The company has a desktop application powered by SQL Server from the head office that is dependent on an internet connection to our remote sites. Usually when we move to a new site there is a good internet connection 5Mb+

We have a new site that is connected by a very slow satellite internet connection in the middle of nowhere. As you can expect our application is really suffering.
Unfortunately we cannot just install a SQL Server box locally to power the application on site.

The application database has been designed (by a now non-existent 3rd party) that all separate contracts live in the same database and share common tables.

We have 3 projects running all writing to the one database, updates are about 500MB a week during active projects for all 3 projects.

Also there is a project status website powered from the head office SQL Server. Management would not be happy if this new remote site showed no progress for the duration so we need to factor in getting data back to head office to power the website, again all from the one database.

It is outside the scope of this question to start re-designing the database. (hopefully that’s a project for later in the year)

  1. Is it possible to install and operate a local SQL Server / application server for the remote site clients that can update back to the main head office SQL Server as and when it either has an internet connection and / or enough bandwidth to do so?

  2. How would one achieve this using SQL Server given the super slow Internet access?

  3. What kind of timeframes would be involved to setup and test?

As usual other than money for a desktop box to act as a local server and a SQL Server 2008 Standard licence the budget is £0

EDIT: Added the tracert to show network latency from the remote site, unfortunately we are not the main contractor at this site and have little say in the provisioning of the comms.

1     1 ms     1 ms     1 ms
  2   544 ms   552 ms   564 ms
  3   543 ms   701 ms   655 ms
  4  1461 ms   542 ms   641 ms
  5   658 ms   564 ms   555 ms  ae1-143-ycr2.mcr.cw.net []
  6   601 ms   617 ms   588 ms  so-3-3-0-dcr1.lsw.cw.net []
  7   577 ms   568 ms   564 ms  xe-7-2-0-xcr1.lsw.cw.net []
  8   580 ms   564 ms   656 ms  xe-0-1-0-xcr1.lnd.cw.net []
  9   566 ms   565 ms   570 ms  ge-3-3-0.mpr1.lhr3.uk.above.net []
 10   605 ms   594 ms   569 ms  ge-5-1-0.mpr1.lhr3.uk.above.net []
 11   574 ms   569 ms   573 ms  so-0-0-0.mpr1.ams1.nl.above.net []
 12   570 ms   573 ms   570 ms  xe-0-0-0.er1.ams1.nl.above.net []
 13   635 ms   598 ms   581 ms
 14   588 ms   582 ms   582 ms  glfd-bb-1b-ae0-0.network.virginmedia.net []
 15   599 ms   618 ms   596 ms  manc-bb-1a-ae3-0.network.virginmedia.net []
 16   592 ms   609 ms   576 ms  manc-core-2a-ae0-0.network.virginmedia.net []
 17     *        *      592 ms  manc-lam-4-tenge11.network.virginmedia.net []
 18   583 ms   596 ms   636 ms  m229-mp4.cvx2-c.man.dial.ntli.net []
 19     *        *        *     Request timed out.

2 Answers 2


I ran into a similiar problem for an accounting package. Instead of trying to work out a way to move the SQL data around it proved to be much easier (and more cost effective) to provide a way to remotely access the application.

I opted for a TS 2008 box. This includes a large number of international users with terrible bandwidth compared to the states.

EDIT - As syneticon-dj points out there are still potential issues associated with using TS on a satellite link. You would definitely need to look at the latency of your link for a TS solution to work. Some satellite links provide around 300 millisecond latency, others may be over a second.

  • Bandwidth is usually not an issue with TS connections, but latency is. The questioner has a satellite link which is likely to have round-trip-times in the magnitude of 1 second which is a killer for interactive traffic like RDP.
    – syneticon-dj
    Jan 9, 2012 at 16:23
  • Agreed. That still depends on the provider. I have some folks with 800 millisecond response times via satellite and other with under 300. I'll update my answer to reflect that.
    – Tim Brigham
    Jan 9, 2012 at 16:25
  • 1
    The only way to have sub-500ms-RTTs is to have an upstream which is running landline. Otherwise, physical latency alone would account for 500 ms due to the maximum speed of light and the signal travel distance of approximately 150.000 km, transmission slot selection and other network latency issues put aside.
    – syneticon-dj
    Jan 9, 2012 at 16:39

SQL server 2008 standard edition supports replication.

I would suggest installing a local SQL instance at the remote site. Point your local app to use the local instance. Then configure the local server as a subscriber and the head office as a publisher. Merge replication should be configured.

Enable the agent profile "Use the slow link agent profile for the Merge Agent.".

More information in BOL: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms151329(v=sql.105).aspx

  • As Peter above mentioned ... merge replication is the way to go. I have used merge replication over WAN sending and receiving updates from remote Hosting sites.
    – Jag Sandhu
    Feb 9, 2017 at 15:08

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