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Certain users experiencing slow terminal services sessions

Posted on 2004-08-04
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Hi,

We have a Windows 2000 Sp4 terminal server (P4 Xeon 2.6Ghz, 2.5Gb ram, 3 x 36Gb SCSI RAID 5, 1 x 1Gb NIC) with around 30 users connecting in. The terminal server is behind and Windows 2003 / ISA 2000 Server Sp2 with the same spec and is connected to the internet with a 1Mb Down 256Kb Up cable broadband connection.

The only thing running on the terminal server is the front end to a financial services package and microsoft office xp.

Some of our users but not all, frequently have problems with their sessions locking up. The session will freeze for a while or go extremely slow and then may let them work as normal or disconnect them. Even with only maybe five people connected to the terminal server the same problem exists.

Sometimes when their remote session locks up, so does their local pc but this is not always the case.

All remote offices have new P4 pc's running Windows Xp Pro sp1 and have a minimum broadband spec of 512Kb down 256Kb up.

I have spent a lot of time trying to find the answer to this problem but I am getting no where. I have double-checked that the remote office broadband routers are functioning properly which they are and that there are no problems with their broadband lines. The telco's assure me everything is ok.

I would be very happy if anyone can help me with this problem.
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Question by:rhedley
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by:Jeff Rodgers
Jeff Rodgers earned 100 total points
ID: 11716587
I would suspect that the problems could be stemming from Win2k SP4... I run a Citrix Metaframe farm on Win2k.  Whne we installed SP4, remote users started having issues with their connections timing out.

There are several things you can do involving your actual network connections and the registry which may help.

You might want to edit the registry and adjust the settings.  Check out this article, you might find some useful tidbits as to what to edit.

http://terminal.servebeer.com/php/flaky_connections.php

Good Luck
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Expert Comment

by:drcoz
ID: 11717071
First thing would be to diagnose if the slowiness is due to the network or to the server.
Your 256 KB upload bandwidth seems very low for more than 10 users (25 KB/ session is low but enought with TSC) and I believe this is where you problem is.  If someone is using a protocol like FTP, that will eat most of your bandwidth.  You could set up a traffic analyzer to see what is going on.
Also try to set up some performance counters on the server (maybe just CPU as your specs are high) to see if any process eats all the CPU's cycles (print job?).
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by:jdeclue
jdeclue earned 200 total points
ID: 11718820
drcoz, is correct. If you have 4 users connected, with an upstream of 256, that is 64 each and with overhead it will be less. Then you have to add all other connectivity. Are these people accessing file shares, Web etc through the same connection. If so you will most likely finad a conention issue. To determine this you could go to the terminal server and try something as simple as a continous ping to one of the workstations to see what the response is like. Additional you could sniff the network, and if you understand routers etc, or windows 2000 quality of service, you could give the RDP protocol a higher precendence.
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by:KJHDI12
ID: 11720213

The users print to a local printer, right? Check if the slowdowns happen when someone prints something big and eats up all the bandwidth.
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Author Comment

by:rhedley
ID: 11720612
Hi,

Thank you all for your comments.

Jeff Rodgers - Thanks I have applied the registry hacks, I will wait and see if it has improved the situation.

drcoz & jdeeclue - I understand about the economics of bandwidth, the problem is getting the boss to pay for more bandwidth. Jumping from a broadband connection to something with a faster upstream is a big financial leap. I think it would be beneficial to reserve bandwidth using QoS for terminal services' rdp protocol. It's not something i've tried before, do you have any examples of how to set this up. Presumably QoS would be controlled by the ISA Server (Win 2003).

KJHDI12 - All users print to their own local printers through terminal services. We use a printing program called Tricerat Screwdrivers (Simplify Printing), which sends the data in a highly compressed format to the clients printer. Obviously as you say if someone prints then more bandwidth is used so that is something else to look at. I can control the amount of bandwidth used for printing on Screwdrivers so I will set it to a low amount.

Regards,

Robert
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Accepted Solution

by:
drcoz earned 200 total points
ID: 11720807
Robert,
There is a good article to how to set up bandwidth on ISA server there: http://bandwidthcontroller.com/isa-traffic-shaping.html (some links to MS site too from there).
I understand the budget issue but that is probably where your bottleneck is.  Even if you manage your bandwidth, I think that will not be enough.  Another thing you could try would be to lower the bandwidth used by the remote clients (lower the settings, disable sound, enable bitmap caching...) in the remote desktop client properties.  If the remote users are in the same area that your office you might consider to make this server a RAS server and have them connected via dial-in.
good luck,
dr coz
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Expert Comment

by:jdeclue
ID: 11725069
The article that dr coz posted is nice and to the point. Setting the QOS should help tremendously, it may slow down a print job or browsing etc. but those slow downs are not nearly as noticable as the terminal server session. Give it a whirl!

J
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Author Comment

by:rhedley
ID: 11725569
Thanks I have added a bandwidth rule in for rdp set at a priority of 150.

I have put the rest of the traffic on at a priority of 50.

Is this the correct way to do this?

Regards,

Robert
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by:jdeclue
ID: 11725736
That should do it. Do you have a way to test the connection as a user, from a remote location?

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by:rhedley
ID: 11726769
I'm in an another office testing it as we speak. It is very slow. There are 10 other people logged in. So with the other internet traffic to contend with it's going to crawl.

I think the problem is now going to be trying to get the bandwidth increased.

Many thanks for all your help.
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by:jdeclue
ID: 11726822
I am going to assume the ISA server is set up at your office, so unless you can get QOS set up in the remote offices (so it can keep the inbound and outbound traffic off the link), it isn't going to help enough with that much traffic. If you have the ability to set QOS or protocol preference on the remote routers, you could try that as well. Sorry, I had hoped for better.

J
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