In recent years, we’ve witnessed a mass of remote access solutions flooding the Internet. Most of them offer a somewhat satisfactory set of features, but I prefer to stick with familiar vendors. ISL Online has been one of the first developers of remote desktop technologies in the market. Widely used by technical supporters worldwide, their remote desktop support software ISL Light brings technical help via Internet, at any given point in time, from anywhere in the world. ISL Light is a simple, light weight, secure and truly affordable remote desktop support solution that allows anyone to connect to a remote computer in less than a few seconds.
Installation and set-up
The support desk team logs in to the ISL Light application through the web product login at ISL Online’s homepage and enters the product dashboard. After clicking on the ISL Light tab, the screen for accessing ISL Light appears.
When you click on “Start a new session”, the ISL Light Desk window shows up offering you a session code. By far the easiest way to start a session is to send the code to the client via email. This option is already integrated in the new 3.3 version (download from here). On the other side, the client needs to open the email and click the invitation link to initiate the session.
Once connected, the desk team gets access to the client computer and assumes control over the keyboard and mouse (upon permission from the client). The desktop of the client computer shows up in the ISL View window with a toolbar on top offering a rich set of commands (as shown below). The user can resize the desktop sharing window, set the zoom to adjust the view to real size or to fit the whole screen in the viewing window, activate whiteboard and switch back to control, refresh the screen manually, choose to optimize between speed and quality (a higher quality requires higher bandwidth), or use other tools like session recording, full screen, send ctrl+alt+del, enable restart and resume, change keyboard layout, and send the remote screen to clipboard. Together with the drag&drop file transfer (a file dropped on the local ISL Light application), an average desk user practically doesn’t need anything else.
Settings and tools
Advanced settings and a few useful tools are additionally available in the ISL Light Desk application. The figure below shows the tools section of ISL Light Desk. Notice that the most used tools are right there in a neat circular fashion – talk about easy access. You can start audio connection, video exchange, two-way file transfer, and most importantly – desktop sharing.
Performance & Usage
Pitted against the big players such as WebEx PC Now, TeamViewer, GoToMyPC, it’s remarkable that ISL Light is being heralded as a worthy strong competitor. C’t – a German Computer Magazine that boasts of a whopping 1 million readers, regards ISL Light as the best remote desktop support software in the market. Compared to other remote desktop support software, ISL Light stands out thanks to its excellent Vista Remote Support (UAC), desktop sharing speed and quality, and the incredible ease of set-up and use.
- Performance and Test results: The speeds selected were normal during the time of writing this review and it allowed for normal use on the client. Plenty of options exist such as “high speed mode” and “Best quality or high speed”. The test session lasted for more than 30 minutes and there wasn’t a break in the connection. Further, there weren’t any lags at all while the session was live.
- Session quality: As mentioned before, the connections never rattled and there were no hiccups in the connection to the client computer through the time the session lasted. As mentioned before, the connection is robust and secure while being protected by using state-of-the-art, Industry standard SSL Security technology, any data transfer that’s bound to happen between the two connected computers is safe. Further, end-to-end encryption through the symmetrical AES 256-bit technology fortifies these connections leaving no room for any security lapse.
- Colours and aesthetics: There wasn’t much of glitz that ISL Light could claim to have but it really isn’t that important since all that is required of software like this is to connect to client computer and help remote teams access other computers to resolve issues. ISL Light could be made more attractive if needed but it’s not a deal breaker.
Training and Multimedia Features
Tagging along with the basic ISL Light product, there are extras thrown in for good measure such as a whiteboard and nifty audio/video facility hosted on ISL Light servers. ISL Light also allows for chat, files transfer, remote printing, and session recording.
- Video: Connecting the local user (from the desk side) to the webcam was a one-click affair from the circular toolbox. The quality of the stream can be improved on just by making a right mouse click on the video and selecting the high quality video or other in regards to your bandwidth.
- File transfer: You may send and receive files to and from the client computer. The snapshot below shows the dialog box that shows up when you click on the “File sharing option” from the circular toolbox. Perhaps an easier way is to drag&drop the file on the local ISL Light interface.
- Whiteboard: You could use the whiteboard facility to point (using the pointer function) at files or explain operations of the remote computer to your client. You could also use the free hand drawing tool to circle objects for emphasis. The whiteboard tools are available in the ISL View window in the top toolbar.
The ISL Light program is small, light-weight but still powerful an application to help clients out with their computer-based issues. Your clients don’t need anything but a simple click to initiate a session.
It’s a good alternative to the other remote access programs in the market while ISL Light’s functionality and usage is as good as that of its competition. The ISL Light remote access program is light on resources and doesn’t hog your CPU usage, it’s as easy as it can be and has a strong support team.
ISL Light version 3.3 — the latest version of ISL Light is now the default version used by all SaaS users. The latest version has been improved tremendously over its predecessor in regards to desktop sharing quality and speed. It supports turbo desktop sharing using which high definition content can be shared, the colours and aesthetics have been greatly improved, video quality with better compression, ability to access or share multimedia, and many more features have been introduced.