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I have 1 external IP for my network and a FQDN (ex: Currently to connect to multiple computers on my network I change the RDP port via registry.

For example to connect to one server, I have and use my router to forward the port to the right host.

Ideally I'd like to be able to type and route to the appropriate machine.

I have a "central server" using Server 2008 R2 if it helps. Is it possible to easily do what I'm trying to achieve?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Have you considered setting up a Terminal Services Gateway? It is basically a service that will proxy RDP traffic into your network. You can setup various policies to allow some users to access specific computers.

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Could this work with subdomains? I also don't see the TS Gateway service in 2008 R2.. I think it's been renamed to Remote Desktop Services? – TheCloudlessSky Oct 6 '10 at 20:17

I would suggest setting up a VPN into your network, and then simply accessing it as you would from within the network.

This hase the advantages of:

  • Simplicity
  • Encryption
  • Exposing fewer ports to the internet

There are many options for doing this. I have used OpenVPN installed on a server, as well as DD-WRT (which contains OpenVPN) firmware directly on my router.

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I never even thought about using a VPN. The only downside is that I'd need a client on every machine that I need to access it from. This isn't very ideal since I sometimes using my Android HTC Desire or a machine from a lab at my university or some place else. Are there any decent portable VPN clients? – TheCloudlessSky Oct 6 '10 at 20:13
VPN Clients aren't large or difficult to install. As for Android - I'd be VERY surprised if there isn't a client for it. It's even built into iOS (well, not OpenVPN, but some other popular ones). – Brent Oct 8 '10 at 13:06
Another option would be to carry a live linux CD with you. You can boot it on almost any hardware (that has a CD drive), and run the built-in VPN and RDP clients from there. – Brent Oct 8 '10 at 13:07

I don't know of a way to do this. The problem is you only have on external ip address and regardless of FQDN, everything has to resolve to that ip address, which can't be directed to more than one internal ip address for the same port\service. What you could do is RDP to the server and then RDP to the workstations from the server session. Other than that you could look at installing something like LogMeIn on the computers you want to be able to access directly.

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Yeah the only problem about the double rdp is that it can be pretty slow because of the upload speed of the network.. – TheCloudlessSky Oct 6 '10 at 14:09
That is true so maybe something like LogMeIn would be a better solution. – joeqwerty Oct 6 '10 at 14:18
Ideally I'd like to keep things light without extra clients, but thanks for the tip I'll keep it in mind. – TheCloudlessSky Oct 6 '10 at 14:24

I favour Brent's answer, to be honest, but you could have a terminal server that you can connect to from outside and then connect from your desktop session on that to other hosts inside your network. Not pretty, but it works.

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I agree with the VPN, suggestion but hardware VPN isn't too expensive e.g. Netgear FVS338 currently lists for under $200 on Amazon, but there are other similar and cheaper.

I don't remember if licenses came with the firewall, but VPN client software is sold separately. I never attempted to configure some VPN software (or Windows built-in VPN software) to connect via VPN, I had another VPN router. If you have branch offices that need to talk to each other, making a persistent VPN between them could be the way to do.

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