Skype for Business – Edge Server


What do we know so far with a Skype for Business in a Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop

  1. The Same Experience: The Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business provides the same experience in an RDS/VDI implementation as a traditional PC implementation.
  2. Hybrid Deployment: The Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business provides the same experience regardless if both users are running RDS/VDI or only one user is on RDS/VDI and the other on a traditional PC
  3. Conference Calling: Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business provides the same experience in a 3-way or multi-party call.

This leads us to the next question I’ve received regarding the optimization pack:

Do we still need an Edge Server with Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business?

As a consultant, one of the most common answers I hear to a question is “It depends”. I like to be unique, so I try to avoid the answer “It depends”. The answer is Maybe, most likely.

First, let’s look at a native VDI implementation.

Native Edge

In this instance, the Skype for Business Edge server is not used as the Skype client is on the virtual desktop, which is on the internal LAN with the Skype server. The voice/video also goes between the virtual desktops.

But what happens if we implement the Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack?

Optimized Edge

Same situation. The Edge server is not used because the SIP communication happens from the virtual desktop to the Skype server, all located on the internal network. The voice/video happens between the end point devices, again, bypassing the Edge server. In this instance, the Edge server would be used for call setup, but once the call is established, the Edge server is no longer used. This is because the end points are probably in different locations, on different networks, behind firewalls/NAT.  The Edge server provides the link between the two endpoints.

What about situations where only one user is on a virtual desktop and the other on a traditional PC?

hybrid edge

The traditional PC must access the Skype server on the internal network. The Edge server is required to transmit the session initiation protocol (SIP), but once the session starts, the voice/video communication occurs directly between the two end point devices, bypassing the Edge server.

And finally, what about 3-way or multi-party calling?

3way edge

In this scenario, the voice/video will pass through the Edge Server on its way to the Audio and Video Conferencing Server.

To answer the question “do we still need an Edge server with the Citrix RealTime Optimization Pack”

You most likely will.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
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