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  • Cisco Webex Install in Citrix Virtual Desktops


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    raydavis22rnd.jpg by Ray Davis, CTA, Jacksonville CUGC Leader

    I have written blogs about how to run Zoom and how to optimize Teams in a Citrix Environment. This blog will highlight the necessary components that are needed to run Webex within Citrix Virtual Desktops environments.

    Many organizations run Webex and at times, if not setup correctly, your users will notice issues with screensharing, voice jitter and even Webex trying to auto update itself in a non-persistent. We all understand that there are many optimizations at times that go into any VDI solution that isn’t just Citrix related. It could be AVD, Horizon, Citrix, Frame and good old RDSH/TS. I wanted to ensure that the audience understands it’s not a Citrix related requirement, but how VDI works inside the hardware layer.

    I have been writing the quick guide for some time now and using it for clients. I wanted to share it out with the community to help close the gaps. Webex releases updates every two months. At the time of writing this, I was using 42.12 and I noticed they are on 43.4 now. This is a high level blog that will help you in your direction of Installing Webex in a Citrix VDI environment.

    In-Depth Level

    There needs to be a Webex VDI installer in the Citrix VDI (VDA) machines. The installer requires the VDI parameters I have listed below. It tells the Citrix VDI devices that it's a VDI install.

    A Webex App VDI plugin and a Webex Meeting VDI plugin will also need to be installed on local clients such as laptops, desktops, etc. The Webex VDI plugin and Webex Meeting VDI plugin will talk to the VDI backend with the VDI installer and optimize the call quality through the Citrix ICA virtual channels. Webex App VDI fallback mode offers short-term support for basic audio and video calls when VDI can't establish the virtual channel. By default, Webex App on the HVD checks for version compatibility with the Webex VDI plugin on the thin client.

    The plugin version should not be more than 3 bi-monthly releases behind the Webex App. For example, if Webex App on the HVD is version 43.4 (April 2023), then the following plugin versions are compatible:

    • Fallback mode supports standard calls and call recording.
    • The full feature set isn't supported.
    • Call quality is lower because of the server or network issues that cause the switch to fallback mode but remember that when users either don't use the VDI optimized solution or are in fall back mode, HD video is disabled and Webex App shows a notification that you may see a media quality issue. At times users use VDI in unoptimized or fallback mode.
    • Their camera or headset may not work, and they may experience poor media quality.
    • More on Fallback mode and the details.

    Procedure

     Command or ActionPurpose
    Step 1Configure one of the following types of Hosted Virtual Desktop:

    Configure hosted virtual desktop and install Webex App

    Configure Azure Virtual Desktop for the Webex App
    To prepare for your users wanting to access the Webex App remotely from thin client devices, set up the Webex App on the centralized hosted virtual desktop (HVD) environment.
    Step 2Configure VDI optimization for Webex App in Control HubIn Control Hub, you can use an organization-level setting to either enable or disable VDI optimization and detection for your Webex App users. By default, the setting is enabled.
    Step 3Install the Webex App VDI plugin on thin client machines for the following platforms:

    WindowsInstall the Webex App VDI plugin on Windows thin client systems

    LinuxInstall the Webex App VDI plugin on Linux thin client systems

    macOSInstall the Webex App VDI plugin on macOS thin client systems
    After Webex App is installed on your central HVD environment, you next get your users to install a Webex App VDI plugin on their thin client devices. Thin clients are typically lightweight or repurposed computers that users use to establish a remote connection with a centralized HVD server where Webex App is hosted. The thin client plugins for supported platforms are available at https://www.webex.com/downloads/teams-vdi.html.
    Step 4(OptionalInstall Webex Meetings VDI plugin on thin client systems(Optional) For full featured meetings with the Webex App, you or your users must install two separate VDI plugins on a thin client. In addition to the Webex App VDI plugin already installed in the previous step, you must also install the Webex Meetings VDI plugin on the same machine. (You only need to install the Webex App on the virtual desktop.)
    1. Webex has two VDI plugins that you need to install on the clients, then the Webex HVD installer on the VDI itself. 
      • Webex VDI plugin.
      • Webex meeting VDI plugin.
    1. How I install the Webex VDI plugin
    1. Automated removal and install
      • In VDI I use the Cisco Webex Removal Tool. Upgrades in the past have broken Webex in VDI with the virtual channel.
      • ##Remove Previous Version of Webex###
      • C:\Users\Admin\Desktop\42.6.3.10\CiscoWebexRemoveTool.exe /s
      • timeout 30

