Saturday, September 21, 2019

Chrome Remote Desktop - An Alternative to Costly Remote Control Programs?

I was advised by Swedish DX-er Stefan Wikander that Chrome Remote Desktop worked very well with his remote Perseus location. Now really, I thought, I tested Chrome's remote solution several years ago and it was a complete disaster at the time.

Over the years I have used LogMeIn (became very expensive), Teamviewer (kicked me out of my free, Personal account) and Splashtop (present choice, excellent tool, USD 100/year). And tested many more. Anyway, I know Stefan as a sensible man, so I decided to test CRD. It has in fact come a long way.

CRD is a "free" extension in Chrome (you pay with your user data), so obviously you need the Chrome browser, and you need a Google account. Chrome needs to be synchronized over the PC or PCs you want to control. Setup is relatively straightforward. I set up one PC to access two other PCs, and when I opened the extension, I was met with this "welcome" page:

When I clicked on the "Smøla 290" PC on top, it opened as a new tab in Chrome, and the PC displayed like this:

It actually loads very quickly, faster than Splashtop. Audio quality is on par, video quality a bit better than Splashtop. What really surprised me was there was no noticeable lag, much better than both Teamviewer and Splashtop. Your remote PC can be bookmarked for even easier access.

CRD doesn't have many features, so for a professional user CRD may not be the optimal solution. For the DX-er however: Good video, good audio, file transfer (to and from the unit), copy & paste. Windowed and full screen. Not much more to ask for!

October 2019 update: On one occasion however, one of my remote PCs refused to connect. I was able to connect via Splashtop, so the connection was ok. I restarted the PC several times with no effect. It turned out that Chrome on that particular PC had disabled its server function, so I had to set it up again. This casts some doubt over its reliability. I'm going to keep Splashtop, and use CRD as backup. See comments below.


Unknown said...

Thanks for these tests.

After getting warnings from TeamViewer for using the connection professionally, I installed Anydesk. It is also free and has been very reliable.

73 Ismo

Anonymous said...

Good to hear that there are alternatives!

A question to you who have tried Anydesk and the revamped Chrome solution... Do they help you with handling changing IP-adresses? My ISP only provides a Dynamic IP Address, No Static here, and that one changes every now and then, which makes Splashtop and the other paid tools shine. //Per

Bjarne Mjelde said...

I haven't tried Anydesk, but I am reasonably sure that all remote desktop program handle changing IP addresses from the ISP. I have never had any problems with LogMeIn, Teamviewer or Splashtop. I haven't had CRD long enough to be conclusive but I assume there should be no problems.
I did encounter a problem with one of my PCs running CRD though. Apparently, the setup as a "server" suddenly was removed for some reason, so I couldn't connect. The PC in question shared network with other PCs which did not encounter the problem. So, I assume it's a weakness within Chrome.

Unknown said...

There is no need to worry abut the changing IP addresses with TeamViewer or Anydesk. The software makes the connection at the backend. As long as you have the client running on your remote PC, you can meke the connection on your PC, tablet or smartphone. I demonstrated at the Finnish DX Association Summer meeting how you can se up a working remote site connection in less that 10 minutes.

73 Ismo

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting me know,

Teamviewer kicked me out a year ago, and I have since then used Splashtop. I also have RemotePC. Both works well indeed, but a free software is of course even better. Will try Chrome! //Per