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Innovation in User Experience: A Closer Look at New Blast Extreme Protocol

Last year, VMware announced the Blast Extreme protocol with VMware Horizon 7. Based on customer feedback since then, we continue and further improve the user experience.

The VMware product teams now extended Blast Extreme with an adaptive transport that pushes the user experience envelope even on non-ideal networks. Blast Extreme with adaptive transport has significant advantages compared to its predecessors. It dynamically adjusts to varying bandwidth, latency and packet loss. These innovations deliver an exceptional user experience across a wide variety of network types, including corporate LAN, public Wi-Fi and mobile networks—all without changing the existing infrastructure.

In addition, Blast supports a wide variety of standard endpoints, including thin clients (over 125+), desktops, laptops and mobile devices. Blast Extreme also works over TCP port 443 and UDP port 443 and delivers a secure user experience leveraging SSL technology.

VMware Blast Extreme 1

Blast Extreme’s adaptive transport delivers exceptional performance improvements for file transfers, frame rate and bandwidth consumption. With adaptive transport, Blast Extreme users will experience up to 4-6x improvements for file transfers when connecting over high-latency networks. Frame rates, which represent the quality of user experience delivered, are also greatly improved, while consuming 50% less bandwidth compared to our previous releases.

Blast Extreme Protocol 2

loss, high-latency and low-bandwidth environments. We tested video performance with the latest Blast Extreme at 1.5 mbps bandwidth, 200ms latency and up to 20% packet loss, achieving up to 12x higher performance than competitive protocols.

Here is a video sample of Blast Extreme in the real world. I connected from a coffee shop near my house to my desktop running in Singapore data center.  The round trip time was around 195ms, and I was experiencing less than 5% packet loss.

Blast Extreme WAN Experience: California to Singapore

Blast Extreme provides three types of connection options for users:

  1. Excellent (TCP only)
  2. Typical (default, mixed UDP/TCP)
  3. Poor (UDP only)

VMware Blast Extreme Horizon Configure 3

By default, Blast Extreme uses our new adaptive transport as part of the “Typical” network condition option, which is the best choice for the vast majority of users. This uses UDP networking for protocol traffic and TCP networking for control and broker communication. The protocol efficiently handles the varying latencies and packet loss found in typical WAN environments. This setting works very well for 99% of users. If UDP networking cannot be used due to ports being blocked or other issues, Blast Extreme seamlessly falls back to TCP networking.

The “Excellent” setting is TCP only (available since 7.0) and ideal for the corporate LAN, where the network is excellent with very little latency and packet loss.

The “Poor” setting uses UDP networking for control, broker and protocol traffic. To use this setting, IT administrators must deploy VMware Unified Access Gateway. “Poor” is for customers with such high packet loss that they cannot get a connection to the Horizon connection server. An example is when users connect with over 20% packet loss in their environments.

In summary, when it comes to delivering an exceptional user experience for any user, in any environment and on any endpoint, Blast Extreme is the best protocol in the industry. The new Blast Extreme with adaptive transport is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android users using our latest 4.4 Horizon Clients. Every IT administrator deploying virtualized desktops and applications should try out these new enhancements. Download Horizon 7.1 and latest Horizon 4.4 clients today!

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