FCS Remote Lab Access With GUI

Please read everything before attempting to connect.

Important:

Make sure to save your work often and be sure to logout via the desktop when you are done. Closing the VNC client without logging out does not stop your VNC session. Your remote desktop session may be terminated after long periods of inactivity and you should take all precautions not to loose your work.

FCS is now allowing remote GUI access to Undergrad Lab machines via VNC.

Before you can connect to a Computer Science lab machine, you must first be connected to UNB's VPN. Instructions on how to install and connect to the VPN are aavailable at the link below:
https://unbcloud.sharepoint.com/sites/ITServices/SitePages/VPN.aspx

Once you have the VPN installed, you may continue with the instructions provided below.


Terms

VNC - Virtual Network Computing - a graphical desktop-sharing system
SSH - Secure Shell - a secure remote command line and remote command execution protocol
VNC Host - indicates the individual lab computer being used to run a VNC Session
VDN - Vitual Display Number - indicate the unique display (ie. VNC Session) on a given host


Quick Start Procedure

  • Set you FCS password (if you have not recently done so)
  • Connect to UNB's VPN service.
  • SSH to a particular Lab computer
  • Start a VNC Session with fcs-vncserver command
  • Use VNC Client on your local device to connect VNC Session on Lab computer
  • Logout of VNC Desktop environment when done

Downloading a VNC Client

Due to the authentication mechanism used in FCS labs, not all VNC clients will work. We recommend TigerVNC.

TigerVNC is included in most Linux repositories and can be download for Windows and MacOS

Downloads


Downloading a SSH Client

SSH clients are included in most Linux and MacOS systems by default.

For Windows users, we recommend Putty.

Putty is available here

Choosing a Lab Computer

There are 5 Undergrad labs with Linux computers available for use

  • GC112 - 40 machines (gc112m01 - gc112m40)
  • GC127A - 15 machines (gc127m01 - gc127m15)
  • GD124 - 10 machines (gd124m01 - gd124m10)
  • ITD414 - 50 machines (id414m01 - id414m50)
  • ITD415 - 50 machines (id415m01 - id415m50)
  • ITB213 - 40 machines (ib213m01 - ib213m40)
All lab computers follow the same naming convection.
<labname>m< device number>.cs.unb.ca

Example: gc112m09.cs.unb.ca

Currently there is no system in place for load-balancing remote access to lab machines.
Please pick a machine in your designated lab and try to pick a machine not already in use.
SSH directly into your selected FCS Lab computer.

Use the ps -a |grep vnc command to see if someone is already running VNC.
Logout and pick another lab machine if you see another VNC session.

(reminder: In order to access the labs you must first be connected to UNB's VPN service.)


Starting a VNC Session

Once you have ssh'd to a lab machine you will need to start a VNC Session.

Run the fcs-vncserver -start command on the lab machine.

This should return a new desktop session for you to use in the form of <lab-computer-name>:<vdn number>

Example: gc112m09.cs.unb.ca:1

If you already have a VNC Session running on this or another FCS Lab machine, a new session will not be started. You will instead be given a list of existing sessions. Either use the existing session or kill the session and start a new one.
To kill an existing session you must be SSH'd into the VNC Host the session is running on.

Run fcs-vncserver -kill <VDN> to kill an existing session

Example: fcs-vncserver -kill :1


Connecting to a VNC Session

Once you have started your VNC Session use your local TigerVNC client to connect.
Enter your new desktop session information (ie. gc112m09.cs.unb.ca:1) as the VNC server.
You should then be prompted for your FCS username and password.
You should now have a remote GUI desktop session on the given lab machine.
This will be a slightly different desktop experience than what you see in the lab.

Please be sure to logout when you are done. Closing the VNC client without logging out does not stop your VNC session.