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FM8 - disconnections when accessing hosted files remotely


A.J. G
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I'm having a problem with remote users intermittently losing their connection to my FileMaker server.

I'm running FileMaker 8 Server on Mac OS X connected to a business-class cable Internet connection. All of the clients are running FileMaker 8 under various operating systems. In the databases, I've disabled idle disconnections for each privilege set.

On the local network, we have no trouble with users being disconnected. However, when users access the server remotely over the Internet, they experience seemingly random and intermittent disconnections. This occurs with clients both in the local region as well as those connecting from our London office.

I realize that an interruption in the Internet connection between the server and client can cause trouble (as with any connection-oriented network service). However, I would expect FileMaker's protocol to be relatively robust, able to withstand a slight amount of packet loss. This doesn't seem to be the case.

Has anyone else seen these types of problems? Would it help for me to upgrade from version 8.0v1 to v2?

Should I be looking at a different way for remote users to connect (i.e., some kind of Remote Desktop setup)?

Thanks for your suggestions.

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It's not FM's protocol that's doing this, it's the latency on the internet connection. Upgrading to 8.0v2 will probably make things worse. Some behavior (searching on unstored fields) has changed so that more data needs to be sent between FMP and FMS and that will make everything slower and latency more unforgiving.

Remote desktop solutions are far superior in this respect since a dropped connection will not cause a disconnect between FMP on the remote desktop and FMS (both of which are really on the same LAN)

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Thanks for your reply.

I'm not sure I understand why the latency alone would cause so much trouble. I know that latency will result in slower performance from the user's standpoint, but as long as the packets make it from the server to the client, there should be no problem, right?

I get the feeling that packet loss is the culprit, and that the FileMaker protocol is not designed to tolerate it.

Is a Terminal Services/Remote Desktop solution the only way to go? Do you know if FileMaker's native protocol will ever be robust enough for use over the Internet, or should I not even bother trying?

Thanks for your assistance.

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FMP to FMS communication is not like requesting a web page in your browser. For the web page the latency will make it slow but eventually everything will show up. Not so for FMP/FMS: if the communication does not happen withing a set timeframe the FMS regards the connection as being dropped. The packets might make it to FMS in the end but FMS is not listening anymore.

If the internet connection between the FMS and the general internet backbones is of very good quality and so is the connection from the FMP client to the general internet backbones then this will work well.

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