <Desktop IP> <Desktop MAC Address>
OpenVPN client Profiles
remote <static Home IP> 1194
SSH Config on Desktop
Hostname <Device Internal IP>
Hostname <Device Internal IP>
Powershell does not work over Remote Desktop, CMD does
With this setup I can work/game from a thin client or iPad. Other advantages are that in the home the benefit is faster Internet, over Wifi my Internet is only 58 Mbps downstream, however the desktop gets 700 Mbps. Remote desktop needs max out at 50 Mbps. There is also security. Security for my files at rest because they are not traveling with me and security for my information in transit because all traffic is encrypted over a VPN connection routed via my home connection.
The disadvantage is of course that I need a working internet connection and the time to setup and maintain four points of failure. Phone Hot-spot provides a serviceable connection for Remote Desktop, so being without internet is rare.
Informal Comparison and Thoughts
Using Shadow from airport Wifi, is… not great. The mouse was to slow and the screen could not keep up with typing. However it was not impossible and I could get some work done. All things considered this is OK
Using my iPad as a second display for my shadow instance, is cool. With Shadow I can do all computing and gaming on an iPad . The main reason I looked for an alternative to Shadows was that the benchmarks scores were similar to the desktop I had at home, and the monthly fee didn’t make sense for the amount of time I was using it. Using my home computer is about 10x cheaper (expense being electricity).
Successfully started remote play from my hotel in France over their Wifi. Could not play though as on screen controls are not good enough. Tried Remote Play as well, the controller didn’t work over Bluetooth, need to try with USB-C cable.
Using cloudping.cloud/aws to see which location is the closest. From the office it’s Frankfurt with Stockholm a close second. A solution worth looking into is having an AWS image that I can spin up on the data center closet to me to reduce ping. Then scale the hardware based on what I’m doing and to pay by the hour instead of a fixed monthly fee.
Home Desktop with Windows Remote Desktop
Looking a static screen with Parsec takes 0.14 Mbps, also as it’s designed for video and gaming static screens and tasks have gotten blurry. In cases where I have a poor connection, I expect Windows Remote Desktop to work better. The differences I can see now are that when using Remote Desktop, the computer at home is still locked. On Parsec the computer is unlocked and all actions are displayed on the monitor at home. With Remote Desktop only the lock screen is visible on the monitor. The quality of text and the background image are also better and no extra software is required to run it. It does though require Windows 10 Pro and gaming is not possible because the graphics card is not accessible. The quality of the display is better than Shadow for programming and text editing. I am canceling Shadow and switching to using Remote Desktop and Parsec.
Microsoft provides estimates on how much bandwidth RDP requires. Only the area of the screen that is changed is updated to the client. Coding for example only requires 150-200 Kbps.
The quality of RDP over a weaker connection is much better than Parsec. I can now access my home computer from anywhere. This is being written with a mobile connection.
Connection from an iPad with the RD app, I can switch my Bluetooth keyboard to windows mode and use windows shortcuts. The one that doesn’t work is Win + Tab as they works as application selection on iPad OS. Using OneNote through Remote Desktop I also get all the traditional windows shortcuts back, and plugging in a USB mouse, I have a standard work experience. The iPad can be connected to the internet with an Ethernet cable, raising my internet speed from 5Mbps to 220 Mbps.
Opening RDP to world is not secure as RDP only provides username and password protection. Recommended solutions are to use a VPN or a Windows Remote Gateway. Setting up VPN and then having a client I can install on all machines may prove to be too much of pain. Parsec is working out of the box, even though it needs 1.1 Mbps just to type these words into OneNote.
Home Desktop With Parsec
After looking into AWS and seeing the prices are not as low I expected. Parsec has improved since the last time I used it. The biggest change is that I can login to Windows over Parsec, meaning that the computer does not need to stay turned on and unlocked at home. They now have added a virtual display so I don’t need a display plugged in.
2 important settings Turn on Mouse Control with Numpad in order to have a mouse available even when no mouse is plugged into the machine.
Use Ctrl + Shift + I : Turn on Immersive mode allowing Windows shortcuts to work.