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Is VNC Suitable for "Routine" Use?

With assistance from EE, I've gotten VNC running on an iMac displaying the screen on a W XP system over ethernet cables.  My hope is to control the Windows machine from the iMac and eliminate the monitor and keyboard for the Windows PC.

So far VNC is much too slow for my purpose which requires that I really be able to use the W PC through the iMac.  I can keep working on it but would like to know if it is worthwhile?  Is there any way I will ever be able to type, click, etc. without being frustrated by the delays or should I just forget about VNC?.  
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garcpr
Asked:
garcpr
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4 Solutions
 
Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
If the two computers are on the same network the performance should be fairly fast however a few factors can affect performance.  The main one is screen resolution and colour depth.  If you set the screen resolution to 800x600 and the colour depth to 256 colours on the Win XP machine and the VNC Client on OSX this will reduce the data being transferred.  The compresion type can also affect performace .. depending on your VNC server you'll have different options .. try a few different variations with VNC Server and VNC Client to see which works best.

If you are connecting to the Win XP machine over the Internet then the speed of Internet connection at all stages in the path between Server and Client will be a factor that affects performance.

You've a VNC Server running on the Windows XP computer ... which one .. RealVNC, TightVNC, UltraVNC??

On OSX you might want to try JollysFastVNC - http://www.jinx.de/JollysFastVNC.html as an alternative to COTVNC client
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mmconsultantOwnerCommented:
I have used the VNC solution successfully, but found www.logmein.com's remote access solution provides much better performance and is also free. The PC will then be accessible from wherever you might roam.

If your internet connection is slow, you may want to stick with the VNC (internal) solution.
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garcprAuthor Commented:
The setup is an iMac displaying the screen on a W XP system over ethernet cables through my wireless router.  So it's essentially a local ethernet.

I have Chicken of the VNC (SourceForge 2b) on the iMac and TightVNC on the
W XP machine.  The tutorial referred to in my previous question advocates using CVNC rel 2b instead of 4b.

Thanks for the tips.  I'll be following up on them.
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strungCommented:
Does your XP computer by any chance have XP Pro rather than XP Home? If so, you can control it using RDC. Let me know if you have XP Pro and I will provide details. I find RDC fast enough to comfortably work at home and control my work PC over the internet from my Mac.
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garcprAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the suggestion but no, I don't have XP Pro - I have Home.
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strungCommented:
Is your router a wireless B, G or N router? Also, are you sure it is set up as a router, not a bridge? Do both computers have local private IP addresses?
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garcprAuthor Commented:
The router and the two computers all have IP addresses.  The router is set up in the standard way to shield/hide the computers from being visible on the Internet.

The router is not labeled very clearly but i think it is a B (HW Ver. B1).  I have a G router available.  I got one opinion that the router shouldn't slow things much.  Do you think switching to the G router would help?

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Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
garcpr - to establish network speed .. try opening a Terminal window on the Mac .. and PING the  router and other PC .. let us know what the response times are
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Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
the G router would provide you with greater speed

802.11b = 11 Mbit/s
802.11g = 54 Mbit/s almost 5 times faster

ev
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strungCommented:
If both computers are connected to the router with ethernet cables, then it doesn't matter what sort of wireless you are using. Please confirm if that is the case.
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garcprAuthor Commented:
Both computers are connected to the router with ethernet cables.

Ping results.  iMac to router  .65 ms (.63 - .68 for 10)   iMac to W XP box  .41 ms (.38 - .43 for 10)

Thanks, guys.
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Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
your ping results are a little slow for a LAN environment... make sure your cabling is good

eb
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garcprAuthor Commented:
Just had a chance to work on the settings for color and resolution.  W Res. was 800 x  600.

Color on W box was High Color (60 hz).  Changed it for TightVNC to 256.

Changed iMac to 800 x600 and from millions of colors to thousands.  Won't let me change to 256 colors (dimmed out).

