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XenApp Peripherals: New Capabilities in v7.9

by Jo Harder, CTP, Tampa CUGC Leader, CUGC Women in Tech Founding Mentor

While the use of printing and other peripherals has declined for some users, some industries, such as health care and financial, continue to require printed documents and the use of numerous peripherals.  Because XenDesktop is a 1:1 technology, peripherals are significantly easier to implement and maintain.  As such, we will focus this article on XenApp peripherals.

At BriForum 2016 (the last BriForum!), I presented a session on Printing and Other Perplexing Peripherals.  Especially in light of new capabilities within the v7.9 release, the implementation and maintenance of peripherals has improved significantly.

XPS Universal Print Driver

By default, Universal Print Driver defaults to EMF (Enhanced MetaFile).  Give consideration to changing the Citrix universal driver preference policy with XPS (XML Paper Specification) as primary in order to provide users with the ability to select stapling and paper source options when UPD is in use.

Load Balanced Universal Print Server

From a printing perspective, Load Balanced Universal Print Server is a significant step forward.  By implementing this new capability, network print servers are no longer a single point of failure.  Not only does this ensure that print jobs will be successful if one print server fails, criteria includes the print spooler.  For those that have wrestled with network print servers, this is a key item because it’s not unusual for the print server to remain functional when the print spooler fails.  As a result, users will complain that print jobs fail but yet the print server can successfully be pinged. 

In addition to compressing print jobs as they traverse the network to the network print server, the Load Balanced Universal Print Server addresses redundancy.  All that is required is the installation of UPS onto the network print servers and configuration of Citrix policies.

Signature Pads

Health care and financial customers use signature pads extensively.  In this market, Topaz is widely used, and up until now, the implementation of signature pads was often laden with a few headaches.  With v7.9, COM port redirection was re-introduced.  Because signature pads (and other peripherals) make use of virtual COM ports, there was previously a need to create a login script to map the COM port on the client device to a COM port on the XenApp server.  It was painful.

Implementing signature pads is now easy peasy!  Just install the SigPlusPro driver on the local device and the VDA.  Be sure to select the correct device model during installation.  Then via Citrix policy, enable autoconnect client COM ports, plus enable USB universally or based on the USB device optimization rule policy based on the hardware ID using this string: Mode=00000004 VID=0403 PID=6001 class=03.

One issue that may arise is if an application uses a specific COM port.  In this case, it’s often a matter of modifying the COM port that is configured by default on the local device. 

Summary

Peripherals aren’t going away for many users, and the enhancements introduced with v7.9 make it easier to implement and support business requirements.

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