How to Turn Your Raspberry Pi Into a Remote Access Gateway

Introduction: How to Turn Your Raspberry Pi Into a Remote Access Gateway

About: I'm Owen, a student and intern for remote.it! I like playing games, playing the piano, and writing :) I hope my tutorials can help some of you!!

Hey guys! In light of the recent goings-on, our team at remote.it has been hard at work brainstorming ideas for making remote work painless and accessible. We've come up with the remote.itPi SD Card Image, which is an SD card you can put into a new Raspberry Pi that allows it to provide direct remote access to any computers, routers, etc that are on the same network as the Pi. This allows you to work from home once you've created the connections with remote.it!

If you're curious, you can learn more about remote.it here.

Some important info:

  • The remoteitPi OS default user is “pi“, password is “raspberry“.
  • For security purposes, the root password is not set by default. If you would like to set the root password, run the command sudo passwd root.
  • No HDMI display, mouse, or keyboard is needed for the Pi (Headless Setup).
  • remote.itPi is supported only on Raspberry Pi 2, Pi 3, Pi 4, and Pi Zero W.
  • When installing on multiple devices, the Pi's hostname will be incremented automatically (e.g. remoteitpi-2, remoteitpi-3, etc.).
  • The rootfs partition is automatically expanded to maximize the available space on the SD card.
  • SSH (port 22) and VNC (port 5900/tcp) are both enabled by default in this image to allow you to bring up the Pi in a Headless configuration from any other computer on the same network.
  • Security Warning: Make sure to change the Pi password using the sudo raspi-config utility after boot up as described in the detailed step-by-step instructions.

Supplies

If you encounter any issues using the Raspberry Pi Imager, try the Balena Etcher application instead.

Step 1: Install the Remote.itPi Image

Download remote.itPi.img.zip to your computer if you haven't already, found here.

Extract the contents of the zip file onto your computer.

Insert the formatted micro SD into your micro SD card reader, then connect the card reader to your computer. (If you haven't formatted your micro SD, you can use Raspberry Pi Imager to do so.) If you haven't already downloaded the Raspberry Pi Imager, you can find it here.

Launch Raspberry Pi Imager.

Under "Operating System," click CHOOSE OS. When prompted, select the Use custom option. Locate and select the remote.itPi.img that you extracted from the .zip file.

Under "SD Card," click CHOOSE SD CARD. When prompted, select your formatted micro SD's drive.

Click WRITE to begin writing the remote.itPi image onto the micro SD. This process will take a few minutes.

Note: If you haven't formatted your micro SD, you can use Raspberry Pi Imager to do so.

Step 2: Set Up Wi-Fi (Optional)

If you are connecting to your remote.itPi device to the internet via Ethernet, you can skip this step.

Navigate to the micro SD's /boot directory and open wpa_supplicant.conf in a text editor. If you don't see the /boot directory, you may need to remove the micro SD card from the slot, then re-insert it.

On the line that says "ssid="YOUR SSID"", replace YOUR SSID with the name of your Wi-Fi network. (Example: ssid="MyWiFi123")

On the line that says "psk="YOUR PASSPHRASE"", replace YOUR PASSPHRASE with the password for your Wi-Fi network. (Example: psk="P@ssword")

On the line that says country=US, replace US with your country code. A list of Wi-Fi country codes can be found here.

Save the file.

Locate the /boot directory on your computer's file directory.

Right-click the /boot directory to access the menu.

Click Eject to eject the micro SD card reader from your computer.

Step 3: Find Your Pi on the LAN

First, you've got to power on your Pi.

To do this, remove the micro SD from the card reader and insert it into the remote.itPi. If you are connecting the remote.itPi to the internet via Ethernet, plug the Ethernet cable into the remote.itPi. The other end of the Ethernet cable should connect to an available "LAN" port on your router.

Then, connect a USB power cable to the remote.itPi to power on the Raspberry Pi. Wait a minute or two for it to complete the boot process.

Now, you can find your Pi on the LAN (Local Area Network).

From your computer, open your browser and navigate to: http://find.remote.it.

The browser will search for your remote.itPi device on the LAN. If your device isn't detected after the initial search, wait a minute, then click Search again.

Note: Make sure you disable any pop-up blocker extensions or software for the domain "x.remote.it" or this web page may not load properly.

If your device isn't detected after a few search attempts, make sure your Wi-Fi credentials are correct in the wpa_supplicant.conf file (if the device is connected Wi-Fi) or that the Ethernet is connected properly. Additionally, please make sure that the device you are accessing find.remote.it from is on the same network as the Pi you are trying to locate.

Step 4: Connect and Register

After scanning completes, you will see something like "1 of 1" or "1 of 2" above the displayed remote.itPi details. That represents "(current device) of (total devices)" which were found on your LAN. You can quickly access the remote.it Admin Panel of any devices you've previously configured using remoteit.

The first one may or may not be the Raspberry Pi you're trying to configure. Use the forward ( > ) and back ( < ) arrows to locate your new device if more than one is found. Once you find your new remote.itPi, click CONNECT to connect to it.

Note: If you cannot find your device, please wait a few minutes and try again.

You will be prompted to log in to your remote.it account. If you have not created a remote.it account, click "Create an account" to create one.

Once you log in, you will be prompted to register your remote.itPi by providing a name for it. Enter a name, then click REGISTER.

The Device will be registered with the 3 default Services as shown.

We recommend that you not delete SSH or the remote.it Admin Panel though, as this could prevent you from access your Pi remotely. You can add other Services later if you wish, or delete any of the default Services you are not using.

Congratulations! Your remote.itPi is now registered to your remote.it account! You can now connect to your remote.itPi from any device with remote.it installed, or from a browser using the web portal.

Step 5: Remotely Access the Pi

You can use the remote.it web portal to connect to your remote.itPi device. You can view your configured Devices on the web portal's "Devices" page.

Find your remote.itPi device and click CONNECT under "Status".

You will be shown a drop-down menu that shows all the available services on your remote.itPi device. Click on a service name to start a connection. I connected to the VNC service that I quick registered in the last step.

When a connection is established, you will see information on how to access the service. See the image for an example of the information for accessing the device's graphical desktop using VNC. I used VNC Viewer for this project. You can find VNC Viewer here.

Open your VNC client application and enter the provided URL:port to connect to your remote.itPi.

You will be prompted to enter a username and password. The default login information for remote.itPi is:

  • Username: pi
  • Password: raspberry

You can now access this remote.itPi using VNC from anywhere!

Security Warning: Make sure to change the Pi password using the sudo raspi-config utility after boot up as described in the detailed step-by-step instructions.

For security purposes, the root password is not set by default. If you would like to set the root password, run the command sudo passwd root. You will need to set a root password if you wish to download additional applications onto the Pi.

Step 6: Conclusion

Now you will have remote access to a Raspberry Pi on the Network you've chosen. This means the Pi can serve as an access point to the other devices that are on that network!

remoteitPi uses a Desktop application for the Raspberry Pi. There are multiple ways to access the Desktop app. You can use your web browser and type localhost:29999 in the search bar, you can click on the shortcut on the desktop, or you can navigate to the Chromium Apps tab in the Pi menu and launch the remote.it Desktop Application from there. You can use the Desktop App for things like adding additional Services to your Device and connecting to other Services.

Anyways, that pretty much wraps up the tutorial I have for you today. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our support!

https://support.remote.it/hc/en-us

Thank you so much! Stay safe!

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