9 Replies Latest reply: Oct 16, 2012 4:29 PM by MrHoffman
Libijo Inc. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



Is it possible to access a local Windows Server from a Mac?


To be clear: the Windows Server is not in my network, but in another network.




  • MrHoffman Level 6 Level 6 (13,265 points)

    You write "local" but also "not in muy network, but in another network".  In another subnet?  Or connected to a network at another site?  Can you provide a few more details of the network connection between the OS X box and the Windows Server box?


    And what sort of access are you looking for?  Remote Desktop (RDP)?  If so, you can load CoRD onto OS X, and then usually gain RDP access.


    Once there's a network connection available, using a Windows DNS server involves configuring that server's IP address into your local OS X network setup. 


    Sharing files via SMB is also usually feasible, depending on the authentication settings on the Windows Server box.


    If you're looking to use Active Directory on Windows Server from an OS X box, that configuration can be a little more involved.


    There are various other services that a Windows Server can provide, too.

  • Libijo Inc. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    There is no connection from/between my Mac to the Windows Server. And I'd like to access the server using a Remote Connection.

  • MrHoffman Level 6 Level 6 (13,265 points)

    Ok.  I'm still not able to figure out what you're looking to do.


    There is no difference between IP-capable systems, for the purpose of a network connection.  Windows, OS X, Linux, Plan9, whatever, they're all IP-capable systems.  Which means that the hosts can communicate, once there's a physical connection between the systems.


    Do you have a network that both your OS X system and the Windows Server system are connected to?   That might be WiFi, wired, something else?


    If you have that connection available, then you have the start of the communications between OS X and Windows Server.  What specific network services (disk, security, DNS, printing, Remote Desktop) do you plan to use?  Different network services have different requirements.


    If you do not have that network connection between the WIndows Server and the OS X Server, then you will need to establish that connection; either configuring existing wiring or WiFi, or adding networking hardware.

  • Libijo Inc. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    Do you have a network that both your OS X system and the Windows Server system are connected to?   That might be WiFi, wired, something else?

    No, what I'm trying to say that there is ABSOLUTELY NO connection between the Windows Server and the Mac.

  • MrHoffman Level 6 Level 6 (13,265 points)

    If there is no network connection presently available and you need one, then you're going to be designing and installing a network connection. 


    This networking project involves relative locations of the systems involved, potentially the topology and terrain of the areas (as some links can require line-of-site), the available network providers and their offerings, the project budget (of course), the network bandwidth and latency requirements, security requirements, and various other details.  Anything from DSL or T1 copper lines to optical links to dedicated microwave links to...  All sorts of different choices, and all sorts of different design input can be required.


    None of this involves particularly OS X nor Microsoft Windows either.  Pragmatically, both OS X and Windows simply expect there is a network available.  Neither goes into details on how to establish the connection.


    Now I'm going to guess that some of the details have been omitted here, and that there is a network link available between the sites, and most probably via the Internet.  If so, then the usual approach toward connecting the two networks (more directly and more securely) is via what's known as a VPN; a Virtual Private Network.  A VPN is usually most easily established within a VPN-capable gateway device located at each site (either on the site-local network, or as a component of the site's gateway-firewall device), and this VPN connection then allows routing IP traffic (directly) between the two networks.


    Various VPN-capable gateway-firewalls are available on the commercial market, and there are probably open-source options.


    The VPN connection will be dependent on the bandwidth of the underlying network connections and related hardware; on whatever connection that the two sites are using to connect to the Internet.  If you're going to be increasing that traffic past the capacity of those links, you'll be looking to upgrade those.


    And FWIW, networking and site-to-site VPNs don't have a huge overlap with folks that specialize with OS X or Windows, either; there are folks that deal with networks and VPNs, but there are folks around that specialize in networking.


    I'd contact somebody that specializes in remote networking, and get what will probably be an IP-based link installed and operating; via VPN or private connection or otherwise.

  • Libijo Inc. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Erhm... I don't want to put a cable under the way 1 kilometers long...

  • BobHarris Level 6 Level 6 (15,915 points)

    Bottom line.  No network of any kind, then no way to access the windows server from the Mac.


    If you give the physical situation, then maybe we can suggest some approaches.


    Do both the systems have access to a broadband Internet service provider? FiOS, CableTV cable modem, DSL, WiMax, etc...?


    If as you are implying, the Mac and Windows system are moderately nearby, but not close enough to use a generic WiFi wireless network, then you might be able to use a directional antenna to get a WiFi connection between the 2 systems.


    If you have cell phone service at both locations, maybe you can use a  MiFi device to provide one or both systems with Internet service.


    Some areas have a WiMAX wireless service.


    I think Dish Network offers a satellite Internet service.


    But unless you have networking available to both systems, your only choice is to carry your Mac to the Windows system and sit it next to the Windows server to get access.


    MrHoffman has been trying very hard to help, but you have been very tight with the information you have provided.  If you would give details about where the 2 systems are in relation to each other, what if any internet access they each have, routers, broadband modems, etc... connecting to the internet, it would make MrHoffman's job so much easier.  But this playing 20 questions with you is very difficult and very frustrating for everyone concerned.

  • Libijo Inc. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Well, I live in The Netherlands, so, no. But thanks for helping!

  • MrHoffman Level 6 Level 6 (13,265 points)

    There are probably folks in your local area and certainly in the Netherlands that specialize in establishing private and VPN'd (shared) network connections, and a site-to-sire private connection of roughly a kilometer can have a number of options available - depending on topology, buildings, etc. 


    Or a connection via VPN via an existing (shared) Internet connection. 


    Call some of the local networking services providers for discussions and options; they'll be looking for some details of your general (bandwidth and latency) requirements.


    Windows Server and OS X aren't particularly central to the networking that will be involved here.