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In a VMware View environment usually PCoIP protocol is preferred to the RDP one due to several reasons. I don’t want to spend too much time about the latency, throughput, reactivity, user experience different between those two protocols… in most cases PCoIP is better compared to RDP.

But PCoIP protocol has some limits that your have to consider in your design and mainly are described in the View Architecture Planning guide.

Client support

  • PCoIP only client: mobile clients, such as iPad and Android, use only the PCoIP display protocol.
  • RDP only client: actually the Technical Preview of the Windows 8 Style Client works only with RDP protocol. Also on Terminal Server destination only RDP could be used. Old version of the Mac and (OpenSource) Linux Client where also only RDP.

For more information about the View Client features see the documentation page.

Also note that the Zero Clients work only with PCoIP and Thin Clients usually with both (or more) protocols.

Port redirection

USB redirection works on both (but note that you may have some limit with some specific View Client).

But serial and parallel ports redirection works only with RDP protocol (for printers you can use ThinPrint to redirect the printer).


Multi-monitor support is different from PCoIP to RDP:

  • with PCoIP, the maximum number of monitors that you can use to display a View desktop is 4 (when 3D feature is enabled, up to 2 monitors are supported with a resolution of up to 1920×1200),
  • with RDP 7, the maximum number of monitors that you can use to display a View desktop is 16.

Note that with RDP6 you have to use span mode that is mainly a single-monitor session: the monitors must be the same size and resolution, and the monitor layout must fit within a bounding box. If you maximize an application window, the window spans across all monitors.

With PCoIP or RDP7 you have a true multiple-monitor session, where monitors can have different resolutions and sizes, and a monitor can be pivoted. If you maximize an application window, the window expands to the full screen of only the monitor that contains it.

Tunneling Mode

Both protocols could be handled and tunneled by a View Security Server but the behavior is completely different:

  • RDP over a Security Server is completely tunneled on the TCP 443 (HTTPS) port and so is quite accessible over the Internet (in most cases this port is opened or could be simpled proxyed).
  • PCoIP over a Security Server need also both TCP and UDP 4172 (PCoIP) ports and this could be not always possible on Internet, so some “road warriors” users may be not able to connect to the virtual desktop with this protocol.


PCoIP use Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128-bit encryption and it is turned on by default. RDP supports 128-bit encryption.

Both can use this authentication methods:

  • RSA SecurID or RADIUS
  • Smart cards (note that when you enroll a smart card, you can choose the key size of the resulting certificate: to use smart cards with local desktops, you must select a 1024-bit or 2048-bit key size during smart card enrollment; certificates with 512-bit keys are not supported)
  • Single sign-on

WAN Considerations

Protocols works in a completely different mode, basically RDP could be optimized, compressed, could work with VPN and so on… PCoIP is already optimized, compressed and encrypted so you have to play more attention if you add this kind of features.

More information in the the next post.


Virtualization, Cloud and Storage Architect. Tech Field delegate. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert 2010-24. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014-15. Microsoft MVP 2014-16. Veeam Vanguard 2015-23. Nutanix NTC 2014-20. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.