As using a local area network could skew our results somewhat, we accessed our network via a home broadband connection. We copied a large (500MB) file to test transfer speeds – although this was not possible with the Yuuguu solution. All of the software we looked at included a web interface for accessing the host computer's operating system via a browser. Results were varied, with some systems being unable to function under anything but Internet Explorer.
There is, of course, remote access software built in to both Windows Vista and Windows XP Professional. The problem is that the software is tucked away in the operating system's settings and only allows for the most basic of tasks. Like anti-virus software and web browsers, remote access is another area where independently minded companies have looked at the state of play and thought, "we could do that far, far better".
Of all the products, Yuuguu has perhaps the most promise for the future. It certainly had the tidiest and most fun visual interface of the lot, and installation and use were an absolute pleasure. What's more, it's completely free for up to 30 users. If Yuuguu adds file-sharing functionality – which it may well do in its forthcoming Pro version – it will be on to an absolute winner.
We were slightly sceptical of BeAnywhere's USB-key based solution. Some users may feel reassured by the fact that they can hold a physical representation of the data stored on their PC, but it also seems to be aimed at people who will be using public PCs a lot. Surely the spread of the £100 netbook in 2009 will make these people a dying breed?
What is the future for remote access software? Both GoToMyPC and Netop Remote Control include full support for Windows Mobile enabled smartphones, and being able to access your PC from a pocketable device makes perfect sense. The software even lets you download and upload files from PC to phone and vice versa. One day in the near future you might even find yourself playing Crysis on your humble Nokia.