alpha vnc pro – howto

Alpha vnc pro is designed to project the screen of your Android device (end-device) via internet or local network. You can establish a connection from a support-device either with a VNC client or over browser through the abr Cloud Console. For this howto, Chrome browser through the abr Cloud Console was used.

 

Screen elements

The application main screen consists of the following elements:

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1 – Start / Stop the VNC session

2 – Main menu

3 – Session settings

4 – Quick help

 

Setup & Configuration

Device setup

As soon as alpha vnc is installed, it will ask you to configure the end-device appropriately. The correct settings will be checked, whenever the VNC server is started. The application will assist you to complete the configuration, in case that something is missing.

      • Accessibility

Alpha vnc can project the screen of the end-device “out-of-the-box” and control it with an input utility, when the Accessibility service is activated. The application will ask you to activate the Accessibility service, once the server is started. You can also activate it manually in the Settings of the device. abr solutions guarantees full privacy compliance. No screen content, inputs or other events are monitored.

      • System overlay

Alpha vnc will require the permission to be displayed above all other apps. Whenever a Client is connected, it will show a miniature ‘alpha’ logo on the upper third of the screen. This is a visible indicator that the screen is currently shared and all activities could be monitored. You can also set this permission manually in the settings of the device.

      • Alpha vnc keyboard

Prior to Android 7.0 (Nougat), the software keyboard cannot be accessed directly. In order to provide full soft-keyboard support, alpha vnc has a built-in keyboard, which needs to be activated in the input methods of the system settings. If the device is running on Android prior to 7.0, the application will detect it and automatically ask you to activate the built-in keyboard.
 

Session settings

Clicking the Session settings icon on the left bottom corner of the application main screen allows you to configure the following options:

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      • Scale percentage

Define the percentage of the display size which will be projected. This way, you can avoid e.g. displaying a large screen in original size, which would lead to a lot of scrolling at the Client side and consume more bandwidth than necessary. Possible values 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. The default value is 50%.

      • Screen name

Define the name of the end-device, which will be displayed on the Client side.

      • Port

Define the local port that the VNC server will be running on. Please, note that the port must be locally available and also open. We recommend using a port between 5901 and 5905. The default value is 5901.

      • Session password

Define a password that needs to be entered on the Client side, in order to be able to establish a connection to the end-device. We strongly recommend setting a Session password!

General settings

Clicking the 3-dot icon on the top right corner of the application main screen will open the main menu. Select ‘Settings’ in order to open the General settings screen. The following options can be configured:

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      • Mobile data warning

The application displays a warning message, if the VNC server is started while connected to a mobile network. VNC connections can consume a lot of bandwidth, which might cause additional cost on volume based internet contracts. This option is activated by default.

      • Alpha vnc keyboard warning

Alpha vnc has a built-in keyboard, in order to provide full soft keyboard support to Android devices prior to version 7.0 (Nougat). The application displays a warning message on devices with Android OS prior to 7.0, if the VNC server is started while using another keyboard. This option is activated by default.

      • Start automatically

Alpha vnc will start automatically on start of the device. The server will run in the background, until a connection is established. This option is only available on unencrypted devices. It is supported “out-of-the-box” on all devices with OS prior to Android 10 . This option is deactivated by default.

      • Restart on connectivity change

Restart alpha vnc, after a lost connection has been re-established. This option is deactivated by default.

      • Autostart on mobile internet

If this option is deactivated, the VNC server will only start, if a wireless or LAN connection is available. When you activate this option, the server will also start automatically on a mobile internet connection. Since it may cause additional cost on volume based internet contracts, this option is deactivated by default.

      • Auto wake up

The screen of the device will wake up, once a Client is connected. This option is activated by default.

      • Stay awake

The screen of the device will stay awake, as long a Client is connected. This option is activated by default.

      • Unlock screen

If this option is activated, the screen can be unlocked, once a Client is connected. This can only work, if no password or pattern is required to unlock the screen. Please, be aware of the potential risk before disabling any security features! This option is deactivated by default.

      • Overlay icon clickable

If the overlay icon is clickable, the application activity can be opened, whenever it is clicked by the end-user. This option is activated by default.

