Keeping Everyone in the Loop: Troubleshooting Remote Access Problems


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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Having everyone connected, no matter where they are in the world, is a massive benefit for many companies but what do you do when issues crop up with your remote access?

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Remote access can be an absolute lifesaver for most companies; allowing your specialists to connect with devices no matter where they are. However, when problems arise, it can also be a significant challenge.

You may find that certain professionals become completely alienated or unable to do their job entirely until their problem is fixed. This drop in productivity means these issues can be incredibly costly for companies, especially if you only have a handful of employees.

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Here are some of the most common problems with remote access services, and what you can do to fix them:

Establishing a connection

A particularly difficult stage of remote access is establishing the connection for the first time. You may need to rely on another colleague or employee to give you permission to get access, which can often delay proceedings and create additional issues.

It may be that setting it up doesn't cause too many issues, but that the connection is temperamental. Whether it's too slow or unstable and sporadically dropping out, updating your network drivers should help resolve problems with connectivity speed.

Failing networks

One of the most common problems when it comes to remote access is a failure of the underlying network. This can be a troublesome issue as it means that anyone using the network can have access problems, causing a drop in productivity and a great deal of frustration. To solve the problem, you need to establish whether the connection is actually working or not.

Establishing this is fairly straightforward but can often be overlooked. Try plugging a mobile device into the network port that the individual is trying to use. You can then use software like Ping to see whether it's got an adequate connection to the server or not.

Of course, in the modern workplace, it may not be this straightforward as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend continues to be popular among professionals. This means the problem may be with their device and nothing to do with the network, particularly if they are connecting through a virtual private network (VPN) or Terminal Services Gateway.

This means the issue can be down to the actual machine itself, your infrastructure, the VPN or gateway. If this is the case, you'll need to start the more lengthy process of eliminating each possible problem until you find the underlying issue.

Building firewalls

Firewalls are often dismissed as the cause for remote access problems, but you'll be surprised how often they are to blame. It's a fairly simple issue to check and rectify, meaning you can either rule it out or solve the problem in a short time.

To prevent your firewall interfering with remote desktop software, it's important to check the port being used is open to all firewalls. This becomes more difficult if you have different firewalls in place, or have no control over what software is being used but you should be able to regulate this internally. However, even if the same firewall is in place, you may find there are multiple ones between the computer and the server, which could all potentially cause problems with remote access.

Port conflicts

In some instances, you may find that another application is unintentionally using the same port as the one you need for remote access. This can cause problems with the connection or prevent it from being established altogether.

To solve this, use the correct command prompt to check what programs are using your ports. This should give you information about IP addresses and the port numbers being utilized. Find the ones that have your port number (3389 by default) and look at the program that is associated with them.

If you spot a conflict then you'll need to change the port used by one of the applications. Microsoft recommends that this is a port used by any other application, but this may not be possible. If not, you'll want to manually change the port number that connects with your remote access software.

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