Windows 2016 Bandwidth Estimates for XenApp

For 10 months in the cold north, we are addicted to winter weather forecasts (ok, 10 months is a little extreme. Winter does not usually last that long in Minnesota). But during winter, we always want to know how much snow we are going to get. The answer always comes down to ranges

  • Less than 1 inch
  • 1-2 inches
  • 2-4 inches
  • 3-5 inches
  • 5-8 inches
  • 6-10 inches
  • 8-15 inches
  • Head south

As the totals get larger, the ranges get larger. There is so much room for error due to many variables.

The same thing can be said for estimating network bandwidth requirements for XenApp and XenDesktop. In another blog, I focused on Windows 10 bandwidth for XenDesktop. I want to now look at the same series of tests but for Windows 2016.

I broke the bandwidth estimate down into 3 categories

  • VDA Version: Certain releases of XenApp make improvements to the network utilization. Bandwidth tests must account for these changes by looking at different VDA versions.
  • Policy: XenApp 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).
  • 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:


By looking at averages, I can make out a noticeable bandwidth reduction for the task worker on a WAN policy between 7.11 and 7.15/7.17 releases. 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 WAN Policy between 7.11 and 7.15 release.  I can also see a drop in the Task worker with the user experience policy between 7.15 and 7.17 releases.

I do find it strange that there is a spike with the Power Worker using the User Experience policy on 1808. We don’t see that spike on any other tests, which makes me believe this could be an anomaly.

Let’s now look at application-specific usage:


The bandwidth usage for PowerPoint was surprisingly high.  After looking into this, it turns out that there are really 2 numbers for PowerPoint.  Presenting and creating. When creating, the bandwidth usage is similar to Word, but when presenting, the bandwidth spikes each time a slide changes.

What about bandwidth usage for video quality?


As expected, as the video quality increase, bandwidth usage also increases. I do find it interesting that with the WAN policy in 7.14, there was a noticeable increase in bandwidth across all video resolutions.

And remember, these tests are simulations. Your results will be different because you are using real users with real workloads with real network congestion.

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


4 thoughts on “Windows 2016 Bandwidth Estimates for XenApp

Add yours

  1. Hi Daniel,

    first of all thanks a lot for the work you put into it. I got a couple of questions 😉

    How exactly are you performing the tests? What is your infrastructure composed of? And how much time did you spent on all the tests?




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