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Remote desktop/VPN bandwidth requirements

Posted on 2006-05-01
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One user on our network has problems connecting via remote desktop and VPN to a server.  It keeps kicking him out on his DSL connection at home, but not anywhere else. After extensive testing and finger-pointing, the dsl provider says he doesn't have enough bandwidth, that it needs at least 3 mbps to do what he wants (he needs to view image files over this connection). He uses this system with no problem at all when he connects on DSL from somewhere else (1.5 mbps) or anywhere else he goes.  I still think it's a problem with his line at home, since this is the only place it happens.
What else can he do at home to test or improve the connection to keep him from dropping?
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Question by:maharlika
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 16577992
I doubt bandwidth is the issue. I can quite successfully maintain a VPN/RDP session with a 33K dial-up modem. Must say I don't enjoy it, but it works, and it is stable.
Does he just loose the RD session or also the VPN connection?  I have been having a lot of problems with one user with an SBC  DSL connection. Similar issue, connection drops only for a minute or so but enough to break the VPN. When only browsing I don't think the user notices, as it would only appear like a slow link. To test in these situations I usually set up a little utility, called IPMonitor, to monitor the connection. This may not be as easy if you are using a VPN software client. IPMonitor is basically a ping utility that you can set to test the connection to multiple IP's. It logs dropped connections and can be set to notify you if you wish. Set it up to monitor a local device as a control, the router, the ISP Gateway, an internet IP such as the ISP's DNS and a device on the remote network. This way you may be able to see where and how often the connection is dropped.
http://ipmonitor.tsarfin.com/download.html
Is this timing out when inactive or while the user is working? If when inactive and if they have a PPPoE connection make sure the keep alive feature is enabled.
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by:maharlika
ID: 16581372
He only loses the RD connection, not the VPN connection, and it's while he's active on it.  Makes me suspect the server connections on the other end of the RD, but have never had any problem staying connected anywhere else.
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Rob Williams earned 640 total points
ID: 16581822
Interesting....
-Assuming a Windows Domain, in active directory under the users profile on the Sessions tab there is the option of setting an active and/or idle session limit. Any chance one of those has been set?
-For test purposes, you could reduce the demand on the connection by adjusting the options on the remote desktop connection client under "Experience" by changing to "Modem (28.8Kbps). This simply reduces the amount of data transfered between the host and client machines by reducing luxury items like backgrounds. I would also in the same location turn off "Bitmap caching".
-Another possibility, I haven't seen with remote desktop, but I have seen lost connections to shares, is too large an MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) packet size. Typically the VPN connection is made, but opening larger files is unsuccessful. You can tweak this on the users PC and their router if necessary. First you may want to do some testing. The following sites outline how to test and adjust for optimum MTU size, as well as explain the issue. Basically it is a trial an error process.
http://www.dslreports.com/faq/5793
http://www.dslreports.com/faq/7752
http://www.chicagotech.net/vpnslow.htm
http://help.expedient.net/broadband/mtu.shtml
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by:maharlika
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I'll try these and see if anything works. Thanks
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 16591026
Thanks maharlika. Good luck.
--Rob
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