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I am looking to somehow always have RDP connections routed via my home machine's internet connection and not any VPN connections.

  • Sometimes I leave the house without disconnecting from a VPN - when that happens I cannot connect via RDP to my home machine and sometimes the VPN won't time out until well into the work day.

  • Sometimes while connected to my home machine via RDP I would like to connect to a VPN. This will kill the RDP connection (unless I have enabled the "Use default gateway on remote network" option on the VPN settings - which has undesirable side effects, in particular I can't access shares).

So, how can I do this? Is it possible? Do I need to add some sort of manual routing?

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1 Answer 1

If you are able to determine the public ip address of the host pc and that ip address doesn't change then you can connect via that address, whether or not you are connected to a VPN or not.

You can also create a RDP connection that can be accessible via a web address (i.e. myrdp.rdp.com). You can use a free hosting service (DYNDNS). By setting up the domain, and then the site you will be able to connect to the RDP via the new web address. However this does bring in security issues of the fact that the RDP is now available to the entire public. Will someone actually find "jacksrdpconnect.rdp.com" probably not, but its there and it can be found.

With both of these options make sure that at least your RDP connection has a STRONG password. You will also have to configure your router to forward the RDP connection's ports (TCP 80 and 3389) from the remote pc's ip address. good tutorial here

Finally, an understanding of how VPN's work is necessary. When you are connected to a VPN then you are in essence connected to that remote network, which then routes the packet requests through the remote server. If you are connected to and then disconnect you are in essence disconnecting (although brief) from the internet and reconnecting to your home or current network.

alt text

Note: picture is from wiki

If you are connected to a RDP the flow of information is from the current routers/servers in between you and the remote PC. If a connection is severed (disconnection of VPN) or initialize (connection of vpn) then that route is interrupted thus causing packet failures and a disconnection from the remote PC.

If you wish to know more about VPN's and how they work then I suggest looking at this wiki for more info. There is especially an interesting bit on "mobile VPN's" which may suit your needs, but is possibly a costly option.

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I currently already do everything you mention. Forward ports on my router (btw 80 is not required for RDP that I know of, am I missing something?), also use DynDns (my provider says they do dynamic IPs, but it hasn't changed in a year, but still...). The problem is once the machine is on the VPN it ignores any traffic coming through the actual internet and everything is routed from the remote gateway (at least how I understand it). The exception is when I'm on the local network, local ips are routed appropriately. –  mindless.panda Oct 18 '10 at 19:21
    
Also, from my experience "If you are able to determine the public ip address of the host pc and that ip address doesn't change then you can connect via that address, whether or not you are connected to a VPN or not." is not correct. If I'm connected via the domain name or the ip, an initiate a VPN, the RDP connection is lost. –  mindless.panda Oct 18 '10 at 19:22
    
Whenever you initiate or disconect a VPN then you are in essence disconnecting from the internet for a brief period of time. This is unavoidable. It's the same as if you disconnected the cat-5 cable, or switching wireless access points. –  KronoS Oct 18 '10 at 21:16
    
Can you provide some documentation on what you're saying? –  mindless.panda Oct 22 '10 at 20:00
    
Wouldn't the easy solution be to have a second NIC on the machine, and have the router forward port 3389 to that port? I have done that in the past with my server, with one WAN facing NIC and one for LAN and RDP. –  paradroid Nov 26 '10 at 12:42

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