Realities of working remotely

This post is going to be getting technical, so if that isn’t your bag you might want to bail now, if it is then sit back and enjoy.

So I am going to be working remotely for my company while I travel. I won’t be working full time, but part time as I have time available. However this presents specific challenges. I was already planning on bringing a laptop to write on and maybe snag some freelance gigs. When I work remote I either am just doing Skype and email, which I can do from any WAN (internet) connection. However the other way I do work is by connecting via RDP into my machine at work over a VPN then I can work just like I’m at work, and remote into any other servers I need to.

The issue is that I will be separated from my machine at work by an ocean and at some points an entire continent. I was looking into whether or not RDP would work over trans-oceanic pipe. I’ve worked over high latency connections before (mostly really bad wifi), but I’m not sure it simulates the specific issues correctly. Also as I type this out I wonder how my VPN will handle the latency. I admin the VPN concentrator so I can update it if needed, but we shall see how it reacts. At the end of the day it’s going to be an issue with our ISP’s connection to the backbone. We are on 50mbps synchronous fiber, so that should not be that much of an issue, but I’m not sure on the connection back.

I’m going to check how it works when I’m in Sweden, and that should be a pretty good benchmark since we are on the west coast it should actually be faster in India and Thailand, although probably not in Nepal. Although I have been surprised by such things in the past.

As far as other gear for working I am going to mostly correspond via email and Skype. I have a webcam and mic on my laptop. I also have my Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 as a backup for Skype/Email. I am going to be pretty dependent on wifi, but on a cursory glance at hostels and apartments in the places we’ll be going through it looks like wifi is pretty common. The question that raises is whether it will be good enough wifi to remote into work. The email and skype should be fine though on any connection, but the RDP over VPN is what concerns me.

I’ve looked into this a bit and I haven’t been able to find any benchmarks on performance. I will get some as I travel and post them. It should be interesting data even if it’s anecdotal.