      • ##Installs new version###
      • msiexec /i webexapp.msi /qn ALLUSERS=1 ENABLEVDI=2 AUTOUPGRADEENABLED=0 ROAMINGENABLED=1 /log install.log

        timeout 300

    1. If you wanted to remove the ICON on the desktop-Not needed unless the environment calls for it.
      • ::## Removes the Icon on public desktop##
      • del "C:\Users\Public\Desktop\Cisco Webex Meetings.lnk"
    1. Webex VDI install on Citrix and Webex App VDI plugin/Webex meeting plugin on local clients = HDX audio/Video optimized quality

    2. High Level flow
    image.png.e8a8394f5467a37ee0896539bf374daf.png

    Webex VDI plugin

    1. Prepare Your Environment for Webex for VDI
    1. Deployment guide for Webex App for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
    1. Admin Guide
    1. Video that goes into it very well from a VDI aspect
      • Example of the Installer on the VDI devices. This puts Webex in a VDI mode that knows it is Citrix and uses the client's plugin through the HDX ICA virtual channel.
      • msiexec /i webexapp.msi /qn ALLUSERS=1 ENABLEVDI=2 AUTOUPGRADEENABLED=0 ROAMINGENABLED=1 /log install.log
    1. Switches
    image-1.png.6777969212d9aa624d69d2cb60f225ea.png
    1. Webex Downloads
    image-2.png.05efd36b43867ff487f4d63e0ce7e61f.png
    1. Webex meetings VDI plugin (the second plugin that is needed on the clients as well)
    1. How to confirm VDI is set
      • After the install or upgrade, you can check to back sure WebEx is in “VDI” mode.

    Registry:

    image-3.png.fc65322f75b63479d5e95cacfe45ad5f.png
    1. New ICA virtual Channel Security
      • Put in ICA Virtual channels in Citrix Studio Policy. This will allow you to use the ICA virtual channels Webex made to hook into Citrix and offload the audio/Video, AKA out of band audio/video.
    image-4.png.c6d21c5d9249b7ca7828ca9a85f85e80.png
    1. How to verify WebEx is optimized
      • While in a meeting
    image-5.png.84c85266f8b1090146a7ba8d0efbea66.png
    1. That's a good status with the VDI plugin enabled and working. If it's not optimized, there will be an error in Health Status mentioning VDI.
      • Two different Health Checkers - this screenshot is from the Webex app.
    image-6.png.e75fb37a3fed8f64d28e47117a0370bd.pngimage-7.png.d0c8bf9ca91809d3194a4699cece73d1.png

    The below screenshot is from within a meeting:

    image-8.png.f451a6c67309026020a8ff13067059e5.png
    1. Troubleshooting Logs
      • If you need to Troubleshoot WebEx and ICA virtual channel. The Log location is below.
      • UPM/Roaming: C:\users\%username%\Appdata\Local\Temp\WebExMeetingLogs
      • FSLogix: C:\users\local_%username%\Appdata\Local\Temp\WebExMeetingLogs
    image-9.png.18c3f8efe7ab5ac8c213f476d1e0ddea.pngimage-10.png.b768eab3ae3fe58055b984848894e916.pngimage-11.png.86d49a6accd09900860474a87f3b3d01.pngimage-12.png.e7f0eaed200bce92e4ba2c0c69959ba4.png

    Side note in my testing-Citrix Studio -  If you set the policy called MultiMedia to prevent (in this case, we were trying to block the webcams from redirecting), it will lock up WebEx and make it crash resulting in unusable.

    Resources

    Deployment guide for Webex App for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) (cisco.com)

     

    I hope this helps someone out, and if you noticed something is updated and the instructions I gave out are older, please let me know so I can update the documentation around what I may have missed since writing this blog post. Many thanks!

    See more posts by Ray Davis.

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