What is a Remote Access?

We’ve all heard the word “remote” before. When you think of it, you probably think of the device with which you change the channels on your TV. Remotes are convenient and easy to use, making them an essential item to modern convenience. As great as this is, when using computer networking terminology, “remote” has a somewhat different meaning.

We say “somewhat” because it may help to think of the term in relation to your TV remote. While in reality they are two different things, the principle behind naming both of them “remote” can shed some light into what “remote” really means in computer networking terms.

What does your remote do? What makes them so convenient? Isn’t it because you have the ability to change the channel without ever leaving the couch? Doesn’t having a remote give you access to all of the TV’s features even though you haven’t touched it.

You can also imagine a remote-controlled car for this. Do you ever have to touch the car to make it move? Of course not. If it’s working properly, you use another device to control the car. This remote that you use to control it gives you the ability to influence, shape, and affect what you are using the remote on.

With that in mind, let’s think in computer terms. What could it possibly mean? That’s right! In this sense, remote is used to describe using one computer to control another one–when you don’t have physical access to the second one. This is very similar to our analogies. While you aren’t touching the TV or the toy car, you are able to influence them by using a certain device.

In light of this analogy, if you are controlling another computer through a network without even touching that computer, you are using your computer as a remote. In this way, your computer is no different than your TV remote in that you can use it to control another device that you aren’t touching physically.

This can have several benefits, allowing you and others to access the contents of a computer without ever having physically touched it. While remotes can be a cause of privacy concerns, they can be beneficial when both parties agree to having remote access to a certain computer. They can also be a great way to connect your devices and control them all at once. Whatever the reason, remotes are an important part to networking!