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Fastest screen sharing service - VNC?

Posted on 2006-06-10
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Training staff remotely using skype voice conference and VNC. Tried Tight (slow), and Real (better).
Still there's a slow refresh rate my side, can't figure it. Please recommend a fast refresh screen sharing service.
Don't mind paying a little a month or upfront. Spending 2 hours per day doing remote training. Need to show staff things and not sit on my thumbs whilst it refreshes.
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Question by:negotiation
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by:rindi
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What OS? XP's "Remote Assistance" is pretty fast.
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by:negotiation
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Yes, XP.
Tried using Remote Assistance via MSN messenger - only managed to get it going with 2 friends, both were based here in the UK. Could not est. a connxn with anyone else. Was the least reliable wrt making the connection.
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by:rindi
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I never use msn, but rather use the send invitation using the mail software. Of course the firewall needs to allow the correct ports through, but that is necessary for the other software too. A problem can be that if the assistance seeking PC is on a local LAN, you'll get the invitation with the user's local IP, like 192.168.0.5, which of course is worth nothin on the internet. You could before opening the invitation file, just replace that local ip with the public ip of the user. Just ask the user to enter http://whatismyip.com in his webbrowser and it should show his ip which he would send along with the invitation. Another way could be to first connect via VPN to the user's firewall, if it has vpn included, and then open the invitation file. But remote assistance to my knowledge is the fastest connection.

Otherwise try symantec's pcanywhere, or another product I have used, but am not sure if it still exists, is timbuktu, try googling for it.
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by:Rob Williams
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I use a lot of remote connection software and of the various VNC "flavors" I find RealVNC to be the best. Reduce the required bandwidth by reducing # of colors and remove wallpapers/backgrounds. However, I would agree with Rindi Microsoft's Remote assistance is better. Still better than that, but not free, is WebEx which requires no network configuration, and is easy for the end user. They are the industry leader in on-line support services. It is specifically designed for this and works very well. You can even have on-line conference sessions to demonstrate to multiple users. They offer a free trial session to see what you think.
http://www.webex.com/
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papimichel earned 500 total points
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check www.logmein.com. you'll have to install a client program for each station you want to log into, and you'll have to connect to it remotely from logmein website,
but it is much faster than VNC and the others. (And its also free)
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by:negotiation
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Wow! This is my first post, really impressed with the quantity of responses, the speed, the quality of replies and detail offered. Thx guys, got to do some homework now to see which solution works. Will let you know which ones the winner.
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by:Rob Williams
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Welcome aboard negotiation.
Great forum, excellent advise in a timely fashion.
Let us know how you make out.
--Rob
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by:negotiation
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Rindi - success with viewing their screen. Problem is can't figure out how to get permission to have mouse control.
Please advise.
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by:lukeca
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Well if you don't mind a small monthly fee check out GoToAssist, in my opinion it is a very thin client, and I even see good response time when the person on the other end is using a modem connection.

www.gotoassist.com

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by:negotiation
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"Remote Assistance": Tried 2 PC, both reduced to crawling on their knees, trails of blood left behind.

Will have to try one of the other solutions - lukeca, from what I can tell fro their site, "GoToAssist 7.0" is the product you're referring to, right? If so, can't find any costings. So if you know, please advise.
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by:rindi
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To get control, you have a button on the top of the screen on which you click, then the other end needs to confirm, and after that you have control. If the thing is slow, you probably either have a slow internet connection (upload speed is relevant here) at least on one side, or the remote PC itself is slow or running too much software for it's hardware.
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by:negotiation
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Thx Rindi, found the button to take control.
1. Both broadband speeds are fast and unemcumbered. Even switched b'band accounts on client's side to test if this was the bottleneck.
2. Both pc's had few other apps running.
3. Remote pc has just had 1gig RAM installed, but it slows down as soon as Sharing starts.
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by:rindi
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What exactly is the speed on both sides? Also check the "settings" button, set it to "Standard Quality". I doubt you'll get any other remote assistence system that is much faster than what's builtin, and if it is faster, it probably won't be too noticeable. I'm not a m$ fan, but this is one thing which normally works surprisingly well!
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by:Rob Williams
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Must say for some reason remote desktop is substantially faster than remote assistance, but that won't allow trainer and trainee, to view the screen. I have seen significant improvement if you remove any backgrounds/wallpapers. Also if you can reduce the # of colors it helps performance.
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by:papimichel
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still, i suggest you to check logmein. its remote control feature is the fastet I've seen over internet connections.
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by:lukeca
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I believe gotoassist is a bit pricey, something like $300/mo.  You would have to talk them to find out for sure, all I know is we use it our office and it has paid for itself many times over in the time and fuel savings of not having to go onsite.
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by:negotiation
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Thx guys.
Remote Assistance: Rindi: Was already on Standard quality option. HOWEVER, just tried it again, and for some strange (but wonderful) reason it's going pretty fast!
Remote Desktop: How to access? Is this a M$ product? Had thought that Remote "Desktop=Assist"
Real VNC: turned off background and all other options and it's going appreciably faster now, so thx RobWill. If nothing else trumps this, it'll have to be tried out against Remote Assistance on Monday in a showdown!
Gotoassist: Will check out by Monday and let you know.
Webex: A little pricey
Logmein.com: See that they have a chargable service and a free one. Will try the free one on Monday.

