Remote Desktop Protocol v8 (RDP 8) – Why You Need It!

May 22, 2016 - Remote Desktop Protocol

Three Letters: UDP, UDP, UDP

I have spoken at multiple conferences (most recently BriForum Denver 2015 and Techmentor Las Vegas 2016) on the subject of RDP 8 and the numerous ways it improves the Remote Desktop user experience, even over less than reliable networks. Amazingly, I have discovered that very few server administrators who have a RDS farm know about these improvements, as they still run RDS on Windows Server 2008 (which only supports up to Version 7 of the Remote Desktop Protocol).

The lynchpin of the RDP 8 improvements involve the dual use of UDP as a transport protocol alongside TCP. Prior to RDP 8, all client/server Remote Desktop Services connection data was transported over TCP only. While TCP guarantees delivery, it suffers hugely in the face of less-reliable networks with high latency and/or higher packet loss rates (e.g. greater than 1% loss on average). I could go deep in the technical weeds on this subject, but I am not going to – if you’d like to learn more about the inherent problems with rapid delivery of data via TCP over less-reliable networks, search on terms like “queueing delay” and “TCP congestion avoidance algorithms – e.g. Reno, Vegas, New Reno, etc.”

UDP overcomes virtually all of those issues, as reliable delivery of UDP packets are not guaranteed – it is up to the application to handle missing packets via re-transmission and on the fly error correction (specifically, Forward Error Correction techniques).

RDP 8 Vastly Improves Data Throughput, Even Over Less Reliable Networks, Greatly Enhancing User Experience

If you’d like to read more from Microsoft’s own RDS engineering team on the specific improvements in data throughput over different types of networks, please review their blog article here.

From a practical standpoint, here’s what you as a RDS admin need to do to take advantage of RDP 8 and later versions to boost Remote Desktop Connection user experience:


Note – There is a Price Associated With Better Data Throughput Using UDP Transport With RDP 8

As us computer science and engineering types know implicitly – there is seldom such as thing as a free lunch. Because UDP boosts effective throughput, it will also increase the amount of bandwidth RDP traffic consumes over time. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on over low-bandwidth or saturated network links.

Andy Milford is the CEO and Founder of RDPSoft, and is a Microsoft MVP in the Enterprise Mobility / Remote Desktop Services area. Prior to starting RDPSoft, Andy was the CEO and Founder of Dorian Software, a log management company acquired by Ipswitch in late 2009. He loves creating easy-to-use yet powerful software solutions for SMBs and emerging enterprise companies.

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