Guide on Virtual Network Computing (VNC) for remote control

Anton P. | July 30, 2020

Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is one of the most sophisticated remote access systems. In short, it allows you to control a computer from a distance. Virtual Network Computing is a popular choice for corporate networks and remote workstations. However, it is perfectly suitable for home networks as well. Hence, learn more about VNC, how safe it is, and how to utilize it for your own needs.

What is Virtual Network Computing?

Created in the late 1990s, Virtual Network Computing is an open-source project that subsequently developed into several remote desktop solutions. In its essence, Virtual Network Computing is a type of remote control software. It establishes communication with another device over your network connection.

VNC works by wirelessly transmitting all keystrokes and mouse movements from one computer to another. Based on Remote Framebuffer (RFB) protocol, Virtual Network Computing sends screen pixel data between devices in real-time. Hence, its ability to display the visual desktop and give complete control over a machine makes the VNC system unique. All three major players (Windows, macOS, and Linux) support VNC implementation.

VNC follows a client-server model. You install a viewer (client) on a local device and connect it to another machine remotely. It interacts with user commands from the local machine and performs corresponding actions on the remote server-side.

Uses of Virtual Network Computing can vary from remote workstations and technical support to more custom ones. You can utilize VNC to run across your home network if you need to access your device while traveling.

Are there any cons of Virtual Network Computing?

Undoubtedly, VNC-based tools can be very useful in times of emergency. Although the technology has been in development since the 1990s, its internal workings are quite basic. When the internet connection is slower, it can cause performance issues or trigger delays during screen sharing.

VNC consumes a fair amount of bandwidth to transfer information pixel-by-pixel remotely. The good news is that most VNC clients let users adjust the resolution and color depth of a remote screen. This alteration automatically minimizes bandwidth consumption.

Looking into the Virtual Network Computing from a security perspective, there are some weak points. The RFB protocol encrypts passwords, but that’s all. The data transmission part remains plain. Some Virtual Network Computing service providers implement encryption to the session traffic. However, the majority of services provide little to no security. The good news is that you can add encryption to complement the unsecured VNC tool.

The combination of VNC and VPN

People might confuse Virtual Network Computing and Virtual Private Networks due to the similarities in their names. However, their purpose and functions differ significantly. When used together, the robust combination of VNC and VPN can take remote access services to another level.

VPN complements VNC programs by encrypting the entire traffic. As a result, no one can sniff or secretly monitor your sessions. While VNC gives a lot of flexibility in remote connections, VPN is an excellent way to keep them private. In this way, they both improve each other’s features and guarantee high-end protection of data.

Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.


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