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This paper draws on research, development, and deployment of remote laboratories undertaken by the authors since 2000. They jointly worked on the PEARL project (http://iet.open.ac.uk/pearl/) from 2000 to 2003 and have worked on further projects within their own institutions (the Open University, United Kingdom, and the University of Porto, Portugal, respectively) since then. The paper begins with a statement of the rationale for remote experiments, then offers a review of past work of the authors and highlights the key lessons for remote labs drawn from this. These lessons include (1) the importance of removing accessibility barriers, (2) the importance of a pedagogic strategy, (3) evaluation of pedagogic effectiveness, (4) the ease of automation or remote control, and (5) learning objectives and design decisions. The paper then discusses key topics including assessment issues, instructional design, pedagogical strategies, relations to industry, and cost benefits. A conclusion summarizes key points from the paper within a review of the current status of remote labs in education.