Considerable improvement but still too slow.  Will research how to set iMac to 256 colors.  If still too slow I'll try switching to JollysFastVNC.

I tried typing text in my word processor using the iMac keyboard and it showed up on the W screen before it did on the iMac screen.  The difference in time was considerable (30 seconds?).  Do I have something backwards?  The host /client terminology is ambiguous for me.  Maybe it's just the color setting on the iMac.

The above steps may take me a while.  Also, have to go out for a while.  So may be off line for 2 or 3 hours.

Thanks again.
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strungCommented:
Ebiers' suggestion to check your ethernet cables is a good one. Are your cables manufactured by a reputable company like Belkin (they will likely have molded ends if they do) or are they ones cobbled together by someone in the back room of a computer store with a pair of crimpling pliers? If it is the latter, there is a good chance the cables are miswired. The most common way of miswiring cables results in a lot of collisions and interference which can significantly slow down your connection.
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mmconsultantOwnerCommented:
Yes, I agree. That kind of speed from a wired network is awful. There's a high probability you have a problem somewhere in the network.
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strungCommented:
Open the Network Utility found in the Applications/utiltiies folder. Click on the Info tab and set it to you ethernet connection (en0) and see what it tells you about errors and collisions. If your network is working properly, these should be essentially zero.

Also make sure your two computers are on the same subnet and are using private IP addresses. Their IP addresses should be either 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x. Let us know if they are anything different.
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garcprAuthor Commented:
Looks like my last input got lost.  I checked out the suggested network problems and everything seems OK.  I won't repeat the details unless there is a specific concern.  Perhaps my input will show up.

I will repeat that while there is no sign that the no brand cables that I have are causing the problem, I will replace them with Belkin, etc. if so advised.

NEW Factor:  I decided to shut down all programs on the Win box except TightVNC and Microsoft Process Explorer.  The latter shows that when cotVNC is active on the iMac,  TightVNC uses 88 - 92 % of the CPU and total CPU usage is 100.0 %  all the time.  CommitCharge is 18-20 % (idle CC is 19 %)

Roughly the same is true if Process Explorer is minimized, and the only thing varying on the Win screen is the usage plot in a small Process Explorer Icon in the Taskbar (if that's of any help).

Looking at the iMac Network Utility, the Send/Receiv packets are increasing at about 400 per second.  (no errors or collisions logged).

In my ignorance, the above suggests to me that the problem is TightVNC using all the available CPU on the Win and wants more.  I'm probably not even expressing it right.

I looked at TightVNC setup/ properties and the only item I could see to change was to disable file transfers.  I don't understand most of it.

Could TightVNC be causing the problem; or is something hampering it to cause the high CPU usage??

Thanks for your interest and your patience.
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garcprAuthor Commented:
This has turned into a project so I think the point should be increased to 500.
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Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
After a little research it looks like high CPU utilization is normal with tightVNC so may not be the cause of your problem

I would advise replacing the cables

eb
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Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
You may also try replacing tightvnc with realvnc http://www.realvnc.com/ not sure if this will make any difference or not.

eb
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garcprAuthor Commented:
OK, thanks.

I'll replace the cables, and try the various encoding methods.  If it'still slow,I'll try RealVNC
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garcprAuthor Commented:
The answer to the original question is clear - all those responding think I should be able to use the Win XP machine comfortably through the iMac using VNC.  So we'll close this question with thanks for all the information and guidance provided.  

I'll see if I can work out the remaining problems based on what you've told me.  If not, I'll post an additional question.
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strungCommented:
My bet is on the cables.
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garcprAuthor Commented:
I took the steps planned.  The first two gave some slight improvement.  Switching from TightVNC to RealVNC on the W XP machine gave a dramatic improvement.  I am now reasonably comfortable controling the W XP box from the iMac.  The display of the W XP screen on the iMac screen is not quite as good as i would like but I'll work on that.

Thanks to all for the help and guidance.
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Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
Glad realVNC worked for you.

eb
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