Cisco Jabber and WebEx in Citrix Virtual Desktops, Published Desktops and RemotePC

By Rory Monaghan

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When there was a surge of people going to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number one issue seemed to be with people trying to get on web conferences and having audio issues or using a Softphone like Cisco Jabber and having audio issues. In this post, I’d like to address the use of Cisco Jabber and Cisco WebEx in Citrix desktops as I have received multiple questions about this.

Before getting into the how. I think I should address the can you? and should you? questions. Cisco Jabber actually works pretty well in a Citrix virtual desktop, RemotePC and published desktop as long as you ensure the user’s endpoint that they are launching their desktop session from has the JVDI Client installed. If they do not have the JVDI Client installer, their audio quality is going to be poor. They’ll experience choppy speech no matter what policies or other settings you have in-place. Without the client, don’t even bother trying.

The metrics shown from ControlUp above are of 4 sessions, 3 of which are engaged in Jabber calls. These are launched on a published desktop and each user has an endpoint with JVDI Client. You can see the CPU utilization is pretty reasonable. Memory is relatively high but no more so than on any device. I/O, network, disk writes are all within acceptable ranges for us. It’s worth noting, for this test I focused purely on audio only calls.

Back to the question, Can you? Yes, you can. Should you? Personally, I feel while the audio quality is acceptable it is still not as loud and clear as when you use Jabber directly on your device but if you are entertaining the idea of putting Jabber in your virtual desktop or published desktop, odds are getting it directly on your end user’s devices is something you are not in a position to do.

Above you can see a a trend of CPU utilization. If you’re only interested in Jabber, don’t be alarmed by that spike, it is not from Jabber. With the JVDI client the CPU utilization is successfully offloaded to the client device. The spike you see was when the same testers all got on a WebEx session with another person doing a screen share.

What I found from testing was that the person doing the screen share didn’t use a crazy amount of CPU but rather each person viewing the screen share was consuming a relatively high amount due to rendering the video. I’ll be interested in future to test this with our NVIDIA vGPUs but those were not option at the time of this testing.

Even without screen sharing, WebEx does chew up more CPU than Jabber. One good bit of news is that even without an equivalent of JVDI Client, WebEx’s audio is actually very good through a Citrix session.

My advice is that if you want to run both or either of these in a virtual desktop that should be just fine. In a published desktop you’ll really want to keep an eye on usage. WebEx in particular is cause for concern. Perhaps using Citrix WEM to protect your critical apps and workflows against multiple WebEx sessions running on a VDA would be wise. Either that or educate your workers to launch WebEx session from personal devices rather than on a virtual desktop session.

Cisco Jabber Setup and Configuration in Desktops and RemotePC

 

For your Citrix policies, you’ll obviously want to allow your end user’s mics\headsets to redirect into sessions. It’s important to set Audio quality to Medium – optimized for speech.

On your VDA, be it your virtual desktop, published desktop or even your RemotePC, you should first install the Cisco JVDI Agent and then install Cisco Jabber. Ensure the versions of all components match. In my environment, I’m using PVS and didn’t require anything special for the install and didn’t need to do anything special when sealing the image.

On your personal PC or Thin Client, you’ll need to install the JVDI Client.

Note: At this time there is no JVDI Client for Mac. If you want to support Macs, you should provide a download of Jabber and allow use on their Mac in their profile.

And that should be it. You should be able to use WebEx and Jabber successfully.

Petr Macháček

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