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We need to enable "Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure)". Now depending on your security preference, you can select the Network Level Authentication option (more secure). But either option will grant remote connectivity to the computer.
The next step is to open port 3389 for remote desktop on your router. If you have multiple computers on your network, then it is recommended to set your computer up with a static IP so that the port designation will not change. The following snippet is from a Linksys router with port 3389 open to the computer with the IP address of 192.168.10.101:
Instructions for setting up a static IP on your computer can be found here. The usefulness of this is so that your computer's IP address will always stay "bonded" to the open port we have configured on the router. While this is still possible to setup with a dynamic IP address on your computer, you do run the risk of it no longer working correctly if your IP address changes. I have always found it easier personally to have my computer's connection set statically.
Our next step is to get our WAN IP address so that we know where to connect to. This is your Wide Area Network or external IP address; which is completely different from the local 192.168.10.101 IP address listed earlier. This article will not dive any further into LAN versus WAN IP addressing; it is simply best to understand that each IP address is different. An easy way to get your WAN IP address is to go to whatismyip.com. With your WAN IP address, you should be able to connect to your home computer from a remote location with ease.
But wait... if your LAN IP address changes if it isn't set to static, won't your external IP address change as well?
This is very true, as most home users with broadband connections have dynamic IP addresses. What this means is that your connection is typically setup on a DHCP lease which refreshes every so often. When DHCP renews its lease, it will most likely keep the same IP address; but there is the chance that it may change. It is unfortunately not as easy to set a static WAN address, unless you want to dish out some extra money to your ISP.
But is there a solution to this? A workaround perhaps? Of course there is. Enter No-IP, a dynamic DNS Service Provider. Here's how it works. You sign up for a free account here, and add a new host. Type in whatever you want for your hostname, and select a sub domain to your liking. Make sure the host type is "DNS Host (A)", and be sure to use your external IP address in the IP field. Click "Create Host" and you are done.
Your last step is to download the No-IP client. From here, simply choose your OS and install the client. It is a very lightweight application, and can be configured to run in the background. What the client does is continually checks your IP address for changes, and updates your DNS A record when a change is made. This way you no longer need to remember your 32-bit IP address, but only a hostname that you created. Now there are no more excuses when you need to work on vacation!