So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Buffalo Technology WZR-RS-G54
- Potentially very cost effective
- Some security problems could hinder connections
If you can survive setup and corporate-security blocks, this device promises economical remote access.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
People who want secure remote access to PCs at their home or small business while on the road typically turn to services such as GoToMyPC and PCAnywhere, but those options can get expensive with multiple users and PCs. Buffalo Technology offers an economical alternative: a Wi-Fi router that accepts VPN (virtual private network) connections and provides file access and even remote PC control.
Like other 802.11g Wi-Fi routers, Buffalo's AirStation 125 High-Speed Mode Wireless Secure Remote Gateway (WZR-RS-G54) allows networked PCs to share broadband Internet access and community files and printers. You can also configure it as a Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) server that lets you log in remotely using most standard VPN clients (including Windows XP's).
Once remotely connected, you launch a standard browser to view available networked devices and to access files. In addition, if you have installed the supplied Virtual Network Computing software on a connected PC, you can view and control the desktop.
In my tests with a shipping version, the scheme worked well from most locations--once Buffalo's support technicians helped me change some obscure settings in the Windows Firewall of Windows XP Service Pack 2.
In a more serious glitch, I wasn't able to make the VPN connection to my home network from my workplace, apparently because our office's corporate security provisions. This sort of snafu wouldn't arise with GoToMyPC service, which makes the secure connection to a single computer from its own servers.
Buffalo's router allows up to 100 users to connect to multiple PCs, so if you could make the VPN connection when you needed to, this AirStation could save you a bundle.
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