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Bandwidth usage RDP ten times as much as Citrix ICA client, how???

Last Modified: 2013-11-21

We have a big problem right now. We have employees using Flybooks with an UMTS connection. Over this UMTS connection they are using a VPN connection and a Citrix ICA client. Due to some problems with the ICA clients in combination with the UMTS, we've switched some of the employees from the ICA client to the RDP 6.0 client.

Yesterday we received the monthly bill for the UMTS connections and it scared the **** out of us. The RDP employees use up to 10 times more bandwidth than the ICA employees. The RDP sessions are set up with minimal parameters (256 colors, no themes, etc. etc.). How is it possible that the bandwidth is ten times as much?

Any ideas?
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Hello Aico
Difference between different ways and solutions is always exist. Thats the major part of answer to Your problem.
There is few components You may change at RDP 6.0 client\server env no low traffic:
1. As already done - low colors
2. Demote desktop size.
3. Disable remote computer sounds - even if it not use sounds at all - traffic is used.
4. Local devices\Resources - printers to map, disks or Clipboard.
5. At experience tab - there is also ways to improve traffic issue - configure at lowest speed.
But anyway, in compare with Citrix no matter what, RDP will take more traffic, IMHO.


I agree, but not ten times as much. I've already taken the steps you mentioned. All resources disabled. Sound disabled. 256 colors. Desktop size is small (flybooks). I can't accept that it's just the way it is. RDP should be using the same amount of bandwidth as a Citrix client. Why is it using about 500kb instead of 50kb???

hi Aico
Why not?
You may also check previous version of RDP from MS, but as i know, it newer was top of the line.

Actually, you are very accurate. Your typical RDP session can take anywhere from 50 tp 60 kbps. an ICA session takes up anywhere from 5 - 20 as a safe estimate. check out this link, gets a bit more indepth.

Technical Architect
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nprignano, Thank you. I will look into the Cleartype setting and also test with RDP 5.0 to see if that solves anything. I will get back to you.



So, unfortunately the Cleartype settings wasn't it either. We've switched back to the ICA client connecting over the internet without use of a VPN tunnel. We've secured the login further with RSA tokens, so no need anymore for the RDP client.

Case closed without any solution unfortunately.
nprignanoTechnical Architect

well, my first suggestion was to use ICA rather than RDP, so you ended up going with my solution after all.
nprignanoTechnical Architect

correction, my preferred solution was to not use RDP at all:

"However, (If you can get away with it) my preferred suggestion would be to move all of your remote users to the ICA client and eliminate the RDP bandwidth issue entirely.  I say this mainly because ICA uses bandwidth throttling by default, but also because ICA allows you to set bandwidth restrictions in the event that your ICA traffic is out of control.  Of course, this solution may not be feasible for your network so at the very least go with my first suggestion."
nprignanoTechnical Architect

Just out of curiousity, did you test with the RDP 5 client before ditching RDP altogether?  you said the Cleartype setting wasn't it, but I am not sure if you mean that you disabled the Cleartype display in the RDP 6 client, or if you rolled back your clients to the RDP 5.0 client.  


Hi Nprignano. You're right. Points will go your way.
nprignanoTechnical Architect

Much appreciated.

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