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I'm looking at Remote Desktop Gateway as an alternative to a VPN for a small branch office.

The idea is to spin up a copy of w2k8 on virtualbox/vmware on some spare machine just running Remote Desktop Gateway. Port forward 3389 to that instance and allow people to Remote Desktop in to their machines to occasionally work from home.

The office has no permanent sysadmin and I don't want to do more than the minimum.
There is no domain controller.
It's just a SOHO type router with simple port forwarding.
But they do have a static IP.
And it only has to support a couple of users, although ideally it would allow multiple users to RD into their own separate machines, through the single gateway, at the same time.

Does this sound like a good solution - any better ideas?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Personally, I would recommend you using LogMeIn.

It's an excellent piece of software and doesn't require any port forwarding, works with full SSL encryption and also allows you to keep an easy tally on the machines that are running.

Personally I use the Free version for a few machines that I have lying at home. Try it out, I personally prefer it to Remote Desktop.

To connect, users simply log in on the logmein website and access there machine throuhg their browser.

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Isn't logmein just a wrapper around VNC - like copilot? Generally VNC hasn't been great over WAN links – Martin Beckett Nov 17 '10 at 0:19
As a matter of fact, I'm not sure whether the protocol underneath LogMeIn is VNC or whether they've developped a proprietary one, but I haven't had any issues at all. I use LogMeIn for 4 computers at home and a few friend's computers that sometimes need remote assistance, and the connection is always flawless (over dsl). All the machines at home are behind NAT and everything still works without a hitch. – akseli Nov 17 '10 at 0:21
Would suggest contracting a professional SysAdmin for N hours per month. Then you have expertise on the hook that understands your environment (he'll survey you first) and you can keep your costs scaled to your needs, and the recommendations to match. – Robert Kerr Nov 17 '10 at 2:16
Tried it out, it seems a little slower than remote desktop and you sometimes have to force a redraw. But it does support multiple screens on the destination machine very well – Martin Beckett Nov 27 '10 at 5:30
Remember that you can play around with some of the performance settings in the remove viewer to speed things up. Things like 32-bit color aren't always necessary when working on other machines and scaling down to grayscale sometimes makes things snappier. – akseli Nov 29 '10 at 12:02

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