Are remote desktop graphics generated locally or remotely?


Baseband Member

I have a question that might be better placed in Operating Systems and Programs, but I figured it also fits here. Please move it if this is wrong.

I'm wondering about how desktop graphics are generated in a remote session. For example, I work from home and I log into a VDI at work with VMWare Horizon Client. I also have some personal projects hosted on AWS to which I connected with Windows 10 Remote Desktop Connection. The interface is graphical (I see the remote desktop, icons, task bar, etc. just as if it were running on my local machine). What I'm wondering is how this graphical interface is generated. Is it generate on my local machine or is it generated remotely and streamed to my local machine.

The reason I'm asking this is because I'm looking for a new phone plan and I'm considering different tiers of free data. I will sometimes work from a coffee shop or a bar and when their internet connection is less than adequate, I will use my phone as a hot spot. For the most part, I have more than enough data to do my work without going over the limit. But if I have to connect to my work remotely, my question is: how much data will the graphical image of my remote desktop use up? If it's generated on my local machine, I would think very little data is used. But if it's generated remotely and streamed, it would be a lot (I imagine it would be like streaming a movie). If the former, then I probably wouldn't need more than a few G of data. If the latter, then I would need all the data I can get.

I would think it's generated locally as there is no need to stream every pixel of the graphical interface. All that would be needed are the parameters defining what to generate (ex. if I open a notepad file, it would just need to know, at the bare minimum, the position, its width and height, and the content).

But before making a decision on what kind of plan I should get, I want to be sure. So how do remote connections generate the graphics of the desktop and the activity on it? Is it generated locally or remotely?

Thank you.
Image is on the remote machine just like if you were sitting on it, but it's compressed and streamed to your desktop through RDP. It's like how game streaming works.
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