As a city dweller with the perspective to have a secondary suburb QTH in a few months, I got interested in remote operating and read what I could find on the subject. I am a bit disappointed at my findings and therefore would like to summarize them here and see if I got it all right.
1. Remote operation for phone and AFSK-based digital modes can be done with HRD or TRX manager for the rig control, Skype for the audio link, and some additional software for a secure link (such as VPN) and remote on/off. This supposes that a PC is used at the local site, and works with any radio with CAT control. A program like logmein provides a remote desktop, with HRD running on the remote computer.
2. If CW operation is wished for, things get more complicated. HRD can do it via the keyboard, but there are latency issues, which depend on the quality of the internet connection.
3. Some (few) rigs come with an ethernet plug and allow more seemless remote control without HRD/logmein, requiring only a rig-specific software at the local site. The new Kenwood TS-990S comes with this feature, and I believe the ICOM 7600 does it as well. This allows for rig control, still relies on something like skype for the audio transfer, and does not work with CW.
4. For true CW operation with a paddle, a set of boxes from remoterig.com does the trick via the inclusion of a character buffer. I have seen nothing similar.
5. For a more shack-like experience, only three rigs with detachable faceplates exist. The most popular seems to be the Kenwood TS-480S, then there's the TS-2000 with a remote faceplate as an option, and the K3 with the K3/0. The two Kenwood solutions do not include audio, and look as if they were designed for detached rather than remote operation. Only the K3 with K3/0 does that and also includes the CW link.
I conclude that the only manufacturer who really integrated a terminal mode into its rig is Elecraft. The high-end ICOM and Kenwood models, although equipped with the required ethernet connection, can not be used in terminal mode - and one may of course argue that it is unlikely that a radio amateur would buy two of these rather expensive transceivers for a remote setup, and their sheer size excludes operation from a hotel room.
Do I understand the state of the art in remote operation?