Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

With VDI, instead of a traditional desktop, you have a thin client and a hosted virtual desktop.

A thin client is a typically less costly and less powerful device than a desktop computer. Your organization may even use older, less powerful PCs as thin clients. Your hosted virtual desktop resides in a central server location called a data center. Your hosted virtual desktop includes your

  • Microsoft Windows desktop

  • Applications (such as Webex)

  • Data

Using your thin client, you access your hosted virtual desktop over a secure Citrix or VMware connection.

Webex works with VDI. However, sending the additional data that audio and video calls require, through the hosted virtual desktops, causes communications delays. This limitation is called the "hairpin" effect.

Webex on VDI

Without optimization, Webex app messaging works as-is in a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environment. The full Webex app experience also includes calling and meetings, which require video and audio media processing.

Because of a limitation known as the hairpin effect, calling, meeting, and accompanying video capability are not supported without optimization. The additional bandwidth required for calls and video creates a bottleneck at the data center because the media flows from one user to the data center back to another user. As a result of this unoptimized media path and the lack of easy access to peripherals such as device speakers, microphone, and camera, the user experience is not ideal.

To fix the issue of the hairpin effect, the Webex VDI plugin extends the Cisco collaboration experience to virtual deployments so that users can use the full messaging, meeting, and calling functionality that the Webex app provides.

To reduce latency and to enhance media quality, the VDI plugin optimizes the media workflows by streaming media directly between users on thin client endpoints and leverages the hardware of the thin client machines to handle media processing. This media path does not go through the hosted virtual desktops (HVDs). The result is a stable and full-featured calling and meeting experience for your VDI users.

In this architecture, the Webex app is installed on the HVD in your VDI environment and required VDI plugins are installed on the user's thin client (typically a lightweight system, like a repurposed laptop or desktop).

Using a supported Linux or Windows-based thin client, users access the Webex app on the HVD from a remote virtual desktop environment. With supported versions of Webex, users can use all of the built-in messaging, meetings, and calling on Webex functionality on their thin client. Additionally, you can integrate Webex VDI with a Unified CM or Webex Calling environment, so that users can use supported call features. You can also deploy the full featured meetings experience by installing the Webex Meetings VDI plugin.


You can find the Webex for Windows VDI software downloads from The HVD installer (Webex app) and thin client build (Webex VDI plugin) are released every three months.


Administrators can refer to the Deployment Guide for Cisco Webex for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) for more information about what features are supported, how to prepare your environment, and how to deploy the Webex VDI solution.

Webex supports the following VDI infrastructure. (See the documentation for these VDI solutions for more information.)

Connection Broker for the Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD)

  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

  • VMware Horizon

  • Citrix Cloud HVD

  • Windows Virtual Desktop (Deployed on Microsoft Azure)

  • VMware Cloud HVD

Thin Client Operating System

  • Windows 8, 10

  • HP ThinPro 7.1

  • Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04, 20.04

  • Unicon eLux 6.9

  • IGEL OS 11.04

  • Dell Wyse ThinOS 9.1

Other Supported Features

  • Multiple Monitor Support

  • Fallback Mode of VDI

  • Virtual Desktop Multiple Monitor Support

  • MRA Support

  • Hardware acceleration and background noise reduction for windows OS thin-client

If you're using Webex VDI in fallback mode or standalone mode, some peripheral devices may not work. Because the device mapping is handled by Citrix or VMware, you must contact them for further troubleshooting

Webex VDI supports backward compatibility: the latest Webex VDI release supports the latest Webex VDI plugin as well as previous plugin releases.

While backwards compatibility is supported, we recommend that you and your users download the latest HVD installer and VDI thin client plugins from

Webex app version for VDI (installed on HVD)

Compatible VDI plugin versions (installed on user thin clients)*









* Indicates backward compatibility mode.

Features in Backward Compatibility Mode

When a release of Webex is working with an earlier VDI plugin, the solution is running in backward compatibility mode. In this mode, Webex for VDI supports all messaging features but only basic calling features. In this mode, Webex VDI also cannot ensure the video quality because some advanced features are still under continuous development and improvement. See the following list of supported features for backward compatibility mode:

  • Phone service registration (on-premises)

  • Phone service registration (MRA)

  • Call forwarding

  • Deskphone Control (On-premises)

  • Audio and video calls

  • Hold

  • Transfer

  • Mute/Unmute audio

  • Mute/Unmute video

  • Desktop sharing

  • Device selection

  • Device volume control

  • In-call device switching

Webex for Windows and Linux VDI supports most of the Webex for Windows features, unless otherwise noted.

