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Planning Network Connectivity and Bandwidth

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Terminal Server uses RDP to communicate between client and server. RDP works only across a TCP/IP connection, such as a local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), dial-up, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), digital subscriber line (DSL), or virtual private network (VPN) connection. You can still use other protocols, such as Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX) or NetBIOS Extended User Interface (NetBEUI), as the transport protocol for non–Terminal Server traffic, such as network file or printer sharing, or between the client portion of a client-server application and its server.


  • The Remote Desktop client requires TCP/IP to connect to the server, but after Terminal Server users connect to a terminal server, they can use IPX to gain access to Novell servers if necessary.

Bandwidth Considerations

Terminal Server works very well over low-bandwidth connections and uses whatever IP connection you provide. However, you can optimize both application and overall network performance by making sure the type of connection is appropriate to the work that is done. For example, a single user can connect over a low-bandwidth modem line and realize good performance, but it is not appropriate to share a 28.8-kilobit line among an active office of 100 people. Also, consider whether the security that an IP connection provides is appropriate to the data that you plan to transmit. For more information about bandwidth requirements, see the Terminal Services link and the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Features and Performance link on the Web Resources page at


  • Printing, sound, drive redirection, and user file transfer requirements can increase the bandwidth requirement and might cause performance to drop below a level that is considered acceptable performance for users.

Access to Terminal Server over a VPN

Users can gain access to Terminal Server over a VPN by using Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). By using encryption, either one of these tunneling options provides secure access to a private network for users operating over a public medium.

Access to Terminal Server Over a Wide Area Network

Terminal Services can provide remote users with access to applications that would otherwise be unusable because of poor performance across dial-up or slow WAN connections.

Give additional consideration to applications with offline capabilities and synchronization if users will be accessing Terminal Server over a WAN. No offline synchronization of the local application is performed over the terminal server connection.

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