I have been having trouble with poor performance in my remote desktop connections using rdesktop. I believe the problem lies in my Internet connection — the problem occurs when I have low bandwidth.
I tested with Windows, and it seems to perform better. The thing that I finally noticed, is that performance is poor in both Windows and Linux. The difference seems to be the cursor. In Windows, it displays the local cursor and instead of the remote. In Linux, it tries to display the cursor where the remote machine actually thinks it is. When the remote machine is sluggish, you see the impact in the mouse in Linux because you feel it in the mouse movements.
I found something that helps:
UbuntuForums: Slow performance when connecting to Vista using rdesktop
The “-z” option is what made the difference for me. From the Linux man pages, here is what that option does:
-z Enable compression of the RDP datastream.
I am not sure this is a complete fix, and if anyone else has better suggestions, please comment. This fix seems to treat the bandwidth problem rather than the mouse movements.