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How do I speed up a vpn connection when transferring files from the server to an offsite location?

Posted on 2010-09-07
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Here's the goal.  I have two marinas that I am setting up that will have Server 2003 for Small Business Server running in a remote office in NC.  The two marinas are in SC.  I will be sharing a quickbooks file with them from the server in NC.  The only way I can connect is through a VPN and it is VERY slow.  Right now, the data file is barely over 7 megs.  That's tiny for quickbooks.  It takes near 10 minutes to load it up.  The broadband upload speed at the server site is 768kbps.  It's as fast as they can get.  This is very rural.  Any ideas on what can be done?  The customer isn't able to afford terminal server.  Even if he was, I wouldn't know how to set it up.  Is there another vpn client out there besides what is built into windows that would be faster?

Thanks!

Rexx
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Question by:rexxnet
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12 Comments
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Anthony1982
ID: 33622778
VPN connection is all based on your internet speed. The client plays a very small role. The only way your going to speed it up is to try and see if they will bump up your upload/download.
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Author Comment

by:rexxnet
ID: 33622879
Yeah.  That's what I'm trying to tell him.  He's not hearing me.  LOL.  What is this terminal server thing?  Someone told me that would be much better.  
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Accepted Solution

by:
Cliff Galiher earned 250 total points
ID: 33622961
Setting up a terminal server would indeed be much better. In such a setup, the program runs on a server and the only thing sent over the VPN connection is the data that should be displayed on the screen. In Microsoft's implementation, this is very low-bandwidth friendly so it works well on slow connections.
Microsoft no longer calls this technology "terminal" services. Instead, it is called Remote Desktop Services, which better explains how it works. You are accessing a desktop remotely from another location. But that desktop and running programs exist in the core locatoin, not the remote location.
More info on RDS, how to set it up, what licensing is required, and more:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/rds-product-home.aspx
It is a fairly extensive technology and thus cannot be easiy summarized in a few paragraphs on EE. Thus the link.
-Cliff
 
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LVL 9

Assisted Solution

by:IntegrityOffice
IntegrityOffice earned 250 total points
ID: 33622967
You do not need a terminal server just a spare PC, you install quick books on a PC at head office ( that no one else will use ) and then use right click my computer choose remote and configure it for inbound remote connections ( lower half of the screen) then you use the remote desktop connector from accessories on the remote machine and type in the IP of the host machine and log in ( XP needs to have a password on the host machine or a reg hack ) and then you control quickbooks remotly.

Temrinal server is a multi user version ( probably more effiecitent too ) of the above scenario.

You could look out for WAN accelerators such as Riverbed but these will be really pricey. There are various options on the market for WAN acceleration ( they compress before sending and decompress at the other end )
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Expert Comment

by:IntegrityOffice
ID: 33622985
When using terminal services or the suggested spare PC option ( depends how many users you have needing access ) printing can be a little awkward however it is made a little easier in the Server 2008 implementation. I tend to use network printers at the remote site and then you can add them directly to the host machine by IP and thus you connect from remote to HQ you control the PC at HQ and choose print in the app and then it prints to the printer by direct IP at remote.

There are other products such as PC anyware or even tight VPN all doing remote control of an HQ PC, however RDP over VPN I find really ticks the box.
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 33623005
PC Anywhere, TightVNC, etc are great for screen sharing and administrative tasks, but weren't really designed or intended for the purpose being discussed, hence the issues with printing, etc. There is a difference between sharing a screen that is visible at the location being connected to and getting your own sandboxed session such as what RDP provides. This is why even MS has two separate "products" in their client OS's. Remote Desktop is a TS/RDS connection where "Remote Assistance" is a screen-sharing connection similar to PC-Anywhere or TightVNC. Again, understanding what each technology is geared for is key to making the right decision on which to implement.
-Cliff
 
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Author Comment

by:rexxnet
ID: 33623059
Thanks everyone for your input.  I have a good idea of what some of these things are now.  Let me throw in a kicker and see where we go.  I'm learning as we go along if you couldn't tell.  

Here's how the marinas are set up.  They MUST have quickbooks installed and running so a marina software called scribble can access the datafile through quickbooks that is housed on the server in their main office.  While RDP is great and others like  logmein free  version just to view  and manipulate your machine you log in to, the software does not  work that way.  It has to attach to the quickbooks data file.  The only way to do that is through some type of vpn connection to allow access to the shared resources on the server.  I have mapped the quickbooks folder as a network drive and pointed quickbooks and scribble to that file.  

Does that really throw a wrench in there or what???  I think I smell at least a T1 with static IP.  Don't you all?
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Author Comment

by:rexxnet
ID: 33623096
OH...and another wrench.  There are three marinas connecting simultaneously.  Good news is, the system will only send a batch file to the quickbooks data file on a schedule when the business is closed.  Good news about that is while it is taking forever to  upload the data to the server, no one will be there pull.ing out their hair.  The only realtime transaction that will write itself into quickbooks is an outbound payment.  Otherwise, the POS (scribble) software just writes data into itself and then batches it into quickbooks.  that's the only time the quickbooks file is used heavily.
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LVL 58

Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 33623101
As previously mentioned, RDP is *NOT* the same as screen sharing software such as logmein, etc. Each RDP connection on an RDS server is a unique log in, just as if it were a separate machine, thus file access is handled just as if separate machines were logged in. For quickbooks, that means setting u a quickboosk server and having clients connect to it (which you would do even if RDS were not involved) for multi-user setups. The only change here is that the client machines all exist in an RDS platform instead of separate physical hardware machines.
I have several sites using quickbooks in a remote desktop setup; multi-user simultaneous access using Quickbooks client/server setup. It works great and, considering the cost of a T1, would pay for itself rather quickly and be less prone to connectivity issues or data corruption that can occur when sending large amounts of data over a WAN (VPN or otherwise.)
-Cliff
 
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Expert Comment

by:IntegrityOffice
ID: 33623106
It is loking that way, one  scenario I have come across was where the quickbooks data is actually a copy and not the same as the head office but a lunch time backup zipped and transfered accros the VPN. ( you could use some more effiecient method of getting the data there than using a zip now  and could look into this if it were a workable solution )

You would need to think this through carefully and see if using stale data at the remote site achieves your goal.

Even if you bump the line speed you may still not get the perfomance you are after, you might findit worth getting in touch with someone live www.expand.com or riverbed. ( I do not work for these guys )
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Author Comment

by:rexxnet
ID: 33623114
Thanks IntegrityOffice and everyone.  I really appreciate all of your suggestions.  With the limited resources he has as well as the ruralness (made a word), they may have to just suck it up or find an offsite system.
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LVL 58

Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 33623117
I should have clarified a bit by the way, if I were going to roll out RDS, I'd sandbox the entire thing, scribble and all. If scribble is running on the RDS server as well then it has access to the quickbooks data at LAN speeds and thus sidesteps the entire situation.
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