Casey Bralla on 30 Aug 2008 10:59:13 -0700

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[PLUG] Question about Remote Desktop through a NAT

I'm not sure I can do what I want, but maybe somebody here has some brilliant, 
yet incredibly elegant and simple idea to help solve my problem.

My 82 year-old nerd-wannabe dad (actually, he *was* a nerd when he was 
younger, but the world moves too fast...) just loaded Ubuntu on his laptop.  
He often asks for my help, but since I'm 250 miles away, I find that Remote 
Desktop is my best friend.

He often plugs his computer directly into his cable modem, which is great 
because I can directly access his IP address with VNC.  The problem comes 
when he hooks up the the internet through his wireless router, which uses 

It is possible, of course, to set the wireless router to port forward all 
incoming VNC connections to a particular NAT'd IP address.  But this seems 
inelegant to me for several reasons:

1.  Talking my dad through setting up port forwarding on the router will be 
difficult, since I can't see the setup screens he would be seeing on the 
router, and he doesn't have a clue about how it works.
2.  The assigned private IP address may change, thus rendering the port 
forwarding useless
3.  There may be visitors at his house who are accessing the wireless, and 
then the assigned IP addresses will be assigned to the wrong computer.

What I want to do is to have my dad run a "VNC Request" program that will 
weave it's way through his NAT to my static IP address, establishing 
a "reverse VNC" so I can then control his desktop.

I've done some google searches for this, but haven't found anything.   Is what 
I want to do even possible?  Does somebody have an other brilliant idea?

TIA, and have a great long weekend!


Casey Bralla
Chief Nerd in Residence
The NerdWorld Organisation
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