|Related Commercial Products|
Very recently a commercial product called GoToMyPC has become available on the market. GoToMyPC allows a user to control his NAT or firewall hidden MS Windows PC from any remote client MS Windows PC with a web browser. The server PC's desktop images and client PC's keyboard and mouse inputs are transmitted across the Internet, making interactions possible. The functionality is similar to that of VNC (Virtual Network Computing), except that GoToMyPC can work across a NAT or a firewall.
The idea of GoToMyPC resembles that of AVES in that GoToMyPC also tries to provide connectivity to NAT hidden computers (note that connectivity to regular non-NAT firewall hidden computers is not a technical problem because connectivity can easily be achieved by an administrative policy change), uses relays to transmit data between the server and the remote client, and uses a server (a web server) to direct connections.
However, there are several major differences. First, GoToMyPC is an application and platform specific solution that requires software installations on both the server and the remote client, whereas AVES is a more fundamental network layer solution to achieve connectivity that can support potentially any arbitrary applications and does not require any software change on either the server or the remote client (instead it requires change to the NAT gateway). For example, GoToMyPC will not enable you to run web servers on your home PCs.
In fact, to make the case that AVES is more fundamental, by running VNC on top of AVES, indeed we are able to achieve the same functionality of GoToMyPC, and the best part is that VNC is a free software! Below is a screen dump of a PC running the VNC viewer, connecting to our NAT-hidden Linux demo machine demo1.cmu-test.avesnet.net using AVES.
Below is another screen dump of a PC running GoToMyPC's client software to connect to a server PC. Guess how I am able to generate this scene :)?