Virtual Network Computing, or VNC, is a versatile protocol that allows remote desktop connections. Many of the prebundled VNC clients that come with today's major operating systems don't allow the user to manipulate the various options that allow a VNC client to perform more effectively over slow connections. Factors such as compression rate, image quality and colour depth can take a lot of strain off a client's bandwidth and increase the performance and usability of a VNC connection. Other default VNC servers, such as Apple's Remote Desktop, have been known to only allow full-quality high-bandwidth connections which deteriorate the usability of the desktop over low-bandwidth connections.
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Download and install the free third-party VNC suite TightVNC (see Resources). TightVNC uses some compression techniques to improve on the VNC protocol and increase performance. Compared to the preinstalled clients of many operating systems, TightVNC gives you a wealth of control over your connection preferences.
Run the TightVNC viewer. If you select the "Low-bandwidth connection" option under "Connection profile" a lot of the default options will be changed. You will notice a drastic increase in performance from that allowance. If you want to tweak the connection further, click the "Options" button to see what is under the hood.
Choose the "Tight" encoding option to use TightVNC's compression. Select "Use 8-bit colour" to reduce the number of colours and therefore increase speed. Below that, slide the compression bar down to its fastest point to make major changes on performance. Keep in mind that this will also affect the image quality.
Set any extra preferences in the right-hand column of the options window. While none of these will affect performance, they may change the usability of your connection. Turning off "Request shared session" for instance will disconnect any other remote desktop users when you connect.
Close the options window and connect to your VNC server as you typically would by entering the server's IP address into the dialogue box and clicking "Connect."
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