Friday, November 11, 2016

MsIgnite BRK3079 - Configure Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition with your SBC

Presented by Lasse Nordvik Wedø (@lawedo)
Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) is a set of 4 virtual machines delivered as an appliance.

  • Active directory domain controller
    Holds Service pointers, Internal DNS used by CCE, Internal Certificates. This active directory do not share schema with your internal domains, it is separate and used by CCE only.
  • Skype for Business Edge Server
    The Edge server is a multihomed virtual machine that talks to the Internet on "the outside" and it must be able to use external public DNS from the Internet.
  • Skype for Business Mediation Server
    Terminates SIP trunks to/from the outside world (the SBC) and transcodes media.
  • Skype for Business Central Management Store
    Holds information on the Topology used by Mediation and Edge.
CCE can be seen as a gateway between Office 365 and your own PSTN connection. Please note that CCE does not contain a Skype for Business Registrar, i.e. it is not possible to home users in CCE.

The presentation continued with PowerShell demos on how to configure Office 365 for CCE, how to configure a user for PSTN access, how to configure a Sonus SBC with integrated CCE, number manipulation and mulitsite configuration.
Key commands:
Why should we use an Session Border Controller (SBC) together with CCE?
With a SBC we can connect multiple trunks to a single instance of CCE and we can also handle analog devices such as fax machines. We can do additional transcoding, SIP message manipulation, TLS connections, DTMF, reduce latency and DDoS protection just to name a few advantages. An SBC will also allow us to use an existing infrastructure (trunks) so that we can migrate smoothly and retain a carrier contract.

It takes about 75 minutes to get up and running with CCE on a Sonus appliance, compared to several hours if you chose to download the CCE software and install it manually.

Plan for Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition

Thursday, November 3, 2016

MsIgnite BRK2087 - Build native cloud apps for Skype for Business: Skype Developer platform overview

Presented by Andrew Bybee

The bots are coming...

The presentation started with a demo of the Smartsheet integration with presence, conversations and meetings.

Next was Skype for Salesforce where Skype is built into the Salesforce GUI / Webpage featuring videocalling in Edge without a plugin with the call and editing in Salesfore happening in the same window.

Embedded video calling in Google Chrome using the WebRTC implementation in Chrome were demoed, using a "media provider" built into the Chrome browser, just as in Edge.

Web and Chat is cool, but voice still accounts for more than 60% of the traffic for most customer service organizations. Hence, "Trusted applications" in the cloud will be supported by a coming "Trusted applications API", which was demoed together with the WebSDK in the session. A demo featured an anonymous user in a web chat session with an agent who could bring in a second agent / expert and a consumer Skype healthcare bot via the Bot Framework. The demo also featured a PSTN call into a trusted application via Office 365 PSTN calling with DTMF signalling, basic IVR and agent routing.   

UCMA will probably not be ported to the cloud, but WebRTC is on the roadmap for Skype for business (starting with Online)

Lots of opportunities if you like to code!


Skype Developer Platform
Skype for Business Apps

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Welcome Microsoft Teams!

At an event in New York and online Microsoft announced Microsoft teams today. Microsoft Teams Builds on Office 365 and adds a chat-based workspace to Office 365.

Microsoft Teams - a part of the Office 365 ecosystem

Microsoft Teams is threaded persistant chats or conversations where the Activity view can be seen as the "inbox" in Teams. A Team "channel" can be seen as the digital equivalent of an ad-hoc meeting in a normal Office environment. Moving images, emojis, stickers, or GIFs, can easily be pasted into team conversations. Microsoft Teams builds on Office 365 groups, and has built-in access to PowerBI, Graph, SharePoint, OneNote, and Skype for Business. A "team" is simply a group of people organized around a common goal, and a sharepoint site is automatically created for each new Team that is created in Microsoft Teams.

Bots are included in Microsoft Teams from start. T-bot can answer questions about the MicorosftTeams product, like: How do I create a channel? Who-bot can answer questions about people.  Polly is a poll / voting bot can be used in conversations. Currently some 85 bots are available. 

