Tags: Connection Quality Indicator

Citrix Connection Quality Indicator

Overview

Connection Quality Indicator is a new tool from Citrix designed to inform and alert the user to network conditions that may affect the quality of the Session they are using.  Information is provided to the end user via a notification window which can be controlled using Group Policy.

Installation is supported on the following platforms:

See https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX220774 for more details.

Test Environment

My environment consists of a basic Citrix XenDesktop 7.12 installation:

  • 1x Desktop Delivery Controller (Local Database)
  • 1x Citrix StoreFront
  • 2x XenDesktop Session Host (Static VMs)

All VMs are 1 vCPU, 4GB RAM, and Windows Server 2016.

Installation

Connection quality indicator needs to be installed on each Session Host, or to a master template – and follows a simple next next finish installation with no configuration during install:

Post installation we can see the program installed via Control Panel:

Group Policy Configuration

As outlined in CTX220774 there are also Group Policy Templates that can be used. I have opted to copy these to the Central Store within my Domain. The templates can be extracted from any machine with Connection Quality Indicator on:

En-US templates are within the configuration folder ready for use:

Note – once placed into the Central Store, Group Policy Administrative Templates will be available as below:

Within Citrix Components we now have access to the Policy Settings for Connection Quality Indicator:

We are then able to modify the following settings:

Enable CQI – this setting allows us to enable the Utility, and also configure the refresh rate for data collection counters:

Notification Display Settings – from this setting we can configure the initial delay before the tool alerts the user to the connection quality rating, and define a minimum interval between notifications:

Connection Threshold Settings – this setting is perhaps the most interesting, because it is here we can tailor the tool to any specific environmental requirements. From this setting, we can control the definitions of High and Low Latency (in milliseconds), High and Low ICA RTT (in milliseconds), and the High and Low bandwidth value (in Mbps):

For the purposes of this demonstration – I’ve used default settings all round.

After configuring the group policies – I logged into a Desktop Session with the tool installed. 60 seconds after login the Window appeared with the session quality result:

If the cog symbol is clicked the user has the option to modify the location of the display window, snooze the tool, and also to see the test results:

Unfortunately, I have no method in my lab for degrading network performance artificially, or increasing latency etc. – but to prove that the metrics were functional, I adjusted the Group Policy settings so that some fairly unobtainable figures were used for all settings – and thus the tool would grade the connection quality differently:

This highlights how the tool can be used to identify connection quality through tailoring the GPO for a specific environment. After changing these settings, rebooting the Session Host (the lazy way of updating Group Policy!), and logging back in, the tool reported the following:

This is a very useful option within the tool – as we can specifically modify the settings to suit a range of environments. In some environments having low bandwidth might not be an issue, but high latency might be for example.

Conclusion

Overall this tool is very useful for giving the end user an insight into the quality of the network environment, and provides real time feedback on this quality. This is great for keeping end users informed, and managing expectations of performance too. What I also like is that end users will be able to see differences based on where they work – for example, a user with a “Strong Connection” inside the office, but a “Weak Connection” over 3G or at home, would know what sort of experience to expect, and would have real time data to support any troubleshooting moving forward.