For Geeks @nd the not so Geeky

Slow Network Connection Response Affecting Performance

Battle Slow Network Traffic with BranchCache

To access a slow network is a pain in the a***  so here is a brief explanation on the advantages of using BranchCache and Direct Access so you don’t have to sit there anymore asking yourself how to resolve your connection slow problems.

  • Only available in windows 7 Ultimate, Enterprise and Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Only data hosted on Windows Server 2008 R2 can be cached on the server or amongst the clients locally
  • Slow Network  Performance or Response – When the round trip latency between client and server exceeds 80 milliseconds the client checks whether the data is already cached locally and if not it retrieves the data from the server to cache it locally (5% of total disk space available by default) on site depending on the branch cache mode in use
  • Although disk space used and the 80 milliseconds slow network performance latency is the default, this can be changed to suit your organization’s needs through group-policy

    Slow Network Connection

Hosted Cache Mode Coming to the Aid in a Slow Windows Network

  • Hosted Cache mode requires a server at the branch office which could also be used for DFS and other tasks as well as an AD Certificate Services infrastructure
  • The advantage of this mode is that the cached data is always available and that multiple subnets are supported
  • The clients need to be configured with SSL certificates added to the local computer certificate store that trust the BrancheCache server

Distributed Cache Mode to Stop the Very Slow Network

  • This mode is preferable for smaller offices that cannot afford to have a dedicated Windows Server 2008 R2 at each branch office and want to prevent a network slow down
  • Data is cached amongst the different branch clients belonging to the same subnet. When a client accesses a file from its peer it also makes a copy of the file
  • Clients have to be online of course in order for the data to be accessible locally otherwise data gets downloaded across the WAN link

BranchCache Client Configuration

  • Can be configured by using group-policy or the Netsh commad
  • Firewall rules depend on the BranchCache mode in use and need only be configured when using group policy
  • HTTP Port 80 needs to be open in both directions to allow for content retrieval
  • WSD needs UDP port 3702 to be open for inbound and outbound traffic to allow for Peer-Discovery
  • HTTPS outbound traffic on TCP port 443 for the hosted cache client needs to be in place whereas configuring BrancheCache through group-policy is most likely to be used in an environment where many clients need to be configured with the same settings.

Netsh however is suitable in smaller very slow network environments as it enables you to configure caching at the local level as well as automatically configuring the relevant firewall rules without having to use Wndows Advanced Firewall.

BrancheCache Server Configuration

To prevent a slow network connection install the BranchCache Feature through the add feature wizard and make sure the BrancheCache for Network files role is selected under File Services. Enable the BrancheCache hash publication policy to allow publication of all shared folders or only folders which have BrancheCache enabled. With these features enabled you should see some major improvements on your slow network performance or slow connection in general.

DirectAccess to Stop Worrying About why My Network is Slow

  • DirectAccess relies on IPv6 and IPsec and just like VPN it enables Windows 7 PCs (Ultimate or Enterprise only) to automatically reach the corporate workplace once they are connected to the internet
    Unlike VPN which requires user intervention, the user is immediately connected to the corporate network as soon as they are connected to the Internet.
  • DirectAccess Windows 7 can be integrated with NAP to make sure that clients are up to date
  • Connection usually takes place even before user logon
  • Unlike traditional VPN where the clients need to be configured manually or by a software administration kit, DirectAccess is configured through Group Policy. Policies are filtered according to the certificate applied
  • Policies are filtered according to the certificate applied

Group Policy setttings override the Netsh manual command-line instructions.
BITS – Background Intelligent Transfer Service

SMB – Server Message Blocks

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd637762%28WS.10%29.aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/ee914606.aspx

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