56Kbps? 100Kbps? 512Kbps or a 1Mbps link? How fast do you need it to go?

56Kbps? 100Kbps? 512Kbps or a 1Mbps link? How fast do you need it to go?

This is a question we get often from customers and partners implementing Virtual Desktops. The truth is, in a hosted VDI scenario where you are connecting to your VM over a network, bandwidth can be an extremely important factor in determining the end-user experience. However, there are many facets to be considered so there is unfortunately no single answer to this question. What’s more importan than throwing out a number is to understand the tradeoffs involved and then arrive at the bandwidth numbers and quality of experience that suit you best.

What is the bandwidth Requirement For VDI?

At the low-end, you can get away with a 56Kbps connection (RDP), while at the high-end (RGS, PCoIP) you may require a 100Mbps LAN connection. In order to provide support for the widest range of network characteristics, VDIworks’ Virtual Desktop Platform┬ásupports over┬á half-a-dozen protocols that have each been tuned to work best in different circumstances. It is important to understand the tradeoffs between, bandwidth, latency, colour depth, sound quality, screen frame rate and cost for your specific environment.

For example, PCoIP is primarily intended for LAN environments where desktops are connected on 100Mbps Ethernet. It makes best use of this level of bandwidth to deliver 60fps across quad-monitors, but requires custom hardware on the host and a special kind of client – a desktop/laptop or stock thinclient won’t do.┬áOn the other hand, RDP works with a broad range of thinclients, functions effectively over wide area networks and allows for the quality of the experience (e.g. colour depth, resolution, etc.) to be traded for minimal bandwidth needs. A responsive RDP experience will require between 56-100Kbps, while consuming much less when nothing on screen is changing. Depending on how active your users are, you can oversubscribe the link and conserve bandwidth costs. Our own VideoOverIP protocol is currently targeted towards a fully virtualizable, high-end, multi-monitor,┬ámultimedia capable experience over LAN environments. We’re continuing to tune it for WAN performance and we’re very excited about the enhancements planned on the VideoOverIP roadmap.

Hybrid Hosted VDI Model

If bandwidth is an issue, you might also consider a hybrid hosted/endpoint VDI model using VDIworks2Go. With this solution, you can “check out” a VM to a laptop or desktop and get near-local performance while consuming little or no network bandwidth. When you want, and when the network conditions allow, you can “check in” your VM and hence synchronize all changes with the datacenter. At any point, you can “check in” and choose to remotely connect to the copy of your VM hosted in the datacenter. This model allows you the flexibility of working offline,┬áconsuming less bandwidth┬áand getting an excellent user experience, while still delivering on VDI benefits such as improved management, disaster recovery, easier backups and enhanced security.

And if you’re still wondering about which direction to go in and which protocol to use, maybe it’s time to give VDIworks a call. We can help you figure it out!