TeamViewer 5 allows remote users to control both Windows and Mac
computers behind a firewall by way of a small client application.
It provides good all-around access to your remote PC, but the free
version is limited to noncommercial users only. Remote printing
isn’t readily available in TeamViewer, but VoIP, video, and
conference call support are included.
Like LogMeIn Free,
TeamViewer 5 is firewall-friendly and uses the standard HTTP port
(port 80) to connect a remote client to a host computer. Unlike
LogMeIn, TeamViewer does not use a browser or intermediate Web
site. Each side must run a small agent–either an installed client
application or a no-install, memory resident client–to make the
connection. I tried TeamViewer both ways with success. During
remote sessions, the installed agent used only 13MB of RAM, while
the memory resident agent used just 7MB. TeamViewer 5 works with
all versions of Windows from Windows 98 to present, and with Mac OS
X 10.4 and up.
TeamViewer (installed version) can be set to start prior to the
Windows login screen. It even allows a remote user to reboot the
host PC into Safe Mode and reconnect. This is a fantastic feature
for anyone doing remote help desk support.
Video performance was very good with just a slightly discernable
lag in screen refreshes. One feature that I really like is its
ability to handle multiple displays on the host. A remote user can
choose which monitor to view, or they can view both at once.
However, if the remote monitors are at a high resolution, the view
is too small to be usable. I also like that once connected, I can
choose to “switch sides” with my partner. This means that one user
can initiate the connection, then pass control over their desktop
to the second user later in the session.
Remote printing is supported a little differently in TeamViewer.
Unlike Remote Desktop, TeamViewer doesn’t redirect print jobs to
the remote client. Instead, you must turn on the VPN in the
TeamViewer agent at each end of the connection, then map a printer
on the host computer to a shared printer on the remote device. It’s
a bit of a kludge and not the easiest task for nontechnical
TeamViewer is available in commercial versions that add more
features, but at a substantial cost. The free noncommercial version
is a good choice for basic remote access, but if you need to print
remotely, other tools simplify the process.
Note: TeamViewer is completely free for personal use.
Anyone using it in a business environment will need to purchase a
license. These licenses vary in plan features and price, starting
at $749 for a lifetime license.
–Keith Schultz, InfoWorld