What do you suggest to check the real upload & download speeds from both sides?
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by:rindi
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Remote desktop is in fact terminal server for XP. Of course it is faster because it doesn't have to duplicate the session on both sides, as rob mentioned the session goes dark on the assisted side! It is perfect for troubleshooting, though. You enable it via right click on "My Computer", "Properties", and the "Remote" tab. I'm not sure if you also get this on XP Home, though!

Most ISP's have speed testing links on their websites, I'd use these to test your throughput.
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by:giltjr
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You state that you have broadband and that the speeds are fast and unemcumbered.  Exactly what are the speeds?  Most broadband connectsion are asymetrical speeds.  So you are limited to the upstream speed of the side you are remote controlling.  If it is limted to 768Kbps you could be hitting a bottleneck there.

Now XP's Remote Desktop is supposed only need about 160-190Kbps.  I have used it on a 256Kbps link and it was slow.  I have used it on a 768Kbps link and it was much faster.

You may want to try some bandwidth testing between the two computers, try copying a file from the computer you are remote controlling to your local computer and see how long it takes.  This should provide you with what your bandwidth is limiting you to.
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by:Serafin Rusu
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Well i know exactly what you want. :)

Real VNC Enterprise with VNC Mirror Driver 1.2 (from www.realvnc.com both of them).

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by:pjedmond
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I guess that you need to find where the 'bottleneck' is that is slowing things down. Provided the PCs at both ends are of a reasonable spped, then the most sensible version of VNC to use is Tight VNC

The reason for this is that the encoding of 'pictures of the screen' is compressed prior to transmission. However in your case, the processing required to do this is obviously slowing down the PC too much. Real VNC doesn't slow this down as much due to the fact that it is not doing the compression.

Realistically, the Remote assistance is likely to be the best option as it is better integraetd into the OS and doesn't have to carry out as much processing to extract the screen information. The following bit is probably the most useful for you:

*****************************************
Sending whole screens and refreshing uses up a lot of processing and a lot of bandwidth. A 'useful trick is to improve performance is (at the server side) configure the VNC server properties to remove wallpaper/remove desktop and remove background effect. Unfortunately, users don't like having to do work:(  Therefore options at your end include configuring only to ask for say 64 or even 8 colours. Doing this makes a massive difference to the responsiveness of the server and the refresh rate.
*****************************************

If security is an issue, then you probably wan to look at the VNC Enterprise or other commercial solutions as they come with a high standard of encryption as well. (There are other ways of doing this 'free' using zebedee http://www.winton.org.uk/zebedee/ combined with cygwin, and sending the connection through that...but that is way too much hassle for most people!)

HTH:)

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by:negotiation
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Yes, bottleneck discovered to be the bandwidth at the other end! 142 kbps down & 153 kbps up. (their ISP advertises 1 meg :-)

Ultimate VNC wouldn't work.
So a number of folk on here are saying that M$ Remote Assistance will be the least resource hungry. Now that the bottleneck appears to be the bandwidth, am wondering if the winning app will be the one that either uses great compression or somehow uploads the least data to me.

Colour: Other side's pc only allows colours to be 32k or 64k.

Experiment: Did a skype 1:1 chat with Real VNC and then M$ RA. Both went fast enough. Was excited! Then had a skype voice conference with 3 staff, and the speedometer dropped off again on the screen. So am left a little depressed. So appears to this rookie that the skype voice conf guzzles up their upload bandwidth. Am considering putting a speaking in their office and having them hand a microphone about.

