Being able to dial through a Remote Desktop - without impacting the RDP performance

We supply a software application that is run on Remote Desktop servers (each client has their own Virtual Server).  One of the areas I am currently researching is to provide the ability for users to click on a "Call" button in our application, and dial the number (whilst connected to the RDP).  I have found a couple of solutions that will allow me to press the "Call" button, which will then dial the recipient's number (along with the user making the call), which in theory, should be ok - but I am yet to test it and am interested in all options.

For me, the perfect solution would be for users to be able to plug in a headset on their local laptop, run the application on the Remote Desktop and call - without impacting server performance in any way.  Or, if they have a phone system already in place - somehow dial through that.

Any pointers, products, suggestions - would be massively appreciated.
Andy BrownDeveloperAsked:
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JohnCommented:
A lot of PABX and VOIP providers have an agent on the computer that you can dial with and see missed calls etc.  

I have customers with an Avaya system and  the app phone manager, I have some on Samsung with a similar app...  I have people on a broadsoft hosted platform with an app to dial with.  

There's lots.  

Basically if your phone system provide provides this kind of software, the software has to be able to speak to the phone system, but not necessarily the phone handset. So the phone and computer can be in different places.  

Take it a step further with say a cloud hosted VOIP provider, the handset can be anywhere as long as it is internet connected.  The software can be on a RDS server anywhere else as long as it can speak top the cloud service.  

When you use the software to dial, the software doesn't need to speak with the handset and the call is not routed through RDP, so it does not affect the rdp performance.  the software tells the cloud system to connect a call to your handset and to connect the same call to the destination.  

To plug in a headset, just use another feature of most VOIP provider's offering - a softphone.  

Most providers will offer a software VOIP solution, allowing you to plug in a headset and make a call.  The principle I just described will still work.  A 'phone manager' app on the desktop can be used to dial.  The softphone on the client computer will speak independently to the hosted VOIP provider and not be tunnelled through RDP.  RDP performance will not be affected.  

If you are on a particularly poor connection, RDP might not perform as well during the call because RDP and VOIP are competing, but the VOIP call will not slow down the RDP itself as they are separate.  

I hope this helps

If I had a few more specifics about what you have set up etc, I might be able to be more specific.
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Andy BrownDeveloperAuthor Commented:
Wow - my sincerest thanks for putting in all of that effort - thank you.

As my initial preference is to allow users to simply plug in a headset to their laptops - do you have any recommendations/ideas?

Thanks again John - massively appreciated.
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JohnCommented:
It depends upon your phone system that you have.  Most have a softphone option
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Andy BrownDeveloperAuthor Commented:
Hi John - at present we don't have anything setup.  Ultimately, I'm trying to find a partner that has something that is very lite and allows the user to simply dial (from the RDP application), but through their local machines headset/softphone.
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JohnCommented:
I would do a google search for local telecoms companies as local is nice and you usually get better support with the chance of onsite callouts if necessary.  Most do VOIP these days.  You need a hosted VOIP system that does:

a) phone manager type program to see call history/missed calls/dial to go in the Remote Desktop and
b) a softPhone application to go on the computers

Depending how technical you are, you could set up a VOIP system in house.  There is up front cost, but it's can be cheaper and more flexible going forwards.  You are not relying upon someone else.  There are several extra benefits such as not paying extra for things like call recording and being able to change carrier at will to keep costs down.  

I've done a few using software called 3CX.  It has all of the facilities mentioned.  It installs on Windows, so there is no messing around with linux or anything like that.  

You need:
A) a machine to install it on.  Doesn't need to be that powerful
B) SIP trunk.  there are many providers and it's best top use a recommended provider from the 3CX website
c) Purchase a 3CX license
D) Headsets (and handsets if you require them)
E) Some networking knowledge (but not a lot) to pull it all together.  They even offer free courses every so often.  

Where are you based?  I may be able to help you out.  

John
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Andy BrownDeveloperAuthor Commented:
Funnily enough, I have also used 3CX - but it is very bloated for what I need it for.

I so appreciate all of your guidance/suggestions.  It really is appreciated.

Best of luck and if you're ever in Hamburg/Germany - I owe you a beer.

Andy
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Andy BrownDeveloperAuthor Commented:
Just out curiosity - where are you based and is this the kind of thing you do?
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