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Remote offices solutions to speed of the WAN and slow RDP sessions

Posted on 2009-04-15
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
Hi

If money wasn't an object what would the best way be to improve the performance of the WAN with regards to the speeding up of RDP sessions. I am thinking like WAN optimizers, MPLS networks, low latency networks, compression, oracle database syncing should we.

I not sure if I am being realistic here but I want the remote offices to have the same performance as  the people in the local offices. We use RDP both locally and in our remote office in Singapore and Houston all connecting back to London. So everything is centrally managed. I have been tasked with improving performance tenfold and I need solutions perferably real world and not hyperthetical that have actually worked for you or companies you know. We don't want to change the RDP setup at all as our business is reliant on our information being freely available to all without the need for multiple logins to multiple domains. Everyone connects to the same database and all information is shared with one big fileshare hence the terminal services.

If you could give me some ideas I would really appreciate it.

Thanks
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Question by:humancap
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page1985 earned 175 total points
ID: 24148494
Well, since you guys have offices worldwide, the only option for a direct dedicated link would be satellite.  Although a satellite link has a short delay (we're talking seconds) when the connection is first established, it can reach high-speed transfer rates very quickly once it has been established.
Additionally, the only way traffic on the internet passes between non-contiguous continents is satellite; so if you start with direct satellite uplinks for your connections rather than going from site -> provider -> satellite -> provider 2 -> site 2, you can cut out that middle man and all his related processing.
Normally, for offices that are either in the same city, or have access to the same phone companies, I would suggest a fiber-based WAN solution (like a DS3 between sites), but unfortunately that's not possible across an ocean.
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by:page1985
ID: 24148518
And as an afterthought, to answer your question about LAN performance, the only WAN based connection that meets gigabit transfer rates is Optic Carrier, which also will not cross an ocean.  Not to mention it takes a budget like NASA's to get it.
Basically, you can never expect to have LAN performance on your WAN unless you're Microsoft, but you can achieve much better performance than say a DSL/Cable/T1 will provide you.
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by:page1985
ID: 24148529
Also, do you currently share the same internet connection at each of your sites between Internet access and Remote access?
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by:humancap
ID: 24148875
Okay satellite link is a good one but wouldn't performance be impacted by weather conditions on a clear day yes I would think things would be dandy on a clear day but being in the UK we have a very bad weather system.

The setup is:
Remote sites have own circuit with a firewall connecting via site to site vpn back to london which all of them come in on a dedicated line for remote use in london and is not used for anything else but the remote offices and the odd person working from home on terminal services.

I know that LAN performance can never be reached over a WAN but I need something that is going to improve the performance so much that people hardly notice it. I totally understand the latency and distance thing and the isp middle men but explaining that to someone not overly technically mided is a problem.
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by:page1985
page1985 earned 175 total points
ID: 24148910
I understand that.  We faced the same issue about a year ago with several hospitals located in the same continent.
Would it be possible, then, to split each site onto its own physical connection with the home office instead of all of them connecting at the same point?  At the very least, this would increase the amount of bandwidth dedicated to each individual site.
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by:chuckyh
chuckyh earned 175 total points
ID: 24149111
Satellite is the last thing you want if you are looking for low latency.  The world's internet traffic is not carried over satellite, there are cables going across the oceans underwater than handle it. I would look into having a single provider (sprint, ATT, Verizon, etc) for all your offices. That way your traffic would share the same backbone and have lower latency. I would also look into appliances like Riverbed that help shape your traffic.  We have offices in 9 different countries and we use Citrix to deliver applications to users. Citrix handles WAN connections much better than RDP, look into that aspect of the equation if you can.
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Author Comment

by:humancap
ID: 24149112
Splitting them up is another scenario I looked at but improving bandwidth for each site would help a bit but overall it won't improve the issue of latency. I have been looking at this device http://www.expand.com/wan-application-acceleration/rdp-acceleration.aspx which has a few case studies with similar scenarios and I might give the free trial ago but if that fails I am back to the drawing board.

An MPLS would only help in a same country same isp scenario and not across countries am I right?  
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by:page1985
ID: 24149183
MPLS is ISP-independant, but it will not boost performance beyond the existing connection unless you get an MPLS service that also includes its own trunk.
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by:humancap
ID: 24149797
Okay from what you are all sort of telling me and what a few of my IT friends have told me is this:

Remote offices to have good WAN links with best route possibe through their own networks to the main Fibre backbone connecting the world.
Citrix ICA handles things a bit better over a WAN connection plus you can configure bandwidth usage on each session unlike with RDP
WAN optimization devices like Expand Networks, Riverbed, Cisco and so on help with the optimization of files ,applications, rdp and ica protocols over the WAN and help to reduce the time it takes for data to be sent and received.

I always knew I wouldn't get the WAN to be like a LAN but if I can get it to improve performance by 50% I think my job will be done! Anyone got anything more to add to the above?
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by:chuckyh
chuckyh earned 175 total points
ID: 24150267
If you have multiple choices of ISPs at each of your locations you can have them do some network tests to your main office and see if one provider has better routes/paths/hops. If you can do that with all your offices I think you can get even better latency.
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by:chris_CTX
chris_CTX earned 150 total points
ID: 24218897
Ok as all above have stated the only way to see vast bandwidth improvements on your WAN connection is to get a faster leased line which can cost a small fortune or not be available due to geographical locations. I have tackled this issue working as a consultant many times, but through good management and bandwidth restraints you can see these gains in performance your remote desktop/published apps. You need to be realistic I would say 250Kbs per user is a must for full desktop s. so thats 5000kbs if 25 users max out there 250kbs, however if you limit the bandwidth of all aspects of that users session this can be avoided. To give you a direct solution I would need more info. I will out line a solution based on Citrix Presentation server.

Using Citrix you can limit the bandwidth of all aspects of the users session such as printing and Internet browsing. Thus stopping users from using up there 250kbs if limited or all your bandwidth e.g. 5000kbs. You can go all out and get app sense which offers full session management at the highest level you can manage anything in here its a nice app to have. Of course if money was no object you would have Citrix wanscalers (Soon to merge with netscaler iv heard) .
You could also look at server locations would it be possible to place a few servers at your remote site as this would take a lot of bandwidth of you Wan as the users would be getting there desktop locally. I have used this solution many times and then moved over a mail sever and a file server this is when we started to see the 50% performance increases you desire.  If you require any more help just let us know.

Good luck
Chris
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Author Closing Comment

by:humancap
ID: 31570469
Thanks everyone I will be using your input and knowledge to good use in the coming weeks. I understand there is no set solution so have awarded split points to everyone that has contributed to the question I asked. Thanks
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