In general, a web browser is all you need to access Microsoft Teams and mobile clients are available as well.

Preview now, General Availability next year.


MsIgnite BRK3059 - Deploy Cloud Connector Edition with Microsoft Office 365

Presented by Korneel Bullens   

Options for voice in Office 365
  • Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling service
    Available in United States, United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, Preview starting for France and Spain
  • Cloud PBX with on-premises PSTN connectivity
    Hosts users online, connects via on premises
  • Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition (CCE)
    Hybrid offering that contains a set of virtualized machines

Cloud Connector Overview

CCE was first released in April of 2016 and there have been 3 minor updates or versions so far. The next major version (2.0) is probably coming early next year.

CCE should be seen as a "black box", i.e. do not change the topology, scripts, software or anything really. CCE deploys in approximately 7 hours (or 45 min if you get it as an appliance.)

CCE is scaled for 70 percent internal traffic, that is media not going through edge component of CCE, and 30 percent external traffic. It is not designed to be used in hosting scenarios.

CCE do not support media bypass, custom dialplans or co-existence with on-prem S4B Pools.

The presentation continued with technical details around the installation of CCE.

Interesting to see new "cc-commands" like Install-CcAppliance, rather than the good old "cs-commands".

Questions and Answers

Is it possible to use VLAN tagging for the two different networks CCE is connected to?

Is it possible to use a public certificate on the inside?
No, import the internal CA root certificate.

Is it possible to let CCE share hardware with something else?
No, the cloud connector is an appliance.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

MsIgnite BRK3058 - Dig into the Skype Operations Framework

Presented by Bryan Nyce

SOF is a framework, a set of practical application / guidance for a successful end-to-end deployment of Skype for business.

SOF is a living framework. In July 2016, the first version was released, it was accompanied by 17 training sessions. In September 2016 right before Ignite a second major update were done, this including cloud migration and 11 new additional training sessions. Future minor and major updates will come for the framework.

"The shift to cloud requires a rethinking of how to Plan, Deliver, and Operate Skype for business Online." - Things we "used to do" might not work so well any more.
SOF is focused on cloud, but the ideas and concepts can be used for on-prem installations as well.

Between the release of the on-prem Lync 2013 to Skype for business Server 2015 a long time passed (like 2 years+) The cloud is changing and adding features at a higher pace.

Technet already contains all the documentation needed to do a cloud migration, technically, so why do we need SOF?
Technet answers how to move an account from on-prem to the cloud. SOF gives the guidance on how to define which users should be moved first, which users should stay on-prem and how do we do the migration in an orderly fashion.

SOF defines what "we" (Skype for business nerds I guess...) mean when we use various terms. E.g. what is a network assessment - it can have different meaning to different people - with SOF we can define what we mean.

A Persona Analysis helps us understand the communication needs of our users, and how these needs will change. "I have a PBX that does 10 things, I want the new system to do these 10 things." - Well, then stay with the old system, but if you want to expand and enhance communications - here's what you can do... Mobile users / remote workers / home users, these are good candidates to move to the cloud. Call center users might not be a good fit to move to the cloud, yet.

Are we "UC ready"? Skype for business online is not an instant messaging / chat system, it is not a conferencing solution, it is not a PBX - it is all these things working together and it is probably different from what is used in the organization today.

The network assessment guidance now contains information about Express Route. Express Route is one of the tools in our toolbox - the assessment will tell us if we should use it or not.

 SOF - 3 phases, 12 stages

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

MsIgnite BRK2077 - Get to know the Skype Operations Framework

(or Success through the Skype Operations Framework - SOF)

Presented by Srini Raghavan and Ali Rohani

What does it take to run high-quality real-time communications service globally?
Of course, a cloud-based communications platform, but much more than so, we need to know how to plan, deliver and operate such a service. When we say "communications" it means more than just instant messaging and presence. It means voice communication and voice conferencing, with users located in different countries or regions of the world.

