VNC consists of two components. A server, which runs on the computer you want to remotely access, and a viewer, which runs on the computer you are sitting in front of. There are two important features of VNC:
  • The server and the viewer may be on different machines and on types of computer. The protocol which connects the server and viewer is simple, open, and platform independent.
  • No state is stored at the viewer. Breaking the viewer's connection to the server and then reconnecting will not result in any loss of data. Because the connection can be remade from somewhere else, you have easy mobility.
So to get started with VNC you need to run a server, and then connect to it with a viewer. First of all, you have to download and install the software on the platforms you want to use.

VNC software requires a TCP/IP connection between the server and the viewer. This is the standard networking protocol on LANs, WANs, broadband and dialup ISP. Each computer has a unique IP address and may also have a name in the DNS. You will need to know the IP address or name of the server when you connect a viewer to it.

The VNC servers also contain a small web server. If you connect to this with a web browser, you can download the Java version of the viewer, and use this to view the server. You can then see your desktop from any Java-capable browser, unless you are using a proxy to connect to the web. The server listens for HTTP connections on port 5800+display number. So to view display 2 on machine 'snoopy', you would point your web browser at:

http://snoopy:5802/

The applet will prompt you for your password, and should then display the desktop.



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