That's what tramp mode is. It supports multiple protocols.
Typically you use ssh, but it can do use pretty much anything that allows for remote shell as it'll pipe right through the shell itself if needed.
I don't know how it compares to remote-edit, but I just stumbled across this post when considering if it was worth it yet to switch from Emacs to Atom.io and it was a shame to see the original poster get so frustrated when confronted with simple and reasonable questions.
The nice thing about Tramp is that it enables essentially 'transparent' remote editing. Emacs has built-in file browsers and such things and Tramp mode allows you to use these to edit remote files as if they are local to your system. Of course there are many limitations as will large file sizes it gets a bit slow copying files around.
Personally I use it in conjunction with 'Server mode'. Server mode allows you to edit files in your main Emacs process by executing 'emacsclient' command line client. You can set 'emacsclient' up as $EDITOR or run it from a command line so that you can launch a 'edit file' without having to create new Emacs process. Emacs server mode uses a simple unix or tcp socket for communication. Combine 'server mode' with ssh port forwarding and 'tramp mode' means that I can be in a remote shell and edit files from that remote system using Emacs GUI on my desktop.
I am guessing that he wants something like 'tramp mode' built in natively to Atomic so it can be used by other extensions or scripts rather then just a GUI dialog.