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Network topology isn't the issue. Perhaps network speed is. Load on the
server is. I had a hardware router that was very old. It slowed
connections, upgrading to a new router increased speed tremendously.
Network settings can also have a large effect. My recommendation call IT
and have them send a network specialist that can have hardware tools to
help evaluate network performance.
The "lightning speed" post is http://www.adobeforums.com/webx/.59b733c8/ - note that this post references Adobe Reader 7, but it may work with Reader 9 as well.
P.S. in fact, I have just tested it; drag-and-dropped everything from the plug_ins and plug_ins3d folders into Optional, and Reader 9 now opens with "lightning speed" :)
The connection averages 15 Mbs down and 3-4 Mbs upload using tests from iperf as well as testing from speakeasy.
Most of the server equipment is new, and we haven't noticed any large spikes in the processor load. The problem is that I can open these same pdfs from a test machine on a completely different network (over hardware VPN) and the pdfs open fine. I think it might have to do with the plugins/etc, because I use a barebones version of Acrobat Reader.
I just don't want to break any dependencies/functionality with normal Acrobat. Well, I'll test it and report back...