Apple Remote Desktop over Separate Remote Wireless Networks

in Mac Software edited January 2014
I have just recently switched from windows to mac. During my transition, I convinced my mother to get a MacBook to replace her PC notebook. She's not good with computers and often gets very frustrated with them. I thought the simple interface of the Mac would help. It has seemed to be a good transition, but as always, she gets stuck and needs help. She lives 85 miles away. So, I was considering getting the Apple Remote Desktop (with my student discount) so I could help her when she gets upset with things.

She accesses the internet at her house via a wireless Linksys router. I access the internet via an Apple Airport Express as my router.

I was told by a rep at the Apple store that Apple Remote Desktop doesn't work well over two separate wireless networks and that my Mom would have to hardwire into the ethernet port for me to connect to her.

This just seemed odd to me. Is this true? Has anyone configured Apple Remote Desktop to do what I would like it to?

Hopefully I've explained this situation well enough. If not, feel free to ask me to clarify anything.




  • Reply 1 of 3
    pubguypubguy Posts: 108member

    There is a fairly painless and FREE way to accomplish what you want to do. I'll walk you through it a step at a time.

    On your mom's computer, open System Preferences and select Sharing. Place a check on Apple Remote Desktop. On the Access Privileges, place a check next to VNC Viewers and set a password that you will use to access the machine remotely. Press OK.

    Next, go to and sign up for the No-IP Free account. You can select from a group of available free domains. For example, if I were to use my login id here, I could choose,,, etc. Once you sign up, click on the downloads tab and download the program for Mac. Load the program and fill in the few simple fields, then click the Daemon tab and set the daemon to load automatically. This way the program will always be running in the background and your mother will never know its there. The program periodically updates the no-ip servers with the IP address of your mom's router. This way when you type in the no-ip address, the no-ip servers know who to route the request.

    The last thing to do is on your machine. Go to and download "Chicken of the VNC" (free). Run the program and setup to connect to your mom's machine. The Host: name should be the no-ip address you signed up for. In my example, it would be Leave the Display: set to zero. Type in the password you set when you selected the VNC Viewer option on your mom's computer. Click OK and in a few seconds your mom's desktop should appear as a window on your desktop. You'll have full control just as if you were sitting in front of it (although a bit slower).

    Please note that you will not be able to VNC to your mom's computer from inside her network using the no-ip address. If you want to test it from within her house, you'll have to open System Preferences, select Sharing, single-click on the Apple Remote Desktop and read the IP address that is displayed on the bottom. Now, open Chicken of the VNC and make a new connection. This time, where is asks for Host: type in the IP address of your mother's computer and password.

    It really isn't all that hard to set up and sure does make life a whole lot easier helping people remotely.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    pubguypubguy Posts: 108member
    Oh yeah, forgot to mention, if you set this at your mom's and want to really test it, take your laptop to a local hot spot and try to connect from there. If you aren't sure, most major hotels provide wireless access from within their lobbies. This way you can test 100% before you leave town.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    Thank you for the very specific instructions! I'm visiting her this weekend. So, I'll give this a look over.

    How secure is this method? What's the potential for others to hack into either of our computers as a result?

    Thanks again!

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