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Citrix USB Redirection

Editorial Team Editorial Team Dec 18, 2019

What does ICA stand for Citrix

ICA (Independent Computing Architecture) is a proprietary protocol for an application server system that was designed by Citrix. It is a cross-platform protocol that specifies how data is transferred between a server and its clients. ICA provides an alternative to Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) when remote access is required.

Using the ICA protocol, Citrix affords many benefits such as secure remote access and cost savings. However, setting up Citrix USB redirection can be challenging.

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How Citrix USB redirection works

If a USB device has not been optimized for virtual channel support it will default to raw USB redirection using the generic USB virtual channel. XenApp supports audio redirection as long as the correct configuration is made to the user account enabling generic USB.

Generic USB redirection can be used to connect USB devices attached to client machines to virtual XenDesktop sessions. The user gets the same functionality as if they were physically connected to the USB device. Using generic redirection eliminates the need for device drivers to be installed on the client machine as only the virtual desktop needs to support the device driver.

USB Redirector is a software utility that enables a remote virtual session to interact with locally-attached USB devices. It's a great solution to implementing Citrix USB scanner redirection. Shared USB devices immediately appear in a remote session as if they were just physically connected.

The Citrix ICA protocol has been supported in USB Network Gate since version 7.x of the tool. You can easily share USB devices with a thin client using the ICA specifications.

How to configure Citrix USB Redirection

You need to configure and enable the Citrix USB redirection policy as it is disabled by default. Follow these steps if you want to use USB redirection in your Citrix session.

A step-by-step guide to enable Generic USB Redirection

  1. Open Desktop Studio on XenDesktop server, click Start > All Programs > Citrix > Desktop Studio.
  2. Expand HDX Policy.
  3. Select Users.
  4. Click Edit > Settings.
  5. In the Policy console, scroll down to USB Devices.
  6. Click Add on Client USB device redirection. Citrix USB Redirection
  7. Select Allowed and click OK Allow Generic USB Redirection

Creating Client USB device optimization rules

The Client USB device optimization rules in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 FP3 can be set to disable generic USB optimization or change the mode.

When the host detects a USB device has been connected it queries the policy setting to see if it should allow the connection. It also checks the optimization rules for valid connections. The default if no rule is found is to use interactive mode. The recommendation for signature devices is to use capture mode.

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