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Windows Server 2012 RDS dropping connections using Cisco 2901 ISR

Router: CISCO 2901/K9/SEC with 2 EHWIC 4 port Gigabit Ethernet L2 switch cards installed.

Configuration:  9 vlans with Policy Based Routing for 7 inside networks and 2 outside networks.

Problem:  Windows Server 2012 RDS (Remote Desktop Services) stops working after 3 seconds and eventually drops session connections within a minute or two.  I can "keep alive" an RDS session if I don't stop using the RDS session for more than 3 seconds.  The visual indicator of the problem is obvious if watching a changing display like a task manager performance chart or the system clock's seconds counter. 

Tested the following:  1) This is not a problem if the RDP client is on the same inside network (same vlan) as the server (i.e. not using the Cisco 2901 router).  The problem is when the RDP client and RDS server are on different vlan networks; inside-inside or outside-inside(via static nat).

2) Tried various Windows RDS optimization settings without effect.

3) The problem is not experienced with RDP client software accessing RDS servers running Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7.  This leads me to believe that this is a Windows Server 2012 RDS "feature" breaking compatibility with the Cisco 2901 ISR.

4) PBR (Policy Based Routing) is configured as promiscuous (allowing all protocols) between the inside BVIs.

5) ZBF (Zone Based Firewall) policies neither improved nor broke the issue, so I have removed ZBF configuration to resolve this issue.

6) Yes, I tried rebooting the server and the router, no change in the issue.


A)  Has anyone out there successfully implemented routing Windows Server 2012 RDS with a Cisco 2900 series ISR?  If so, can you provide me with some configurations that are known to work?

B)  If anyone has some clues or insight regarding how to get this Windows Server 2012 RDS to work through my router, I am most interested - since right now, it isn't working for us and it would be really nice get running.  Other people may need this information also.

show ver:

Cisco IOS Software, C2900 Software (C2900-UNIVERSALK9-M), Version 15.1(4)M4, RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc1)

Cisco CISCO2901/K9 (revision 1.0) with 1007584K/40960K bytes of memory.

10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces


The problem was in the external network switching infrastructure, not specific to the Cisco 2901 ISR.  The WS2012 RDS simply made the problem very visible and repeatable.  Other indicators, like random dropped pings, were not so obvious.