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Terminal Server Bandwidth Requirements

Posted on 2008-06-18
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Last Modified: 2013-11-21
Looking to setup 10 users connecting via Terminal Services.
What is the recommended figure for bandwidth for each session?
Is there a way to figure out the bandwidth requirements for remote printing?
Is there an online calculator of some sort?

I realize that an exact estimate is not possible, but a general rule of thumb would be helpful.
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Question by:bmsjeff
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gurutc earned 300 total points
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Hi,

This really is a broad question, but there are some things to focus on.

First, Terminal Services is pretty asynchronous, meaning that each user won't be tying up their maximum needed bandwidth at the same time as the other users.  So you don't need 10 times the bandwidth for 10 users that you'd need for one.  Sometimes 3 or 4 times the one user requirement will work for 10 users.  Hmm, kind of like how Ethernet's functional bandwidth works, yeah...

Second, TS is asymmetrical, meaning that more data goes out to the clients than comes back from them.  A symmetrical connection at your central site is needed to send out the data to remote clients.  But you can get less costly asymmetrical connections at the remote sites.

Third, you want to support remote printing.  This is the biggest bugaboo, and will drive the bandwidth requirements you choose.  If you have two remote clients printing at the same time, and they're printing graphics, you could be looking at several megabytes of data going out, or up, through your net connection to your remote clients all at the same time.  This means that you have to have bandwidth to handle the printing.  Figure out how big your print jobs are and use that number to help size your bandwidth.

Lastly, the biggest thing is latency.  You want a fast connection.  Your remote users will complain about lag more than anything else.  Consider low latency just as much as high bandwidth.

Sorry none of these tells you any numbers, but I hope this helps you evaluate with more insight.

Good Luck,
- gurutc
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by:Michael W
Michael W earned 200 total points
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In addition to that gurutc has reviewed, another thing you need to watch for is the type of printers you wish to use via the terminal server environment. For best results and ease of configuration, stay away from all-in-one/multi-functional (MFC) printers and choose network based printers.

Also remember that using the Remote Desktop Client (RDC), heavy graphical-based applications (i.e. Adobe, Pagemaker) will perform sluggish as the RDC interface really isn't made to handle real-time screen refreshes of that graphical caliber.

I recommend reviewing this white paper, by Microsoft, on Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Features and Performance:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/Win2KTS/evaluate/featfunc/rdpfperf.mspx

Another thing you might want to look at is doing NIC teaming (if your system NICs support it -- i.e. Broadcom, 3Com, Intel). This way you can load balance your network interfaces to and from the box. I just recommend getting an additional 10/100/1000 network switch just in case one of the switches fails, so you still have network connectivity for the users.
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