Hamachi – What BackToMyMac should be..

Let’s face it.. Apple’s BackToMyMac is a great idea in theory, but just doesn’t work without making specific configuration changes to your firewalls and routers, which, in a corporate environment, you’re unlikely to be able to do.

I’m sure that they’re busy working on an implementation that will actually work properly. Until they release it, I’ll be using LogMeIn’s free Hamachi tunnelling software that actually does what it says on the tin!

From LogMeIn.com..

Hamachi is a free (for limited use) service by LogMeIn.com. I’ve been using LogMeIn’s web-based remote desktop software for over a year now, and have been really impressed. It seems to have no problem dealing with whatever firewalls and routers are put in it’s way, and supports a number of different client technologies for reviewing your remote desktop including HTML. This means that you can remotely access your Mac or PC from your iPhone if you’re so inclined.

Hamachi…

Hamachi provides a secure tunnel between the different member computers on a “virtual network”, such as your home Mac and office PC for example. LogMeIn’s servers act as a co-ordination service, to affectively join the various tunnels from your various computers into the virtual network. This means that you will need to initiate a connection on each computer, but this is a fairly straightforward task.

HamachiX vs Hamachi

The official Mac release of Hamachi is command line only, and requires a fairly difficult (in Mac fluffy gui terms) installation process. However, there is a third-party Mac client called HamachiX which, as well as managing the configuration of the Hamachi service, also installs the relevant Hamachi drivers and files automatically.

However, the HamachiX client did crash on both machines on my virtual network, although the actual Hamachi tunnels continued to work fine. I presume this is because the command line process is still happily running in the background.

There is also a rather good that seems to work well. This has a smaller footprint than HamachiX so I’ll try this for day to day usage for a while.

Results

Once installed on both my Macbook Pro (in Devon) and remotely on my iMac in London (via LogMeIn Free) both computers recognised each other via Bonjour, and all of the usual MacOS network services were available, including:
Movie and audio sharing via iTunes

  • Movie and audio via iTunes
  • Screen sharing and file sharing via MacOS
  • Printing
  • Photo sharing via iPhoto

Now, the network speed is a little slow (I’m connecting over a 1Mbps/256kbps ADSL connection) but certainly useable.

Conclusion
Hamachi is a excellent. Until Apple pull their finger out of their arse and make BackToMyMac work properly, Hamachi will have a place on my essential apps list.