See the following sections for each release for a list of new features specific to VDI and limitations for that specific release.


Built into Webex:

  • Annotate

  • Standard ringback tone for calls on Webex

Webex Calling and Unified CM:

  • Standard call progress tones

Unified CM:

  • 911 Wireless Location Reporting (CER) (Windows)

  • Contact Center support (CTI-Servitude)

  • Zip Tone for Call Auto Answer

Added VDI Support

  • BroadWorks

  • Coexistence of Jabber Softphone for VDI and Webex for VDI

  • Notify users when VDI plugin is not installed or a version mismatch is detected

  • Registry Setting to Force Running in VDI Optimized Mode

  • VMWare Horizon client version 8.x (2103) is supported from the Webex VDI plugin version 41.4 onward.


  • Automatically Optimize Shared Content (Linux thin client)

  • 911 Wireless Location Reporting (CER) (Linux thin client)

  • Blur and virtual background (Windows and Linux thin clients)

  • Citrix app protection mode

  • ICE support for media optimization (Linux thin client)

  • Music Mode (Linux thin client)

  • Proximity Pair


From this release onward, "Webex Teams" is rebranded to "Webex."

We now use the same version scheme as Webex Meetings. To avoid issues, please uninstall any previous 3.0.xxxxx.x Webex Teams Thin Client build and then install the latest 41.1.0.xxxxx Webex Thin Client build.

  • Built into Webex:

    • Call controls that are consistent with meetings

    • Music Mode (Windows thin client)

    • Progress indicator while upgrading Cisco Headset firmware

    • Test speaker and microphone

  • Webex Calling:

  • Unified CM:

    • Call Park/Retrieve

    • G.722.1 audio codec support

    • ICE support for media optimization (Windows thin client)

    • Indication in health check if MRA deployment is not available

    • Mobile and Remote Access support for Dual NIC

    • Mobile and Remote Access support for un-NATed

Added VDI Support

  • Mode Selection for Webex VDI Fallback

  • Single-session OS Support for VM Hosted Applications

  • VMware Cloud HVD Deployments

  • Virtual Channel Details in VDI Health Checker

  • Dell Wyse ThinOS 9.1


  • Annotate

  • Blur and virtual background (Windows and Linux thin clients)

  • ICE support for media optimization (Linux thin client)

  • Music Mode (Linux thin client)

  • Proximity Pair


  • Disable HD video by default for VDI deployments—For VDI deployments, you may want to disable HD video if a computer CPU is running high or you want to save network bandwidth during a call or meeting.

  • Mirror self-video for calls and meetings—During a video call, you can choose whether to mirror your video. Your video will appear just like you're looking in a mirror. If you're sharing something with text, however, the text will be hard for others to read because it will appear backwards. You may want to disable the mirror option in that case.

  • Fallback mode—Users may be in a Citrix environment and not have the thin client installed or the virtual channel is disconnected. We support this scenario with fallback to a non-virtual Webex installation. In this mode, the app shows a warning that the quality of video may be affected. Once the virtual channel is connected, the app can change to VDI mode.

  • Mobile and Remote Access (MRA)—The Mobile and Remote Access solution (MRA) provides a consistent experience inside and outside the enterprise. MRA provides a secure connection for Webex application traffic without having to connect to the corporate network over a VPN.

  • System tray icon for VDI client—The VDI client includes a system tray icon that shows the HVD connection status.

    The user can send logs from this icon screen.

  • Intel hardware acceleration for Windows thin client

  • VMware shared session application support for Windows thin client

  • Citrix XenApp publish application mode for Windows thin client

Added VDI Support

  • Citrix Remote PC

  • Dell Wyse ThinOS 9.1

  • Windows Virtual Desktop (deployed on Microsoft Azure) for Windows thin client

  • iGelOS 11.04.100

  • Ubuntu 18.04

  • Ubuntu 20.04

  • Windows server 2019

  • Unicon eLux 6.9


  • Proximity Pair

  • On-premises or Cloud devices

  • Automatic Call Recording through Built-in-Bridge (BiB)

  • Annotate

  • Screen share with audio

  • Application Share

  • Customized virtual background images

  • Blur and virtual background (Windows and Linux thin clients)

  • Hardware acceleration (Linux)