virtual network computing (VNC)

Virtual network computing (VNC) is a type of remote-control software that makes it possible to control another computer over a network connection. Keystrokes and mouse clicks are transmitted from one computer to another, allowing technical support staff to manage a desktop, server, or other networked device without being in the same physical location.

VNC works on a client/server model: A VNC viewer (or client) is installed on the local computer and connects to the server component, which must be installed on the remote computer. The server transmits a duplicate of the remote computer's display screen to the viewer. It also interprets commands coming from the viewer and carries them out on the remote computer.

VNC is platform independent and is compatible with any operating system. Computers must be networked with TCP/IP and have open ports allowing traffic from the IP addresses of devices that may need to connect.

VNC was developed at AT&T Laboratories. The original VNC source code is open source under the GNU General Public License, and other variations are also available commercially.

This was last updated in August 2006

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