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vLab.pro - New Remote Lab Access Web Portal Released

March 7, 2014

vLab.pro is pleased to announce immediate availability of our Remote Lab Access Web Portal.

The Problem

vLab.pro, like many lab providers, used to rely solely on Microsoft Terminal Services (MS RDC) as a student lab access tool. MS RDC is an excellent tool with low bandwidth requirements, universal availability and great performance over slower or less reliable networks. But, MS RDC suffers from some significant limitations. To limitations in particular made using MS RDC problematic when providing lab access to customers from inside secure corporate (or military networks)

  1. Outbound MS RDC connections (especially to non-standard ports) is typically blocked by the edge firewall - making lab access impossible
  2. Screen sharing between instructors and students is normally not available

vLab Remote Lab Access Web Portal

After a lengthy internal test and customer trials, vLab.pro is pleased to announce our solution to both of the above problems. Our new Remote Lab Access Web Portal is a web standards based tool that provides full console zero screen sharing using standard web protocols. With our new portal, customers can:

  1. Access their remote labs through any gateway or firewall that allows general outbound HTTP or HTTPS web browsing, and
  2. Screen sharing between the class instructor and all students is built in

HTTP Lab Access

By enabling remote lab access via HTTP (and HTTPS), customers can run classes inside any corporate network that allows general web access. No special security settings, firewall settings or proxy settings are needed to connect to our labs. Furthermore, by providing access only to Console Zero of the remote lab access VM, customers never have to worry about disconnected sessions or accidentially using up all sessions (and thereby getting locked out of your lab).

Remote lab access is available to any web browser that is HTML 5 compatible. We have successfully tested remote lab access using Internet Explorer 9 (and higher) and current releases of FireFox, Chrome, Safari and Opera. Note that Internet Explorer 8 and older are not HTML 5 compatible and are therefore not supported.

The best part is that modern cellphones and tablets (iPad, Android 4.x tablets and MS Windows Pro tablets) also work.

Screen Sharing

One challenge with MS Terminal Services is that, if you get disconneted, you might reconnect via a different session. This can make it hard to pick up where you left off... and in some cases may prevent you from successfully completing a lab.

vLab's Remote Lab Access Web Portal only connects to Console Zero of a remote access VM. If you get disconnected, you can re-login to our Web Portal and be reconnected to your session - exactly where you left off. No issues with multiple sessions means no issues finding and completing partially completed labs.