Remote Desktop : Integrating multiple devices

University essay from KTH/Kommunikationssystem, CoS


Electronic devices have acquired an increasingly important role in our society and are integrated in our lives making both the users and their devices more accessible. Currently in the western world most families have at least one computer. This computer is generally equipped with multimedia accessories and an Internet connection. Portable devices, such as mobile phones and PDAs, are part of this technological and social environment. One might think about using a hands free Bluetooth headset together with a mobile phone, to obtain better sound quality, using a keyboard such as the Handykey Corp. Twiddler in order to dial/type quicker or send SMS messages in an easier way, watching a video on a large computer screen that had previously been downloaded to your mobile phone, etcetera. However, there is a problem when it comes to the interconnectivity between all these devices.

Today users face many difficulties when attempting to use what should be the aggregated possibilities of their devices, rather than simply the functionality of each device. The hypothesis of this project is that the user's difficulties could be overcome if their devices could be internetworked.

For example, even though mobile phones and PDAs often have a USB interface, unlike typical desktop or laptop computers these devices have been designed to only be USB slaves -- hence other USB devices cannot be directly attached to them. There are some signs of this changing with the introduction of USB On-The-Go - but we believe that this is a short-sighted evolutionary step.

The obvious solution is to internetwork these devices. For example, by attaching these various USB devices to a computer that is a USB bus master (host) - we can enable the user to use their USB Twiddler with a USB phone. In this way, a user could remotely access the functions of the set of all of their portable devices - without worrying about how to directly interconnect them in pairs. This could enable new functionality, such as the user being able to answer an incoming call to their cellular phone with the keypad of the Twiddler, while using the audio input and output functions of their Bluetooth headset.

We begin by examining a number of means to establish and use remote connections to access systems remotely. We have focused on the most popular desktop sharing systems, specifically those that use remote desktop protocols. Initially we require manual configuration or use of a discovery protocol to identify the different devices. Later we will examine additional protocols, along with some potentially automatic configuration mechanisms.

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