7 Replies Latest reply: Jun 15, 2008 4:03 AM by Tim Haigh
chinnyhill10 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
Hi I'm the owner of a brand new Mac Pro and this is my first posting here so please be easy on me.

As the owner of many PC's happily I found I can use VNC to access my Mac which is handy. When you are on the same network the speed is OK but not as fast as my other boxes.

The problem is when I come to access the Mac across the net. The VNC access is terribly slow. In fact it's far faster to log into a Windows PC on the same network and then use VNC from that to access the Mac.

If I try and reduce the quality settings in Ultra VNC (running on XP) all that happens is that after you login you get booted off the Mac before the screen loads.

Across the same connection my Windows box is fine, it's only the Mac that is slow. It seems the Windows box is able to scale the picture quality to suit the connectin (so it drops colours, degrades the picture etc) but the Mac only delivers full quality which results in slow performence (and we are talking a minute to load a single screen). Telling Ultra VNC at this end to reduce the colours etc just results in me being booted off the Mac.

Anyone have any experience with this? I'm using Ultra VNC on XP but also tried TightVNC as well with the same results.

Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.3), VNC Access
  • BobHarris Level 6 Level 6 (15,945 points)
    Strongly suggest getting Vine Server (aka OSXvnc). It fully supports the TightVNC protocols as well as reduced color as specified by the client.

    Vine Server is free to use
    <http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/31192>

    I use the Vine Server on my Mom's iMac 300 miles away. I connect over an ssh connection and I tell my VNC client (Chicken of the VNC) that I only want 8 bit color. While not blindly fast, it is very servicable, especailly compared to driving 300 miles to fix a problem at Mom's house Mom has a DSL line that has 768kbits up-link speed.

    I also use the Vine Server on my Mac at work. Work has a bit faster pipe than Mom, but I still tend to go with a lower color density to improve responsiveness.

    One more thing. If your Mac has 2 or more displays, then Vine Server ONLY exports the display with the menu bar.

    Another VNC server you might consider is X11VNC. While it started life exporting a Unix or Linux system's X11 desktop, there is a port which will export the Mac OS X desktop via VNC protocols. I've tried it and it does work.
  • Tim Haigh Level 7 Level 7 (24,185 points)
    I dont use back to my mac.

    I use screen sharing over an SSH tunnel. I am lucky enough to have ADSL2+ at my home/office so I have 2.6 megabit upload speed. Having said that I run a lot of services that use up outgoing bandwidth so I have implemented a QoS rule on my router to prioritise SSH traffic above any other protocols.

    so when I ssh into my network from anywhere in the world and launch screen sharing it is not much slower then when I am connected directly to my LAN.
  • chinnyhill10 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Ah great, thank you. Presumably the VNC server built into Mac OS is limited and can only support full colour, hence why the screen takes forever to load and why the quality suddenly kick back to speed things up like my Windows box does.

    I am assuming of course that VNC is the best way to do this. For all I know there may be a better and more secure way of accessing a Mac from a PC remotely.

    I'll give Vine Server a go on Monday.

    Cheers.
  • chinnyhill10 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Is there an easy way to setup SSH on the Mac? Presumably this is a far more secure way to connect in?

    Thanks.
  • BobHarris Level 6 Level 6 (15,945 points)
    VNC is the common way to manage a remote Mac. However, if you want something else, there are services such as LogMeIn.com, YuuGuu.com, TimBukTu (netopia.com), CoPilot.com

    Setting up ssh on your Mac is as easy as turning on "Remote Login" in the Sharing System Preferences. You now have a sshd daemon running.

    But that is just the start of your journey. You will need to tell your router to forward port 22 from the internet to port 22 on your Mac. Or if you are smart, some higher numbered port on the internet to port 22 on your Mac. Of course you will have to tell ssh on the remote system to use that high numbered port via the -p option

    And has anyone mentioned setting up an ssh tunnel?

    ssh -l username -p 22 -L 5900:127.0.0.1:5900 your.macs.ip.addr
    Username:
    Password:

    The first 5900 says to use your current systems port 5900 as the local end of the tunnel. ssh tunnels allow the use of a gateway system, which is what the 127.0.0.1 address is. But since it is 127.0.0.1 (the magic adddress that means your current system), there is no gateway systems being used. And finally the last 5900 is the port on the remote system you wish to connect to.

    And then you need to magic for telling your VNC client to use the ssh tunnel

    Address of VNC server: 127.0.0.1
    Port: 5900 (or if your VNC client wants a display: 0)

    I'm assuming you have figured out how to find your Mac on the internet. But I'll just mention services such as no-ip.com and dyndns.org which can provide a dynamic DNS name that is updated when your ISP changes your DHCP assigned IP address.
  • chinnyhill10 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Thanks. I'll give this a go when I am back in the office on Tuesday.

    I have a fixed IP so finding my network is easy. Using SSH alongside the suggested VNC server (instead of the inbuilt one) looks like it will solve my problems.

    I'll post an update in a couple of days once I've had chance to get it up and running (I switched off my Mac remotely earlier to save electricity).

    Thanks.
  • Tim Haigh Level 7 Level 7 (24,185 points)
    Ah great, thank you. Presumably the VNC server built into Mac OS is limited and can only support full colour, hence why the screen takes forever to load and why the quality suddenly kick back to speed things up like my Windows box doe


    You can unlock the built in vnc server with a simple command then you have full control of the the colour settings.

    see Add more power to 10.5's screen sharing