Computer Remote Control

Computer remote control has long been a staple of numerous industries. Ever since the release of the Intel 4004, the first practical microprocessor, corporations have been automating their daily operations. Having computers perform repetitive tasks rather than people boosts efficiency and accuracy. A single microprocessor could control a number of machines. Humans were required in order to program the instructions to send to the attached mechanical and electronic accessories.

As time went on, computer remote control was implemented using a wide variety of microprocessor varities, including the 6502, 8088, 8086, Z80, 68000 and 68010. The 68000 and 68010 are commonly found in automatic CNC lathe machines. The 68010 was commonly chosen over its predecessor because it introduced some hardware-level improvements, the most notable of which was its on-chip instruction and data caches. These allowed the chip to spot patterns in its instructions. Once a pattern was found, the microprocessor could perform repeated instructions at a much higher speed.

Two other popular forms of computer remote control are VNC and SSH.

VNC is short for “Vitual Network Computing“. This protocol is implemented in many software packages, such as TinyVNC, UltraVNC, RealVNC and the German tool NetSupport Manager. This software allows for a remote user to interact with a server as though they were physically in the room with it. It is able to send a real-time video image and allows for full control of the machine’s keyboard and mouse interfaces. Advanced VNC servers even allow for the transmission of audio. Because of the extensive feature set inherent to VNC, it requires a substantial quantity of bandwidth.

SSH is short for “Secure Shell”. It is a means of allowing separate computers to connect to a server through a wired or wireless network. This is accomplished by emulating a TTY terminal connected to a serial port. Unlike VNC, SSH requires extremely little bandwidth to operate. However, the type of data it can send to clients is fairly limited. This protocol is called “secure” shell because it encrypts all traffic that is sent and received. The encryption cipher utilizes a private and public key pair. The public key is issued to all clients that need to access the machine. SSH also requires authentication with a user name and password combination. A newer form of this remote control software is known as “SSH2“. SSH2 improves on its predecessor by providing superior security features. For example, SSH1 had a well-known exploit that could allow unauthorized access to the server.

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