I have previously written several articles about Remote Desktop, including how to enable Remote Desktop on a remote computer and how to access local files and folders during a Remote Desktop session. I even wrote about how to block remote PC connections!
However, I haven’t talked about how to actually set up a remote desktop router so you can connect to your computer from outside the local network. After enabling and configuring Remote Desktop, you need to configure your router to forward the Remote Desktop port (3389 by default) to the correct computer on your network.
This is called port forwarding and the method is slightly different depending on the brand of router used, like LinkSys, D-Link, Netgear, etc. However, if the instructions below do not help you figure out how to set up port forwarding on your device. router, then simply search for “router port forwarding” where router is the brand name of your router.
Set up the router for remote desktop
First, you need to log into your wireless router at home by entering the local IP address of the router in your internet browser. If you don’t know the IP address of your router, select Start, Run and enter CMD. Then enter IPCONFIG and the router address will be the default gateway entry.
Now enter that IP into your browser and log into your router. If you do not know the administrator username and password for your router, you can reset the router by pressing the reset button on the rear panel and then go to any of these sites with a list of default router passwords:
Once you get into your router, look for something like port forwarding, virtual server, or applications and games. I tried to find a couple of screenshots of how this would look on LinkSys, D-link and Netgear:
Now you will be able to select a service from some kind of drop down list that will have a list like FTP, HTTP, TELNET, etc., and if they have Remote Desktop or RDP, select that. Enter the IP address in the appropriate field and you’re done.
If the service does not appear in the list, you either need to add a custom service or there will be blank fields where you can enter information. For example, on my Linksys router, I have a bunch of blank text boxes in my table.
I would enter Remote Desktop as the application name, 3389 for the internal port, 3389 for the external port, select TCP and UDP as the protocol, enter the IP address of the computer I want to connect to and check the Enabled box.
On D-link router it is called Private Port and Public Port, not inside and outside port, but it is always the same number 3389 so you won’t get confused. In Netgear, this is called Start Port and End Port.
Everything should now be configured to connect to a computer from outside the local network. To connect from the outside, you will need to get an external IP address, which is very simple. Just go to www.whatismyip.com and it will give you your external IP address.
The only problem that can arise is that you don’t have a static IP address from your ISP. Most home users get a dynamic IP address that changes from time to time. This makes it extremely difficult to connect remotely as it won’t work when the IP address changes.
To fix this problem, you can read my detailed article from Online Tech Tips which explains how to set up dynamic DNS for Remote Desktop on your computer. Any questions? Leave a comment! Enjoy!