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Are there any programs or tools that make connectivity to Macs faster?

Posted on 2014-01-13
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Last Modified: 2014-02-05
We have out of office ppl who are VPNing into our in-office Macs. The connect for them is terrible, one click takes several seconds. They are connecting with mRemote, using VNC protocol.
Are there other programs that connect faster?
Are there settings in VNC protocol that make it faster? I played around with compression and encoding settings, but it seems to me like they all yield the same performance.
I think there are companies like Bomgar that sell hardware that act as proxy to the Macs, and supposedly make it faster to connect, but we have not explored there.
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Question by:cdesk458
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15 Comments
 
LVL 57

Assisted Solution

by:giltjr
giltjr earned 100 total points
ID: 39778299
Check and make sure you don't have encryption enabled on the VNC connection.

Since you are VPN'ing in you should not need it.
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Author Comment

by:cdesk458
ID: 39778327
Do you mean Encoding? I set it to Raw, looks like that is the fastest one, but still slow (though bearable)
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LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:giltjr
ID: 39778330
No.  I know other VNC products support encrypting the VNC connection.  I've never used mRemote, so I don't know if it does.
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Author Comment

by:cdesk458
ID: 39778374
Ok, I just tested RealVNC. It has an option for encyption. But the connectivity is comparable to mRemote.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Peter Loobuyck
ID: 39778453
What kind of VPN connection are you using?
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LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:giltjr
ID: 39778989
Did you disable the encryption option in VNC?  Or have it enabled.  If you had it enabled, leave it disabled.
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Author Comment

by:cdesk458
ID: 39779407
- I use OpenVPN that connects to a pfSense box in the office.
- Yes, in the RealVNC options I disabled encryption
The speed without encryption is OK, but nothing comparable to RDP into windows servers. I'm browsing for a way to connect to Macs that's just as fast to our Windows machines.
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LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:giltjr
ID: 39779520
I don't know what version of OS/X  you have but there is a RDP Client for Mac from MS.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=18140
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Author Comment

by:cdesk458
ID: 39779713
No, giltjr, we are trying to have a fast connection form a remote Windows 7 desktop to Mac. This client is for Mac to Windows
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Peter Loobuyck
ID: 39779777
You can also try the new MS Remote desktop client for macs. Works pretty good. Although, all depends on your connection speed...

https://itunes.apple.com/be/app/microsoft-remote-desktop/id715768417?l=nl&mt=12
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Author Comment

by:cdesk458
ID: 39779811
Again, I'm trying connect TO a Mac FROM a PC.
Our VPN is good, hovering between 10-15MB/s. We have 2 ways to connects and both connect very well to our Windows servers.
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LVL 29

Expert Comment

by:serialband
ID: 39802213
VNC, even unencrypted, is slow, even on a local 1GB ethernet network.  The only things you can do is to reduce the colors and reduce the screen size to speed things up.

What are you doing that needs VNC?  If you're changing system settings, managing configurations, installing software, or just updating the system, you don't need VNC.  I only used VNC to check the final software and work on certain GUI features.

If you really have to work on the GUI, I suggest you get a Mac and get the $79 Apple Remote Desktop from the App store.  It's basically Apple's version of VNC that's better optimized for OSX.  Get an inexpensive Mac Mini and a KVM attached to your PC.  It's still not as Good as the Windows Remote Desktop software, but if you have a lot of GUI work, it's much easier to deal with than other VNC offerings.
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LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:giltjr
ID: 39802911
You may want to look at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_remote_desktop_software

There are 3 charts, so you need to look at all 3 to see a product fits your needs.
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Author Comment

by:cdesk458
ID: 39823123
Thank you for the explanation, serialband. We are doing development on the Macs, and require gui access.
So what you are suggesting is to have a Mac connect to the remote Mac via the paid app, or run virtualized mac from a pc, and then connect to the remote mac? That sounds like something to try
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LVL 29

Accepted Solution

by:
serialband earned 400 total points
ID: 39823303
Ok, I had assumed you were doing sysadmin work.  Most of the products are for remote viewing of a user's desktop for helpdesk support.  They're not meant for fast user response from the remote location.  They're mainly for viewing the user's desktop so that you can offer better assistance.

Microsoft's (Citrix) Remote Desktop is geared for remote User Desktops.  NoMachine on Linux is the only other product I've used that does this, but that's still not quite as smooth nor as fast as Remote Desktop.  It was certainly faster than VNC.  It looks like they just released a server version for OSX this past September, about 4 months ago.  https://www.nomachine.com/FR12D01577  That's new.  I should take a look at that myself.  The server software is available for a trial period.  You can download the client for free from nomochine.com or you can also run the free OpenNX or FreeNX clients to connect. http://opennx.net/  http://freenx.berlios.de/clients.php

How many out-of-office people do you have?  If it's not too many, then get some Macbook Airs or MacBook Pros for the few key people so they can do their testing locally and then merge the final code back to the build system.  It basically boils down to how much you think your productivity is worth to you or your company.  If you're doing a lot of development on Macs, you should spend that money and get them laptops.

If you're a really small company that doesn't want to spend too much you could also get used Macbook off craigslist.  If you need full support and AppleCare, get discounted refurbished Macbook from the apple store.

P.S. I've never used Bomgar, but I suspect it's similar to TeamViewer, Webex, and GoToMeeting.  All of them are for remote support and they do lag a bit.
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