Could you use Citrix or Terminal Services?
We are actually accomlishling the same basic thing using separate stand alone PCs with Logmein loaded up. I have one for every heavy user but I can't really setup 30 separate computers. Its works fine because the PC sit right next to the server with the data files but this is really not the way I hope to use it. Any other ideas?
You might try splitting your file into two parts. File one resides on the client machine and contains copies of all layouts, scripts, etc. File two resides on your remote server and stores all the data. This keeps the server from having to send all the layout related data to your client machine and may improve performance.
To create the client copy:
Make a copy of your file.
Use Manage | Database | Relationships and Manage | External Datasources to point each table to a table in your original file as it is hosted on your server (use an Ip address or dsn name).
Delete the tables.
Now put this file on a remote client and see if it improves performance.
I support three locations with 5 servers, and hundreds of databases. Access is okay across the single T1 link to one site, but the 3Mb connection is much better. What kind of network equipment is handling your VPN? If it's just 'consumer' grade network gear, like Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, that might be your problem.
You need a bit of a bigger link. A T1 isn't much, esp if you have an office connected to the location hosting the FMS. A T1 by itself is barely enough to really support even 10 office workers. If you got a whole bunch of people doing some quick FM client connections from offsite, you need it to be bigger than that. The remote locations should also have an appropriate connection.
We used to have a 6Mb fiber optic symmetric line for about 10 remote users + 20 in office users. We've just bumped it up to 20Mb for about 50 remote users + 150 incoming concurrent web connections + 25 in office employees.
If you're interested, I can give you a little feedback about what kind of speed is needed for that amount of remote users once they all come up. They should be up in a few week and I'll have some good MRTG to give me an understanding of what kind of BW is required.