Everyone knows about Teamviewer – it’s one of the most popular remote support applications out there. However, it also has a rather high startup cost if you want to use it for professional purposes. With licensing prices ranging from $749 to around $3,000, this can be prohibitive if you’re just starting out. Thankfully, there is a rather great piece of software which is almost as good. GoToAssist by Citrix is a full-featured professional remote desktop support platform with far more flexible pricing: $9.95 for a 24-hour use pass, $69 per month, or $660 per year. This gives you the flexibility to potentially move over to Teamviewer when you have enough customers to justify it.
GoToAssist is a very user friendly piece of software, with full support for both Windows and Apple OSX. When you run it, it provides you with a a support key to give your customer, and the option to copy the support URL to the clipboard or to email it. The customer can follow the link you send them, or just go to www.fastsupport.com and type in the support key and their name. Once they click launch, the download of the client side portion of the software begins and the support session is initialised shortly after that.
I have used GoToAssist from behind various different kinds of proxies and firewalls and never had any trouble establishing a connection both to and from such clients. Its routing abilities appear to be quite advanced.
GoToAssist offers a variety of great features that make your life as a remote support technician much easier. It’s possible to setup full unattended support with your clients (they must give permission, obviously), so that you can manage client machines out of hours or when they are not around. It also offers live chat during the session, file transfer, annotation tools and even a reboot and reconnect feature. The latter feature is invaluable as often a client will go off and do something else while you work on their system, and it can be time-consuming to have to call them back and ask them to reinitialise a support session once the machine has rebooted.
There are a number of options in GoToAssist, primarily surrounding the quality of the visual experience at your end. The idea is to conserve bandwidth in order to improve the speed of your experience. If both you and the client have a fast broadband connection and are located in the same country then 24-bit colour and display effects should all work fine. If there are any bottlenecks, however, it’s probably best to revert to 256-colour and to disable any display effects as they will probably slow down your support session.
This is the one place where I find GoToAssist lacking in comparison to Teamviewer. Citrix does not specify whether GoToAssist uses multichannel routing, but my belief is that it does not. Speeds in Teamviewer are mostly superior to those of GoToAssist. That said, the speeds in GoToAssist certainly aren’t a deal-breaker
If you’re looking for a strong alternative to Teamviewer then you could do much worse than to give GoToAssist a try. They offer a 30-day free trial, so you can evaluate if it works well for your needs. Please let me know how you find it.
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