You can make optimized audio and video calls with Skype for Business inside a virtual desktop without negatively affecting the virtual infrastructure and overloading the network. All media processing takes place on the client machine instead of in the virtual desktop during a Skype audio and video call.

Skype for Business Features

Skype for Business offers the following features:

  • Execute calls and conferences using a HTTPS proxy server

  • Response groups

  • Microsoft Office Integration: start a Skype for Business call from Word, Outlook, SharePoint, and so on

  • Quality-of-Experience allows Skype for Business clients to report call metrics to the Skype for Business server to generate reports

  • Manage calls on behalf of someone else as a delegate

  • Active speaker identification

  • Call via X (home, work, and so on)

  • Control the volume from the remote desktop

  • E911 calls

  • Call park and pick up

  • Join external meetings anonymously

  • Redirect calls to mobile devices

  • Call statistics

  • Smart card authentication

  • Point-to-point audio calls

  • Point-to-point video calls

  • PSTN calls via dial pad

  • Transfer, forward, mute, hold, and resume a call

  • HID commands

  • Calls to PSTN through mediation server

  • Remote connectivity and calls through Edge Server

  • Music on hold

  • Custom ringtones

  • Voicemail integration

  • USB phones

  • Published applications support

  • Forward Error Correction (FEC) with audio and video

  • Skype for Business online meeting

  • Meet Now conferencing

  • Whiteboarding and screensharing

System Requirements for Skype for Business

The Skype for Business feature supports these configurations.

Table 1. Skype for Business System Requirements

System

Requirements

Microsoft Server

Lync Server 2013, Skype for Business Server 2015, Office365

Microsoft Client

VMware strongly recommends that you use the latest Skype for Business client updates.

  • Skype for Business 2015 client: 15.0.4933.100 or later

  • Skype for Business 2016 as part of Office 365 Plus: 16.0.7571.2072 or later

  • Skype for Business 2016 as part of Office 2016: 16.0.4561.1000 or later

Note:

Skype for Business Basic 2015 or 2016 clients are not supported.

Virtual desktop operating systems

Minimum Requirement: 2 vCPU

  • Windows 7 SP1

  • Windows 8.1

  • Windows 10 persistent and non-persistent desktops

  • Windows 2008 R2 SP1 desktops

  • Windows 2012 R2 desktops

  • Windows 2008 R2 SP1 RDSH desktops

  • Windows 2012 R2 RDSH desktops

  • Windows Server 2016 RDSH desktops

  • Published Application Support

Client machine operating systems

Minimum Hardware Requirement: 2.4 GHz dual core

  • Windows 7 SP1

  • Windows 8.1

  • Windows 10

  • Windows Embedded Standard 7

  • Windows 10 IoT

  • Windows Thin PC

  • Ubuntu 14.04 32-bit

  • Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit

  • Ubuntu 16.04 64-bit

  • RHEL 6.9 32-bit

  • RHEL 6.9 64-bit

  • RHEL 7.3 64-bit

  • CentOS 6.x 32-bit

  • CentOS 6.x 64-bit

  • SLED 12 SP2 64-bit

  • OS X 10.11

  • macOS 10.12

  • macOS 10.13

Deployments

  • VDI (on premise and cloud)

  • Persistent and non-persistent desktops

  • RDS deployments (published desktops and applications)

Display protocols

VMware Blast and PCoIP

Network ports

The same ports as those used by the native Skype for Business client. See client ports in https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg398833.aspx

Microphones and Webcams

The same devices that are qualified to work with Skype for Business. See webcams listed in https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dn947482.aspx

Audio and video codecs

The same as the audio and video codecs used by the native Skype for Business client. See https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg425841.aspx?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396

Compatible Peer Skype for Business Clients (non-VDI)

  • Skype for Business 2016 client with latest updates

  • Skype for Business 2015 client with latest updates

  • Lync 2013 client with latest updates

  • Lync 2010 client (audio calls only)

Media Feature Pack

Must be installed on the remote desktop for Windows 10 N and KN versions. You can install Media Feature from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=48231

Installing the VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business

To use Skype for Business, you must install the VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business on the client machine. The Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business software is installed by default as part of the Horizon Client for Windows (4.6 and later), Horizon Client for Linux (4.6 and later), and Horizon Client for Mac (4.7 and later) installers. For Horizon Client installation information, see the installation and setup guide for the Horizon Client version.

A Horizon administrator must install the VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business on the virtual desktop during Horizon Agent installation. For Horizon Agent installation information, see the Setting Up Virtual Desktops in Horizon 7 document.

The VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business contains these software modules:

  • Horizon Media Proxy installed inside the virtual desktop

  • Horizon Media Provider installed on the client endpoint

To check if VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business is installed on the virtual machine, check these registry keys:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Lync\VdiMediaProvider - GUID(REG_SZ)

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Office\Lync\VdiMediaProvider - GUID(REG_SZ)

Pairing Modes for a Session

Lync.exe loads the VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business plugin on startup. The plugin checks for a valid session and writes the pairing mode state in the registry. To query pairing modes, verify that Lync.exe is running in the processes list, then check HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\VMware, Inc.\VMWMMAPlugin - PairingMode(REG_SZ).

Valid pairing modes include:

  • Optimized: a valid session

  • Fallback: no valid session

  • Optimized (version-mismatch)

  • Fallback (version-mismatch)

  • Connecting

  • Disconnected

  • Undefined

When Lync.exe exits, the plugin deletes the pairing mode value from the registry.

Users do not need administrator privileges to check the pairing mode. Multiple users logged in on remote desktops can find each user's pairing mode in the HKCU hive.

Configuring Skype for Business Group Policy Settings

You can configure group policy settings to change the default configuration. See VMware Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business Policy Settings.

Skype for Business Limitations

Skype for Business has the following limitations:

  • Socks and http proxy servers are not supported.

  • The Skype for Business solution does not support interoperability with third-party multiparty conferencing units, such as Pexip.

  • Gallery view is not currently supported.

  • You cannot record calls.

  • The double-hop scenario, such as Horizon Agent nested with Horizon Client, is not supported.

  • Using Lync or Skype for Business client on the client machine concurrently with optimized Skype for Business client in the remote desktop is not supported.

  • The Lync 2013 client UI is not supported when connecting Skype 2015 client to a Lync 2013 server. An administrator can configure Skype client UI on the server: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/30282.switch-between-skype-for-business-and-lync-client-ui.aspx

  • In the video preview window, if you want to preview a different camera than the one listed, select the device, then close the dialog, then re-open it to preview it.

  • If you are connected to a private network when you install Skype for Business on the remote desktop, the installer adds inbound and outbound firewall rules for that network profile. When you log on to the remote desktop from a domain network and then use Skype for Business, you see a firewall exception. To fix the problem, manually add firewall exceptions for Skype for Business client in the firewall rules for all network profiles.