Confused as all heck - accessing my Mac outside of my home network?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by ringemaster, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. ringemaster macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008

    I have done searching and have done reading, so I get the basic concepts of how to do this, but what I've done doesn't seem to work, so clearly I'm confused and not as on top of this as I thought.

    All I want to do is access my Mac computers at home (both control the screen and share files) from outside of my home network as securely as possible. I currently have a Mac Mini directly connected to an Airport Extreme Base Station. The AEBS also connects to my two Macbook Pros over wireless.

    First, I configured DHCP reservations for each of my computers on the home network (not sure if this matters, but I was having issues with competing IP addresses so I fixed it this way). Second, I set up two forwarded ports on the router - 5900 (my understanding is that this is needed for screen control) and 22 (my understanding is that this is for ssh, which allows file sharing). Here are my questions on this:

    1. What I don't understand is what is getting forwarded here - the port on my computers to the router and hence to the internet OR the port on the routers to my computer so that when an incoming connection is received at my routers IP address, it forwards it to my computers?

    2. Also, how does it know which of my 3 computers to access? Is it necessary to somehow identify the internal IP address of the computer I wish to access?

    3 . Lastly, is this secure? Even though I have a password enabled, typing it from the remote client will theoretically send that information over the open internet, so how can I ensure its encrypted/secured?

    Second, in the 'Sharing' tab of my System Preferences on my computers, I enabled Remote Management, ensuring the "Allow VNC control with password" option has been turned on and a password set. For now, I've selected 'All Users' just to get things working.

    Third, I've installed a VNC client on both my pc at work and my iPhone. In those clients, I've plugged in the IP address of my router. The one on my iPhone has a place for a password in the configuration page (VNC lite), the pc one does not (RealVNC).

    Using either of my VNC clients, I've plugged in my router's IP address and in both cases, have failed to establish a connection. What am I missing here and how can I ensure my connections are secured properly?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. BertyBoy macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2009
    Trying to keep the answers simple:

    1. When you set port-forwarding on your router, you pick a port number (or range of ports) and a single local IP address, ie. port 5900 and Ip address So any internet traffic coming in on port 5900 gets sent directly to the computer on the IP address

    2. Answered above, you've specified one of the IP addresses in the port forwarding. It will be the IP address you specified in the DHCP address reservations.

    3. It's only as secure as your password. I'm sure that the password is encrypted before transmission back to your Macs.

    Your situation is slightly different, in that it looks liek you eish to access multiple Mac computers behind the firewall with VNC / ARD. The first issue is of course that you only have the one port to connect to from outside (port 5900).
    If this is limiting you, try this -
  3. ringemaster thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008

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