Although the availability of Internet access has undoubtedly increased, it’s often the case that the quality of these Internet connections can fluctuate dramatically. It’s actually rare today to encounter scenarios when there’s no Internet access at all (i.e. running “disconnected”), but it is quite common to run into situations where the Internet access is painfully slow or bounces in and out.

While other VDI solutions run into major problems in these scenarios, Citrix XenDesktop enables users to easily work offline or on intermittent network connections with its powerful FlexCast deployment options.  

Here are a few examples of where I’ve personally had challenges with Internet access and been saved by using my local virtual desktop with XenClient, which is included with XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum:

Airplanes

This use case has been the typical example often discussed when the concept of offline access comes up, and while the availability of wifi has definitely increased, the quality of the connections on airplanes is often the most challenging.  In fact, I was traveling last week, and it worked reasonably (but slowly) on one of my flights, but then on the other, it was so bad that I had to request a refund.  But because I was running a local virtual desktop, I was able to do two things: (1) work through my email using Outlook, which synchronized in the background and shielded me from the experience of the slowness of connection; (2) complete work I needed to do on a presentation in PowerPoint.

Events

Ironically, while events are often leveraging connectivity by encouraging participants to Tweet with event hash tags or collaborate online, the large number of people trying to use wireless connections often creates a problem in itself.  A user sitting next to a wireless access point may get a good connection, but a user in a different seat may not.  And then there are some places where they purposely don’t offer wifi because they want people to actually concentrate on the event content (this also happened to me recently).  In the more common scenario where wireless access is available but is congested, I was able to leverage by offline virtual desktop to work effectively over a poor Internet connection.  While browsing the web was still a bit slow, the overall responsiveness of my machine was excellent for all the work I was doing in Word, Excel and Outlook.

Hotels

Hotels typically tend to be better – many of them offering both Ethernet ports and wireless access to the Internet.  Although my hit rate on Internet access in hotels has been way better than in airplanes and substantially better than events, there have still been times where I’ve had problems connecting or where the connection is super slow.  Presumably this is because either the wireless access point is far from my room, too many other guests are online, or perhaps someone’s watching a Quentin Tarentino movie on Netflix.  Whatever the reason, I have found numerous occasions where the speed of Internet access was quite annoying, and again my local virtual desktop came to the rescue.

Other Locations

Some of the other locations where I’ve had this experience include:

  • Internet cafe (ironically)
  • Commuter rail that’s supposed to offer wifi access
  • Visiting an office building for a meeting and using their “guest” access

Seamlessly Moving Between the Hosted and Local Virtual Desktops

To eliminate the hassles of “checking-in” or “checking-out” a virtual desktop, Citrix enables users to dynamically synchronize their data and profile settings among their virtual desktops.  So what they do in their hosted virtual desktop is automatically synchronized with their local virtual desktop and vice versa.  Moreover, using ShareFile for data synchronization and UPM for profile synchronization creates a personalized virtual workspace that enables you to seamlessly work across desktops and devices.

About XenClient

XenClient is a production-ready client virtualization solution with thousands of desktops in deployment today.  We encourage you to try it today by downloading XenClient 4.5.

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