      • Remote console

Alpha vnc pro allows to establish a connection over browser through the abr Cloud Console. Click on this option, in order to set up the device notification to the abr Cloud. The following settings can be configured:

  1. Android : give to the end-device a distinctive name. Every device has the name Android by default.
  2. Send start stop notification : the device will report its online status to the abr Cloud Console, on start of the application. This option is activated by default.
  3. Allow cloud connection : the abr Cloud Console will be able to establish a connection to the end-device. This option is activated by default.
  4. Require user feedback : the end-user will be asked to allow the connection from the abr Cloud Console, on every connection attempt. This option is activated by default.
  5. Use encrypted connection : the connection will be TLS encrypted. This option is activated by default.

 

Cloud connectivity

In order to be able to connect to the end-device(s) over browser via the abr Cloud Console, firstly you need to create an account with the license-key which they are registered to, at cloud.abr-solutions.de.

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Connection handling

Starting the VNC server

Start alpha vnc by clicking the round START button in the middle of the main screen. If configured, the server can start automatically, after the device has been started. An alpha vnc icon is displayed in the notification area, as an indicator that the server is running.

If the Require user feedback option is activated in the general settings, a connection request will be sent to the device, whenever a connection from the abr Cloud Console is attempted. When the connection is established, a small alpha vnc icon will appear on the upper center of the display, indicating that a Client is connected to the screen and can observe all activity. The icon will disappear once all Clients have disconnected from the screen. This security feature should prevent you from being monitored without noticing.

Connecting to the VNC server

The online status of the device is visible under the Device Monitor tile of the abr Cloud Console. The dot on the left of the device information is green when the device is online and grey when it is offline.

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If the device is online (green), you can use the Connect to Device button from the device information screen to establish a connection.

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Network configuration

In order to be able to establish a connection via the abr Cloud, the network of the end-device needs to allow the following connections:

      • https connection (outgoing) to www.abr-solutions.de/*
      • https connection (outgoing) to abrcloud.de/*

 

Remote control

Controlling your Android device

Alpha vnc allows to control an Android device posterior 5.0 (Lollipop) remotely.

Due to the strict Android access control system, the control of devices prior to Android 7.0 (Nougat) has some minimal limitations, as a small price for not having to root the device. All items are clickable, however, minor issues are reported in combination with 3rd party browsers or apps.

Posterior Android 7.0 (Nougat), all limitations are past!
A pointer device (such as a computer mouse) can be used to point & click. The mouse wheel can be used to scroll up & down. One finger swipe gestures are supported.

Keyboard input – Clickable items

Posterior Android 7.0 (Nougat), the software keyboard is accessible directly. All systems items are clickable!

Prior to Android 7.0 (Nougat), alpha vnc is using a standard 104 key US keyboard, which can be activated in the input settings and selected as the currently active keyboard. System items like the Back, Home or Recent button are not clickable directly. To access those items, alpha vnc provides the following shortcuts:

      • ESC – key: triggers the Back button
      • Home / Pos1 key: triggers the Home key
      • Page down – key : opens the notification area on top of the screen
      • Page up – key : triggers the Recent apps
      • End – key: triggers the Power button

Copy & paste

You can copy text from your local computer to the remote device. Copy the text as usual from your local computer and paste it into the remote device with the key combination Ctrl+V

 

Licensing

A license lifts the functional limitations of the application on one end-device. For the licensing of multiple devices, you need a license-key that includes the equal amount of licenses. License-keys can be purchased in our Web Store or by contacting our sales team.

When a license-key order is concluded, the downloadable files are delivered for the deployment:
– the alpha vnc pro APK, to install on the end-devices,
– a license key file & a quick activation code (license files), for the licensing
– detailed docunentation for the deployment.

Activation of the license(s)

Select the entry Activate device from the 3-dot Main menu. The activation of a license is realized by importing the license-key file or by scanning of the quick activation code, as described in the alpha vnc pro – Licensing & Configuration Guide.

In larger environments, especially in combination with Mobile Device Management systems, alpha vnc pro supports the auto-licensing & configuration of multiple devices.

Deactivating a device

If you wish to use alpha vnc pro on another device (e.g. when you have just bought a new handset) or before updating/resetting the OS of the existing device, you need to unregister it from the license-key beforehand!

Choose the entry Unregister device in the main menu of the application or in the Device view under the Manage licenses tile of the abr Cloud Console. One license will be “released” and will be available to activate it again. The normal licensing procedure must be followed, in order to reactivate it.

Please, note that you can unregister a device up to 10 times from a license-key! After the maximum number of unregistrations is exceeded and you wish to unregister the same device again, please contact our support.

 

Technical support

Our support team will be glad to assist you on all technical questions. Please use our contact form to get in touch!