Windows 10 Bandwidth Estimates for XenDesktop

How much bandwidth do I need between my endpoint and a Windows 10 virtual desktop?

Note: Windows 2016 Bandwidth for XenApp on this blog

It depends on the apps, on the usage, on the user and on the XenDesktop version.

But “It Depends” isn’t a very good answer. Most of us who ask this question want a rough estimate, which is why I broke the bandwidth estimate down into 3 categories

  1. VDA Version: Certain releases of XenDesktop make improvements to the network utilization.  Bandwidth tests must account for these changes by looking at different VDA versions.
  2. Policy: XenDesktop policies can have a drastic impact on overall bandwidth utilization.  With heavier compression (at the expense of CPU), overall bandwidth usage drops.  Each test includes a look at WAN and  User Experience policies (defined at the end).
  3. Workload: A user watching videos and browsing Internet content will consume significantly more bandwidth that someone mostly using Office applications.  The workloads are broken down across task worker, knowledge worker and power worker.

First, let’s look at the averages for a 60 minute simulation:

For the task worker, there appears to be a noticeable bandwidth reduction with the 7.17 release. By only focusing on the averages, we miss out on capturing spikes in network usage.  To get a better idea on the network bursts, let’s look at the 95th percentile

Again, we see a drop in the task worker with the User Experience Policy in the 7.17 release.  We also see a constant drop in network usage for the Power worker with the User Experience policy.

Let’s now break this down by app:

Why is PowerPoint so high?  When presenting, each slide change causes a spike in usage. Creating slides, on the other hand, has minimal bandwidth usage, similar to the usage estimates for Word.

Finally, let’s look at one more graph, looking at different bandwidth usages for video (based on quality).

Will these numbers be what you will get from a real-world environment? Not likely because your applications and your users are unique.  However, these data points will let us see how different VDA versions, policies and workloads can impact the overall bandwidth usage.

Note: The naming convention is follows: “Workload – XenDesktop Policy”

The XenDesktop policies are

Policy WAN UX
Audio Quality Low High
Desktop wallpaper Disabled Allowed
Dynamic windows preview Prohibited Enabled
Extra color compression Disabled Disabled
Limit video quality Max 480p/720kbps Not configured
Menu animation Prohibited Allowed
Preferred color depth for simple graphics 16 bits per pixel 24 bits per pixel
Target frame rate 16 fps 30 fps
Target minimum frame rate 8 fps 10 fps
Use video codec for compression Do not use video codec For the entire screen
View window contents while dragging Allowed Allowed
Visual quality Low High


Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp/XenDesktop On-Prem Poster
XenApp/XenDesktop Cloud Service Poster
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 VDI Handbook

5 thoughts on “Windows 10 Bandwidth Estimates for XenDesktop”

  1. It’ll also make a difference, depending on which protocol is used. For example, EDT running primarily over UDP will likely consume more bandwidth.


    1. On a WAN yes, on a LAN, no due to lack of retransmissions needed on a LAN (low latency, low packet loss). There are too many variables to test them all. Figured a baseline would be nice.


  2. This post does not really get into the quality of the user experience with each use case, but almost looks like optimizing task workers for WAN is close to not being necessary. Obviously, there is still a bit of “it depends”.


    1. Correct. Will never to get the point where we can say 100kbps per user. Too much variability. But, if we can say I have 100 knowledge workers, I, on average, need about 100kbps, but they need to be able to burst to 600kbps from time-to-time.

      And yes, quality of the experience is still a question. But how to you determine the quality requirements for a user? With things like EDT we can overcome many network issues while still giving a good experience. Or we can use more CPU on the server to compress the data stream more than if we were on the LAN.


  3. Why some diagrams’ columns doesn’t have any values (first three) ? Might be possible to share those counts?


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