How Does Remote Desktop Protocol Work? RDP Protocol Explained

How Does Remote Desktop Protocol Work? RDP Protocol Explained. Remote desktop protocol (RDP) enables network administrators to remotely access and diagnose problems that users encounter and gives users remote access to their physical work desktop computers.

RDP is especially needed for employees working from home or traveling but need access to their work computers. RDP is extremely beneficial to support technicians who need to diagnose and repair a user’s system remotely and to perform system maintenance. Let’s introduce what exactly is Remote Desktop protocol?

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Introduction

Remote Desktop Protocol or RDP is a network communication protocol that Microsoft has created. It allows users to make a safe connection with another computer from a distant location. RDP is an extension of T.120 point to point communication protocols usually standardized by International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

RDP allows an interface that facilitates the remote connection of one computer with another. To use RDP, the user who originates the RDP connection demand should use a computer with RDP client software. In addition, the computer to which the user is trying to get access must have RDP server software that facilitates the client to make a connection in remote settings. When the connection is made, the user initiating the request can view the computer to which they are making a connection through RDP and get access to apps and data on that desktop.

Essential features of Remote Desktop Protocol

RDP is a protocol that is safe and interoperable. It makes safe connections between clients, virtual machines and servers. RDP functions in various Windows operating systems and devices and offers a very sturdy physical safety with the help of remote data storing facility.

Key Benefits Remote Desktop Protocol

  • Authentication of smart card.
  • Reduction of bandwidth.
  • Capable of using various displays.
  • Can disconnect on temporary bases without logging out.
  • Support RemoteFX virtual GPU.
  • 128 bit encryption for data of mouse and keyboard by utilizing RC4 encryption.
  • Redirects audio from remote desktop to the computer of the user
  • Directs local files to a specific remote desktop
  • Capable of using local printers in remote desktop sessions.
  • On a remote desktop, the session application can access the local ports.
  • Sharing of the clipboard between local and remotely set computers.
  •  Application of remote desktop can run on the local computer.
  • Enhancement of remote application.

For transmission of data, RDP can support 64000 independent channels. Because of the ability to reduce bandwidth, it can optimize the data transfer in low speed connections.

Does Remote Desktop Protocol Work ? RDP Protocol

Are you wondering how RDP works? Think of a remote control car where your car requires buttons to control the car from a distance. Through radio waves, commands are given to the toy using a remote. In the same way, RDP works; the only difference is RDP makes use of the internet for controlling the computer.

One of the widely used RDP client software is offered by Microsoft. It is now called Remote Desktop connection, which was previously known as Terminal services client. This name you might find in some of the old resources. When a device contains the client software that makes use of RDP installed, a user can easily access any computer that runs Windows or another well suited operating system. Suppose you want to get access to your PC from any laptop or any other device, you can make a connection to the remote PC by using RDP, get to see the content from the remote display on your local screen, and you can interact with it as if you are functioning locally on that machine.

Nowadays, all Windows operating systems such as windows desktops and windows server versions are available with a built in RDP server for a remote desktop connection. Some of the standard operating systems that include RDP apart from Windows are Linux, Mac, Unix, Android, etc. Many graphical user interfaces are also available that are put together on top of the functionality offered by desktops. Microsoft also uses RDP in its Azure cloud computing solution for serving virtual computers to its users.

While using RDP, mouse movements and your keyboard strokes are communicated to the desktop located in a different location through the internet. When the local and remote devices are linked, you can see the remote computer screen and use it like you are sitting in front of it.

The port of remote desktop protocol opens a safe network pathway where your data is transferred back and forth between the connected machines. Some of the required data like mouse movements, keyboard strokes and your desktop display are transmitted through this channel using TCP/IP. To enhance the security of the transferred data, RDP does the encryption of the internet connection.

RDP is a supporting application that sets up the data transmitted, and then the Microsoft communication service redirects data to an RDP channel. Then the operating system will encrypt the RDP data and attach it to a necessary framework to transmit it.

The Terminal Server Device Redirector driver handles all RDP activity. In this kernel driver, subcomponents like the RDP driver manage user interface, encryption, transfers and framing. This transport driver is liable for bundling the protocol sent across TCP/IP networks.

Expect little delays even if data transfer takes place in real time. It is so because the keyboard and mouse activities have to go through encryption which might take a few milliseconds before transferring data to the user. Suppose you have double clicked on any application. It will take a few milliseconds before the action is reflected on the screen.

Benefits of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)

There are several advantages of using RDP in an organization like:

Fast and easy deployment – There is no application or desktop installation on the client device, therefore, you can expect a fast deployment of the application or desktop. Because of extensive RDP support, you can utilize any device for connecting to your window desktops.

Increases security – You can avoid all security problems arising from unsafe data outside your network. Structural rules can be implemented to prohibit users from keeping data in their devices and flash drives. Because of this, every operation is done in your network, prohibiting data from parting its limits.

Less downtime – Safe cloud storage means less downtime if there is a device failure. Here, users are not tied to any device as they can use any device to get access to their VMs.

More number of devices – Windows dependent applications can be transmitted to non window machines like iOS, Android, or other client devices. Basically, users can connect to any remote desktop by using any device.

Best practices for Safeguarding your RDP servers

securing remote desktop

Strong passwords

Users must create strong passwords that are hard to guess. Not only that but also users’ accounts should get locked out of their machines after certain unsuccessful login attempts.

Software update

Whether Microsoft or no Microsoft executions, updating your RDP client and server software is a best practice to safeguard your RSP servers.

Implementing two factor authentication

Shaping remote desktop gateways that impose two factor authentication before giving access to servers is a good practice. All services on your workstations and desktops must be accessible from RD gateways.

Restrict administrative use

Eliminate administrative use through RDP except RD for system administration. Even then, restrict the system administrator number in charge of RDP implementation maintenance. One of the best methods for doing this is using a group policy setting for overriding the local security policies in your RD devices. Or else you can set up administrative users as a significant sector of restricted Group Policy. In every way, inactivate local administrative accounts having RDP access.

How Does Remote Desktop Protocol Work? Conclusion

The remote desktop protocol is essential for businesses as they connect with more widespread teams. Whether you are implementing a remote desktop or virtual desktop incorporation, businesses of all sizes can easily benefit from hosting virtual desktops. When businesses get associated with a good hosting provider, they have fewer upfront costs and enhanced security, monitoring and performance.

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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