Citrix and Microsoft jointly support the delivery of Skype for Business from XenApp and XenDesktop via the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.x and the Skype for Business 2015 client (version 15.0.4779.1001 or above). This “v2” solution, the result of close collaboration between the two companies and extensive customer input, was released to market in December 2015. The HDX RealTime Optimization Pack consists of the HDX RealTime Connector for Skype for Business (which runs on the XenApp or XenDesktop server) and the HDX RealTime Media Engine on the user device (Windows, Linux or Mac). HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0 is compatible with Lync Server 2013, Skype for Business Server 2015 and Office 365 (Skype for Business Online).
Customers with valid support contracts who experience an issue with this solution should open a trouble ticket with the vendor whose code they suspect to be causing the issue, that is, Microsoft for Skype for Business or Citrix for the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack. The vendor receiving the trouble ticket will triage the issue and escalate as appropriate. Each vendor can open trouble tickets with the other vendor as needed, eliminating the need to pong the issue back to the customer for redirection.
Prior to the Citrix-Microsoft collaboration on HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0, Microsoft promoted a “v1” solution consisting of a Citrix Receiver for Windows plug-in called the VDI Plug-in. Citrix and Microsoft continue to fully support the VDI Plug-in solution according to its lifecycle. See “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure” in Microsoft TechCenter Infrastructure qualified for Microsoft Lync.
For customers who are still using Lync Server 2010, version 1.8 of the Citrix HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Microsoft Lync provides an ideal solution. This feature of XenApp-XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum editions is supported by Citrix and was developed using Microsoft Windows and Lync APIs and proprietary Lync codecs (licensed by Citrix from Microsoft) which are fully supported by Microsoft, according to the timelines published in Microsoft’s product lifecycle policy.
If a user connects to a XenApp/XenDesktop server on which the HDX RealTime Connector for Skype for Business or Lync has been installed but the HDX RealTime Media Engine is not installed on the user device, optional fallback to server-side audio-video processing is available. This fallback solution leverages Generic HDX RealTime technologies developed and supported solely by Citrix. Generic HDX RealTime technologies that are compatible with Microsoft Skype for Business and Lync include:
- Optimized-for-speech codec technology, featuring fast encode and low bandwidth utilization
- Adaptive H.264 video in Thinwire display remoting (video quality and frame rate self-adjust to the network)
- Webcam Video Compression in the Citrix Receivers for Windows, Linux and Mac, offering excellent bandwidth efficiency and network latency tolerance
- Jitter buffering in the Citrix Receiver for Windows to ensure smooth audio even when network latency is variable, and Echo Cancellation when using a microphone and Audio device plug-n-play (devices can be plugged in mid-session)
- Audio device routing (for example, ringtone can be directed to speakers but voice to a headset)
- Multi-stream ICA transport for full QoS support (4 TCP channels, 2 UDP channels)
- UDP/RTP audio for superior performance on lossy and congested network connections
- DSCP packet tagging for RTP packets (Layer 3) and WMM tagging for Wi-Fi
- Citrix NetScaler CloudBridge support for QoS and multi-stream ICA, including UDP