Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi
 


Thursday, September 1, 2005

GoToMyPC Alternative Looks Good For Non-Corporate Use

A new PC-based remote access tool called BeAnywhere Personal, offers a great alternative to those of you needing to remotely access your PC when away form it.

In fact this new tool, may soon give serious competition to GoToMyPC wide dominance in the desktop remote access PC marketplace.

What these remote access technologies, and several other ones out there (PcAnywhere, LogMeIn, eBLVD, Netviewer and more), do, is to allow easy access to your main PC (office or home) from anywhere.

screen_by_maximow.jpg
Photo credit: Marcin Frohlich

After either starting a software or logging into a web site, you are able to see your remote PC screen as if you were in front of it, while being able to control its keyboard and mouse as if you were sitting in front of it.

The main advantage about BeAnywhere when compared with other remote desktop tools like GoToMyPC is that it's very cost-effective.

GoToMyPC somewhat pioneered and popularized PC remote access through their successfull and widely used browser-based service. But BeAnywhere is a tough contender, especially if your core use is not accessing a corporate PC.

Just like GoToMyPC, BeAnywhere is a remote desktop tool, which means that the user can access his/her computer from any other computer through an internet connection (broadband preferably).

In a similar fashion, just like its more popular competitor, BeAnywhere allows the user to invite as many guests as he/she wishes, and share specific files, folders or desktop screen with others, making this a great tool for online presentations, or online collaboration.

The main advantage about BeAnywhere when compared with other remote desktop tools like GoToMyPC is price.



Price
For the use of GoToMyPC, you need to pay up to around 20USD/month. For BeAnywhere, a monthly subscription is available for 7,95/month, and if you decide to subscribe to a full year package, you can do so for only $ 79,50/year. So, that is less than half of the GoToMyPC price.



Portability
One great feature you are probably not aware of is that after having installed the key component of our software on the PC that needs to be accessed remotely, the BeAnywhere Viewer can be installed and setup directly on a USB flash drive. This makes it by far the ultimate portable remote access solution.

While on the road or traveling far away, when you need to access your computer, all you need to do is plug in your USB Drive on any Internet connected computer in the world, double click on the BeAnywhere Viewer icon on your Flash drive, and the screen of your remote PC will pop-up in front of you in five seconds. It's that simple. Even more interesting is the fact that you don't need to install any software on the computer you happen to be on to access your home/office PC, and no data or record of your work session is recorded on the computer you "borrowed". This means you can do all of this safely on any public computer or at any Internet café.

The moment you unplug your USB flash drive, the local computer will loose all information regarding the BeAnywhere Viewer.

The GoToMyPC viewer is downloaded and transparently installed only on user request. It is very small - approx 400k, and also will work on windows CE devices and any Java enabled computers (Mac, Linux, etc.)



Security
BeAnywhere has also some interesting things to offer in the security department, especially when you compared it to GoToMyPC. BeAnywhere uses 256-bit RC4-compatible encryption, while GoToMyPC uses 128-bit.

In BeAnywhere, to prevent "man-in-the-middle" attacks, all communications have a digital signature that assures the data has not been changed between the Server and the Viewer.

On top of the above, all other typical security settings like blanking the remote screen during a session or automatically locking the remote computer when you logoff are all available in BeAnywhere.

Also with GoToMyPC no in-session data is stored on the local PC, and all data moving back and forth is encrypted end to end.



Remote Desktop and File Transfer
With GoToMyPC, to transfer a file you need to open a remote desktop session, and only after doing so you can transfer a file. This consumes resources on the connection, thus limiting the transfer speed. With BeAnywhere you can open a file transfer session only, and have all the connection resources allocated to the transfer of the file.



Unlimited User Accounts
With just one subscription, the user can give access to as many different users as he/she wants, and specify individual settings for each account.

And obviously you do not need to actually be sitting at your PC to allow access to the Guest user. As long as your computer is turned on and connected to the Internet, it will always be available for the Guest users to "visit" your computer, even if you are half way around the world yourself.

As for setting up the access, you can allow the Guest only to transfer files, or only to View the remote desktop screen, or to do both.

You can allow keyboard and/or mouse commands or not, or you can specify which folders you wish to share with that particular guest user, etc. And this can be done for each one of the guest user's accounts. When you decide that one of your guests should temporarily (or permanently) stop visiting, you can disable (or erase) his/her account, immediately stopping any unwanted access.



Overall Performance vs Ease of Use
GoToMyPC is a browser-based service. This makes it easier to use, and helps easy adoption of its service. On the other hand it slows considerably the screen refresh rate and the overall service performance.

While it is true that GoToMyPC uses the browser to initiate the connection, while the actual in-session remote access is handled by windows executables, the result remains sluggish performance on the end user side no matter what kind of CPU you have.

BeAnywhere is made up of two separate programs, one Server and one Viewer, which help the overall performance, though loosing ground to GoToMyPC as far as ease-of-use goes.



Networking and File Transfer Speed
GoToMyPC can work through many corporate firewalls without a problem.
BeAnywhere's uses a different technology approach (P2P), leading to having not as much freedom to go through corporate firewalls as GoToMyPC. On the other hand the P2P approach provides for much faster file transfer speed. Specifically, the transfer rate is limited by the slower connection to the internet from the two computers you will be using. By using BeAnywhere, your two computers are connected directly to each other, with no intermediate servers which, depending on the network traffic at that moment, can be faster or slower. This is definitely great advantage as you do not depend on other networks and GoToMyPC server load to have file transfers running at top speed.



In the future, BeAnywhere 2.0 will include a browser interface and integrate a new interconnection technology allowing users behind corporate firewalls to also use BeAnywhere without a problem.



System Requirements:
For the computer to be accessed remotely (Server)
Windows XP, 2000 or Server 2003
Broadband Internet connection
Pentium 450 - 128 MB RAM

For the computer needing to access your "base" computer (Viewer)
Windows XP, 2000 or Server 2003
Internet connection
Pentium 300 64MB RAM



To download an evaluation version of BeAnywhere go to:
http://www.beanywhere.com/personal/comserver...

Watch an animated introduction to BeAnywhere Personal right here.

 
 
 
Readers' Comments    
2008-06-15 03:08:54

me

You never had to pay for any of this. GOTOMYPC Is and always has been the biggest ripoff. You use a free access to a DDNS site and they'll give you software to run on your PC at home and a name like www.mypc.com, and then you set up your home firewall to redirect something like VNC to that PC. Then you connect VNC to the DDNS assigned site name and it'll connect to your home pc. If you want security there are ways to implement that too.



2005-10-11 14:13:38

Tom G. Wood

Sure -- VNC is free -- but if you want Free AND secure -- try LogMeIn.

And LogMeIn was built on a corporate platform (RemotelyAnywhere), so it stands up to corporate needs as well.



2005-10-11 14:12:02

Tom G. Wood

Sure -- VNC is free -- but if you want Free AND secure -- try LogMeIn.

And LogMeIn was built on a corporate platform (RemotelyAnywhere), so it stands up to corporate needs as well.



2005-09-04 18:44:53

Dick Boogaers

Nice comparison.
Still you can go much cheaper than that. Check out UltraVNC (http://ultravnc.sourceforge.net/)

It has it all. It even allows the server to be installed as a service. It does dedicated file transfer, etc., etc.

You can watch the PC with the server from different locations simultaneously. And all locations can use the PC simultaneously.

And it costs... nada, zilch, niente.

Regards,
Dick Boogaers



 
posted by Robin Good on Thursday, September 1 2005, updated on Friday, February 26 2010


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