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Speed up remote access to Windows network resources

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Applications often run slowly when remote users connect to corporate resources. Typically, the basic general layout looks like this:

===> (VPN tunnel)

---> (Unencrypted traffic)

Remote PC ===> Internet ===> VPN/Firewall ---> Server

In this scenario, the server holds the resources that you need high-speed access to, the external PC has the programs to access those resources, and the remote PC uses a VPN connection to access the server (which houses the desired resources).

Here's a way for you to hopefully speed up this issue in your environment (for free if you use Windows XP Pro). You will use a "middle man PC" to access the network resources instead of having the remote system connect directly to it. Basically, you will need to have a PC that is in a remote location and a PC on your internal network. Here's what you do:

  1. Make sure the PC on the internal network is Windows XP Pro and is set to accept Remote Desktop connections. Control Panel--> System--> Remote Tab--> Remote Desktop=Allow users to connect remotely to this computer.

     

  2. On the remote system, establish your VPN connection to your corporate network and verify you have network access to the internal network PC mentioned in step 1. (Typically you can ping from the remote PC to the IP address of the internal PC to verify general connectivity exists between the two.)

     

  3. Again, on the remote system, configure Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection utility to connect to the IP address of the PC that is located on internal network. (You can use the name of the system, instead of the IP address if name resolution is not a problem over your VPN).

    NOTE: Usually the shortcut is found here: Start--> Programs--> Accessories--> Communications--> Remote Desktop Connection.

    NOTE: This utility is included with Windows XP Pro and can be downloaded and installed on: Windows 95, 98/98 SE, Me, NT4 or 2000.

     

  4. Still on the remote system, now click the options button. Choose the Experience tab, and configure your connection settings, as well as setting the Bitmap Caching option. You can use the other tabs to setup further Remote Desktop options/settings if you wish, otherwise just click the connect button.

     

  5. If no one is logged onto the internal PC, you should get a log on prompt. Enter the account information you use to log onto that PC (either domain user account or local PC account).

     

  6. You should now have a remote session established. Install all your applications on this "middle man" internal PC, instead of on the remote PC. Now you can use this remote session ability to access your internal PC, which then can access your network resources at the speed of your high-speed internal LAN.

New basic general layout:

===> (VPN tunnel)

---> (Unencrypted traffic)

Remote PC ===> Internet ===> VPN/Firewall ---> Internal PC ---> Server

In this scenario, the server holds resources you need high-speed access to, the internal PC has the programs installed to access those resources and the remote PC uses a Remote Desktop session to connect to the internal PC (which then accesses the server resources).

This was first published in July 2005

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