Here is the relevant Serf issue on this topic:

https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/SERF-27

On Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 11:26 AM, Mark Phippard <markphip@gmail.com> wrote:
On Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 11:03 AM, Simpson, Andrew R CIV NSWC Crane, JXSNL <andrew.simpson@navy.mil> wrote:
I'd love to, but I have to be "allowed" to :)  I will push within DoD circles.

The issue with newer versus older was indicated by our server provider (forge.mil).

I provide the software that forge.mil is built from -- TeamForge.  If it has been upgraded recently than it would be on SVN 1.8.x on the server as that is the latest version we provide.
 
  I'm only rehashing what they stated, although I should be clear that was in regards to tortoiseSVN.  We did see issues specifically with regards to tortoise using older versions that did seem to go away by upgrading to the latest client in those cases on windows.

I do believe, however, that the timeouts may be caused by either A) configuration of the svn server or B) the network setup of the server provider.

Thanks again for the info.  much appreciated.  Will take a look into what's required to modify serf to support this.

Setting a side the CAC issues which are specific to forge.mil, a large percentage of users use SVN 1.6/1.7 clients simply because they use what comes with their distro.  As you point out, RHEL6 provides SVN 1.6 so we see a lot of that.  There should be no issues specific to the client/server versions.  You should be fine using SVN 1.6.  Any timeout problems you are having are not because of the client version.

If these started after the upgrade, then I would guess there was some configuration that changed that was overlooked.

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Thanks

Mark Phippard
http://markphip.blogspot.com/