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How to make VNC useable at site

Posted on 2008-10-21
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Last Modified: 2013-11-30
While using RemoteSupportSystems (a VNC program), we have a client who we are having a difficult time with connecting to any computer on their network.  They have Metrocast cable broadband connection and all speed tests indicate high performance, as does web browsing and file downloads.
Within their network, ping tests to their gateway and public IP both show a TTL of 127

When connecting to any computers on their network, the connection itself occurs just fine, but then we are effectively dead in the water.  It takes a few seconds to a few minutes for the screen to even appear; sometimes a black screen will be the only thing present for up to 3 minutes.  Once it does appear, there are no screen refreshes except for once every couple minutes.  Users on the other end will see us moving the mouse for a couple seconds after connection (although we do not see anything happening) and then no activity.  If we stick with it, we can attempt to close windows, move the mouse, etc, if we are content to wait several minutes between a click, and assuming the connection is showing us the mouse movement (which it sometimes wont).

This is specific to an entire network of computers at only one of our 100ish similarly configured clients.
We are in New Jersey and our client is in Maine.
All of the client computers in question utilize Windows XP SP/2 and SP/3
We have tried adjusting color depth and speed settings within VNC settings, but any changes do not affect behavior, for better or worse.

Their IT staff does not know what the cause could be.
The have the following router: Netgear ProSafe FVS318  http://kbserver.netgear.com/products/FVS318v1.asp

We know ports aren't closed or there would be no way to connect.
Tried connecting to their computers in safe mode and ruled out any software culprits.

Their router is managed by a third party who i have to communicate with this about.  They have no ideas, and I cannot log into their router (i can only pass on suggestions).

Are there any router settings i can have them look at and adjust? Or any other ideas at all?  Again, router manual can be found here: http://kbserver.netgear.com/products/FVS318v1.asp
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Question by:raw_enha
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by:SteveJ
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That sounds like it may be a VNC config issue . . . I don't have VNC installed on a system that I can get to right now, but there are some screen refresh and screen display settings that can effect what you are experiencing. Does the same thing happen when you connect through VNC using a browser?

Good luck,
SteveJ
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by:SteveJ
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Sorry . . . submitted too quick . . . I experienced something similar when I was connecting a low powered system with a low quality video card to a system that had a high end video card with 256 mb of memory.

Good luck,
SteveJ
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Author Comment

by:raw_enha
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Hey Steve,

thanks for the feedback.  This issue is happening on systems at this one client's site, straight from their oldest box to the machine we installed that mirrors several hundred other machines.  So it's a site-wide problem that is not showing any symptomatic change within the range of computer capabilities.  If that was the case, at least our machine would work okay.

As for the VNC configuration, even changing all the settings to maximize performance within the VNC (all bells&whistles off, lowest color depth, most compression, etc), it doesn't even put a ding in the stop/go behavior.  Same can be said when you even take windows settings and extraneous software out of the equation by trying in safemode.

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by:raw_enha
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I just got some feedback from the VNC supplier, and they said "if the router has protocol filtering of any kind then disable it for sure"

Anyone know what this is and whether it seems like a good idea and might be related?
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by:SteveJ
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By the way, how do you connect? Does each client PC have to have a static nat mapping to allow you to connect over the internet? Just guessing, but I'd suspect the netgear router has some sort of problem that if you were on their local subnet with a sniffer you'd be able to spot right away what the problem is.

Here's what someone on another forum tried. If nothing else you could check to see if at least this has been done.

""In the Netgear router configuration page under "Security:Add service" I added two custom services, 1 for VNC (TCP/UDP) on port 5900, and one for VNC java (TCP/UDP) on port 5800. (Is this correct so far?)

2. Under "Advanced:Ports", I added two ports "VNC" and "VNC Java". Both are set-up for "Allow always", WAN users= Any, and the local IP of the machine I'm trying to access is entered in the "Local server address" field.""

Good luck,
SteveJ
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Author Comment

by:raw_enha
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Hmm, what you are talking about sounds like port forwarding.  This app goes over the internet in such a way that we can connect to any PC without ever using port forwarding.  If port forwarding was the problem...we wouldn't be able to connect to the computer at all, but we can connect just fine.  It's just that the performance literally goes on hold for seconds to minutes at a time

maybe i'm misunderstanding?
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SteveJ earned 500 total points
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I guess I don't understand the app . . .  that is, I use VNC to connect to my home pc ( I use the browser / java version by the way) but I have to connect to the WAN / Public IP address and port forward to my local PC. I have not tried to set up the same for other PCs on my home network. But I suspect (I have a Cisco 2621) I would just static NAT each entry.

How are you connecting to different machines?
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Author Comment

by:raw_enha
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this one uses the internet to i think "create a tunnel" or something to that affect, so you never need to do port forwarding on the side of the clients.  so often, i can connect by having my clients go to my website, they initiate a session and select which technician they want to connect to.  here's the app's website

http://www.remotesupportsystem.com/
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by:SteveJ
SteveJ earned 500 total points
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Well, raw_enha, I cannot imagine what's happening. My experience with this sort of condition is pretty limited. The fact that you get connected may indicate that there are huge numbers of errors being generated on the client side, or that if they are connecting over a secure connection, huge numbers of reconnections, or if they have some sort of inbound policy that kills the connection it may be re-starting the connection from the client side. The only way to solve this that I can think of is to get some sort of trace at the client side . . . bite the bullet and stick with the sluggish connection long enough to get wireshark installed and capturing. Or persuade someone on the client end to do this for you and send you the trace.

Good luck,
SteveJ
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Author Comment

by:raw_enha
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turns out the router was broken. it ended up failing. thank you for everyone's help in this matter
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Author Closing Comment

by:raw_enha
Comment Utility
the information provided was excellent, the circumstance just turned out be a defective device rather than a misconfiguration
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