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I have a confusion regarding what I am doing here.

At present I have a Windows Server 2003 server with SP2. I have assigned RAS/VPN server role to it (through Manage my server wizard) and in my router, I setup the IP address of my RAS/VPN server as PPTP server. Staff leave their workstations ON all the time and access them from home through RDP. They first connect thorugh VPN & in the RDC they simply type their respective IP or computer name to access the office network from home.

Everything works fine so far except:

  1. Staff have to leave compuers always ON in the office
  2. Speed is very slow depend how many staff members access the VPN network

I was told to install and configure Terminal service to improve this situation. I already added TS Role in the server but I don't know how to clients can access the TS server from home or remote location.

I really appreciate any good links or guidence from the experts in this group regarding this.

Thank you in advance for any replies!

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2 Answers 2

You may want to try LogMeIn. (www.logmein.com)

It is a web based remote access utility that is both free(!) and easy. We use it on ~300 PCs to allow remote access for IT, vendors, and various users.

VPN carries an overhead and is probably part of the cause for the slowness you are experiencing.

Give LogMeIn a try and see how you like it. You've got nothing to lose, and setup takes all of ~3 minutes per PC!

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Mike, I know about logmein.com but I just don't know if businesses can use this as an alternative to TS/VPN due to security issues. And I think you have to leave your workstations ON all the time to use Logmein. Thank you for taking time to reply.... –  Hemal Feb 5 '10 at 16:25
    
The overhead that VPN causes is small enough to not really be a factor. LogMeIn uses SSL (or possibly SSH) to encrypt its connections anyway, which would provide a roughly equivalent amount of overhead. –  EEAA Feb 5 '10 at 16:25
    
I would also recommend LogmeIn. But i would use the "non-managed" free version of it... not the "managed" online version of it. –  djangofan Apr 8 '10 at 17:58
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If your users are already experiencing slow performance while accessing their own workstations via RDP over VPN, then moving them over to a Terminal Server isn't likely to increase performance significantly. You'll just be moving the source of the data - the amount of data won't decrease with Terminal Server versus your current situation. In addition, to use Terminal server, you'll need to purchase Terminal Server CALs - one for each active connection you want to support.

A few things to check, though:

  • I'm not sure if the Windows PPTP server/client support compression. If it does, though, make sure it's enabled.
  • If your users are running RDP at high resolutions and/or full color bit depth, they may be able to see some incremental performance gains by decreasing resolution a bit and decreasing color bit depth. These settings are configurable on the RDP client.
  • What is the upload speed of your office's internet line? It's possible that you're maxing out your upload bandwidth.

Edit

Comparing Terminal services and VPN are like comparing apples and oranges. They're two different technologies meant to provide solutions to two different problems. VPN (whether it's PPTP, IPSec, SSL, etc) just provides your clients with a secure, encrypted connection from their remote location back to your office network. Terminal Services (which can also called Remote Desktop) provides a mechanism to remotely display and control another system's desktop. With Terminal Services, it's possible for multiple users to connect to a single server, each with their own screen/desktop.

So, for a complete solution, you'll need to employ both some sort of VPN along with Terminal Services. The VPN gets your clients securely connected to your network, after which they can access either their own workstation's remote desktop or your central Terminal Server (if you choose to implement that).

With only 400 kbps upload, it's no wonder that things get slow when multiple users are accessing the connection. Short of increasing your upload speed, there's really nothing that can be done to help this situation unfortunately. Sure, you can investigate turning on compression in your VPN protocol, but that will only lend an incremental gain in speed, not anything drastic.

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Thank you for the reply.. I am aware about the TS CALs, but I think if I can use the 120 days evaluation for trial run and then purchase the CALs. Regarding your concerns: 1. I frankly don't know about PPTP server/client support compression. Do you want to shed some light on that? 2. We can try that out by reducing resolutions or color bit depth. 3. Well, that's my biggest problem. We can just get 400 kbps upload speed. We just this one ISP who can provide us the Internet. That's why I am looking to setup TS.. Can someone explain diff between TS and RA/VPN sever remote access? –  Hemal Feb 5 '10 at 4:37
    
Answer edited with responses to your additional questions. –  EEAA Feb 5 '10 at 4:49
    
Just a note, in my experience Citrix ICA is a much leaner remote desktop protocol to use over poor bandwidth links compared to RDP et al - but it cannot do magic and it's also fairly expensive. I wouldn't recommend it here unless you're really desperate for the last bit of performance per Kbps. –  Oskar Duveborn Feb 5 '10 at 13:33
    
EricA, That's nice explanation by you. Really appreciate your time!! I am going to try out using TS but I don't know how clients can connect to the TS remotely... Do you mind sending me some links/documentation? Thank you in advace... –  Hemal Feb 5 '10 at 16:19
    
Oskar, I heard about Citrix but due to cost reasons, it's not for me as your mentioned. I have to find the best possible solution from the existing setup. Thank you for taking your time to reply... –  Hemal Feb 5 '10 at 16:22
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