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Architecture: A deployment of 6 new HP thin clients (Windows XP Embedded) with TCP/IP access to several new HP servers (Windows 2003 Server). Each thin client is connected over fiber optic to a Gigabit Cisco switch, which the servers are connected to. There are 10/100 Ethernet to fiber converter boxes on each end of the fiber cables.

Problem: Noticeable lag over RDP while using the Unigraphics CAD package. 3D models take .5 to 1 second to respond to mouse actions.

Other Details: Network throughput on each thin client's RDP session is 7288 kbps. RDP connection settings - color setting: 15k, all themes, etc. turned off. Local and remote system performance stats are well within norms (CPU, Memory, and Network).

Question: Are there newer versions of terminal services or RDP I can use on my existing OSes? Are there compression algorithms, etc. that are well suited for a high-bandwidth LAN? Are there valid alternatives that will yield higher performance (i.e. UltraVNC with drivers installed)? Are there TCP/IP tuning options I can exploit?

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3 Answers 3

Buy some desktop machines, or look at some of the dedicated remote desktop accelerating solutions. Vanilla RDP and CAD are a poor poor marriage.

A PCI Express graphics card (x16) has 8GB/sec of bandwidth. People buy expensive fast graphics cards for CAD. You're trying to use 7Mbps. You're observing that it is slow.

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You probably want to disable any compress you can, as it would add noticable LAG and you're network should be plenty fast enough.

I'm not sure if the newer RDP 7 client can be installed on XPe, but there is an XP installer.

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Where is the option to enable/disable compression in RDP/Terminal Services? –  Jared Brown Mar 1 '10 at 20:04

First off, check your media converters and network links, and run a comparison when using them vs when connected directly at 1Gbps to the server over a short CAT6 cable. Is there a difference? If there is, you need to improve the network. For example, run cat6 directly without the media converters, or run fiber for the entire run length. Chances are though, your network is set up that way for a reason and you might not be able to change it.

Outside of that, check your raw ping times between the server and clients, it should be 1-5ms on LAN and should traverse as few devices and networks as possible.

MS RDP is a lightweight in terms of features, and remote desktops really REALLY aren't suited to intensive graphics at high resolutions. If this is a major problem for you, you should be looking into Citrix ICA with speedscreen enabled. You should see significant refresh rate improvements with that vs RDP.

Here's a comparison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RMTM7vaMnI

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