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qbee-connect

Introduction to qbee-connect

What is it?

qbee-connect is a desktop application available for Linux, Windows and MacOS. It connects to the qbee.io cloud infrastructure and acts as a secure termination end-point for any port or any service on any of the remote devices in the system. Technically all data is routed through the built-in secure VPN from the remote device to your local desktop.

qbee-connect maps any remote port to a defined port on localhost (127.0.0.1) on the local system. This way users can get access to remote devices independent if this is a ssh shell connection, a web server, VNC or any other application. This works across firewalls, NATs, mobile networks and complex network infrastructures because it uses the secure qbee VPN.

qbee maps remote end-point ports and services to localhost

qbee-connect maps remote ports and servcies (that do not need to be accessible from the outside) to a specified port on localhost.

This way a user can access the remote device across complex network topologies within his browser on the specified port (e.g. localhost:65234).

This works with any application no matter if this is ssh, http, https or any other protocol.

It is possible to maintain many parallel connections at the same time. The new auto-connect function allows also to automatically connect them (see more below).

Working with remote files and directories

With qbee-connect it is very easy to work with files and directories on remoted devices. Please have a look at the following methods and select the one that best fits your workflow. All these methods work for Linux, Windows and Mac.

  • remote two-way file access through scp as described in this guide
  • remote two-way file and folder syncronization with rsync as described here
  • remote file browsing capabilities with sshfs as described here

Installation

Please download the qbee-connect package within the qbee web application. The packages are available under "qbee packages". From version 1.0.3 there is a notification function if there is any update.

The qbee-connect desktop application

After installation the user credentials have to be entered into qbee-connect. Then it securely connects to qbee.io and represents the same tree structure that is created in qbee.

qbee-connect3

Not all users have remote access enabled!

Remote access can be granted by any administrator for any user of qbee. This is defined in the user setting. If a user has remote access any remote access attempts will be logged thus giving an effective overview over who has been on different devices.

Any device can be selected in the tree on the left. On the right hand side different ports can be selected that will be made available locally. In the displayed example this is ssh with port 22 and a custom port on 1880 ( This is a node-red server running on the local device).

When the connect button is pressed the connection is established. qbee-connect will map the remote ports to random ports on localhost as displayed in this image below:

qbee-connect2

For ssh the complete command can be copied. Then only the user name needs to be replaced in a terminal and then ssh can be used in a regular local terminal.

qbee-connect4

For other applications such as web applications running on a http or https server these can be called in a browser with calling localhost and the respective port such as localhost:65446 or 127.0.0.1:65446. In the example below we are connecting to a remote Node-Red instance on port 57412. This gives us full local Node-Red functionality in our browser.

Tip

Just copy the assigned port number (see copy button behind respective line) and start a web browser. Then localhost:port_numer will give you the remote web server in your local browser with full functionality

qbee-connect5

The new version of qbee-connect has some additional menu items. Current connections can be refreshed and it is also possible to disconnect all connections. As a beta feature we feature the option to connect devices again automatically when coming out of sleep. If you check the box all connections are re-established when the machine wakes up again.

Auto connect devices

This new function allows to define a number of devices and ports that should be automatically connected when qbee-connect starts. In the web UI in the "remote console" menu there is a new entry for qbee-connect. Select the devices you want to work with, go to "Port settings" and define which remote port you want to map. Now a dedicated port for your user is created that will always map the remote port. If you enable "auto connect on startup" in qbee-connect then the next time these ports will be automatically connected when qbee-connect starts. Then it is also possible to directly launch these services through the launch icon from the qbee web UI.

Here is another example connecting through RealVNC on port 5900 to get full bi-directional VNC access to a remote device across a firewall with the possibility to control the device with mouse and even upload files. For more information please visit the VNC use case.

qbee-vnc-remote-access

qbee-connect is capable of handling a large number of concurrent connections at the same time. So it is possible to get information and access to many different web servers on many different devices. The second tab in the qbee-connect tool shows all active connections and which ports are mapped to which local port. Just connect any end-point you want to access remotely.

qbee-connect1

Each device can be separately disconnected and new device can be included from the first tab.

Warning

For security reasons we encourage you to log out of the qbee-connect application each time before you close it. Otherwise it will automatically be able to connect to your qbee instance on the next start.