So with this info - which is best option? Same as what I'm using? Loathe to layout money if my bottleneck is going to choke out the superior solutions named above.
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by:giltjr
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Voice gobbles up bandwidth period, not just skype.  It is amazing how much data it takes for digitally encoded sound, especailly if you are doing full duplex conversations and you are attempting to do a conference call.

"Broadband" companies advertise the "best rate" possible, not real world rates.  They get by because they say "best effort."  This is why if you need 1Mb of bandwidth, you should get a leased circut.  It may be more expensive, but you get what you pay for, not for "best effort" which could be 1/10th of what you think you are paying for.

Both of those are under the 20K that most romote screen viewer need.  Using M$ remote desktop you may want to configure the experience for 28.8Kbps dial-up mode and try 15bit color and then try 256 colors.  The 256 colors is not pretty, but if all you are doing is tech support, it may be enough.  Heck I use 256 colors on 768Kbps dedicated links (don't want to eat up the end users bandwidth).

VNC does have different compression options, but I have really never played around with the.
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by:negotiation
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Thx - am trying to use Remote Desktop for the 1st time. Trying to follow instructions on this pg:
microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/mobility/getstarted/remoteintro.mspx
Problem is I think this page assumes we're on the same network. We're not. If I type in their computer's name as it suggests, my computers going to go looking locally.

Real VNC allows deactivating certain background stuff - which helped a bit. No colour options - doesn't look too pretty  as is, whilst RA looks nigh on perfect (but gives no options to crank down the colour/display handle).
Wondering if I were to buy Real VNC Enterprise (which is affordable at £56 odd for 2 licenses), whether the additional options would help in this instance, and if not, if they would give a refund (their website is silent on this).
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by:giltjr
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Actually not on the same network.  You do need to be able to reslove the comptuer name to its IP address.  If you can't, then you can use its IP address.
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by:negotiation
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So to resolve to its IP address do I follow the same steps but put the IP address into the computer name field?
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by:giltjr
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If the remote computer's name can't be resloved to and address using normal DNS resolution from your home computer you can either put its IP address (public Internet address) in the computer name field, or you could add an entry in your hosts file and use the computer name.
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by:negotiation
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Remote Desktop doesn't allow us to share screens like the other apps talked about here. RD opens a new session on their computer that they don't see. Am looking to share screens to give training.
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by:Rob Williams
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Yes it was suggested earlier that RD wouldn't be suitable for your needs. One of the problems with VNC is it requires some user configuration. Have you tried the options such as WebEX. It is specifically designed for what you are trying to achieve, extremely fast and makes it very easy for the end user to join the session. LogMeIn also offers a very stripped stripped down version for free, as suggested by papimichel.
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by:giltjr
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Opps, I missed the share screen part there, thought it was just remote desktop access.  RobWill is correct, WebEX is what you want.  There may be some other that do the same thing as WebEX, but they are the leaders.
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by:negotiation
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Thx, just spoken with WebEX - their charges are unfortunately prohibitively high for this startup company in our early stages :-( Even their stripped down prog was too pricey.
Next to try LogMeIn, reporting back soon...
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by:Rob Williams
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With various clients, I use remote desktop, remote assistance, LogMeIn, GotoMyPC, RealVNC, TightVNC, and PC AnyWhere, but one of my clients that does support for accounting software had me connect to one of their WebEX sessions a couple of moths ago, and I was sold. It is not cheap, but they say it is  worth every penny. They bill their clients as part of the support cost. Not the only game in town but is certainly end user friendly.
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by:giltjr
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I did not think that the free version of  LogMeIn allow mutliple remote users to share the same screen.  The problem you may find is that most of these products are setup to allow a single person to remotly access a PC, not to allow multiple remote sites to access the same computer for screen sharing.  What it sounds like you really want is Web Conferencing tools.  Besides WebEX there used to be two other products: PlaceWares and Rain Dance, in this space.  They may or may not still be around and there could be more.  IIRC Rain Dance was less expensive than WebEX if you were doing a few Ad Hoc type conferences, it was a "pay per sessions" type service where as WebEX was a subscription service.
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by:negotiation
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The Dogs Bollocks! That's what logmein.com is!!! A winner by a long stretch. Don't need multiple remote users, just 1:1.
Refresh is smooth & fast on the low res setting. Even has B&W setting for dial up connections!
So thx to papimichel for mentioning it first.
Thx to everyone else for your superb super fast quality responses. Will definitely renew my subs here and return time and again - have already started recommending this site. You guys are the best!
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by:papimichel
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i'am glad it helped.
:)

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