The difference between a PBX and cloud-based communications system is as vast as comparing a private well to our modern-day water supply system. So, we have an external network and local components (in-house plumbing) and all these components must work well (no pun intended) for our service to work.

SOF is a framework that gives you: Activity Descriptions, Delivery Guidance, Workshops, Questionnaires, Reports, Tools, Scripts, Tests, Checklists, Project Plans and Templates.

There are 3 phases with 4 stages in every phase, and each stage is a defined set of activities that are critical for your success. For each actvity there are assets and/or tools to help you with that specific activity.

Phase (stages)
Plan (Envision, Assess, Desgin, Prepare)
Deliver (Deploy, Enable, Adopt, Enhance)
Operate (Run, Support, Monitor, Report)

For example: A part of the Assess stage is the Network Assessment and here SOF is suggesting / providing the Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool

Wow, this 4G network is not fit for Realtime UC

SOF is mainly designed for Skype for business online but it can also be leveraged for on-prem installations. Activities such as the network assement, the envisioning workshop and others are common no matter if Skype for business online or on-prem is used.

To learn more about SOF visit the Skype Academy found at the Skype Operations Framework website.

Friday, October 21, 2016

MsIgnite BRK4004 - Troubleshoot new Skype for Business offerings

Presented by Jason Collier and Ricardo Garcia

Troubleshooting - reading logs and asking the right questions, like

  • What happened?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Who's affected?
  • What is the Error message and/or symptom?

The Skype for business client logs to the .uccapilog and .etl logs and the the Application log in event viewer.

New features in the Desktop client

Video based screen sharing (VbSS) 

Previously all screen sharing was done with the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) which is limited to a maximum of 8 frames per second and it runs over TCP. VbSS can go up to 30 frames per second and can use the quicker "fire-and-forget" protocol UDP. VbSS will also give a noticable faster call setup or start of the screen sharing in an existing session. There is no visual indication in the client to indicate if RDP or VbSS is being used for screen sharing, therefore we need to examine the logs to see if it works properly or not. Some sort of graphical indication and/or information about which codec is being used might come in future releases of the client, (please go to to vote for this idea if you like it.) In the SDP, RDP screen sharing is announced as
m=applicationsharing 53111 TCP/RTP/SAVP 127
and VbSS as
m=video 50054 RTP/SAVP 123 123
both media types are offered and accepted in the SIP dialog due to fallback reasons. If one of the clients in a meeting do not support VbSS RDP will be used as a fallback and if you would like to force the meeting to use RDP rather than VbSS, turn on recording. After a meeting has changed from VbSS to RDP it will not fallback to VbSS even if circumstances change.

Also, please note that VbSS is using UDP so make sure to open your firewalls when enabling this feature, more information about this is available in the article: Video based Screen Sharing for Skype for Business Server 2015. Audio is not supported in VbSS, but a workaround might be to use the Virtual Audio Cable software, and VbSS will not be in the RTM version of the Skype for business for Mac client, but will come in a later update.

Offline Messaging 

Offline Messaging uses Exchange Web Service (EWS), Exchange Server and the message history spooler so it works even with a Lync 2010 server. EnableIMArchiving in the client policy must be enabled for Offline Messaging to work.

PSTN dialing and PSTN conferencing issues

PSTN conferencing in Office 365 is a quite complex animal.

In Office 365 there is a user forest and a "PSTN resources" forest. This means that a PSTN conference is two cascaded conferences in two separate MCUs. Without dynamic conference IDs there is an issue with these two conferences not getting connected. This issue is called a bar-belling failure (not "disappointing" as the guy sitting in front of me in the audience suggested). The symptom for the users are that VoIP users can hear VoIP users and PSTN users can hear PSTN users, only. Also, the users might see an "Uninvited guest" in the meeting. There are two ways of avoiding this to happen. Instruct your users to use the "End meeting" function when leaving a meeting (but how well is that going to work out?) Or contact support and ask them to enable your tenant for dynamic conference IDs (and this is the real fix which is available since September 1st, 2016.) Eventually all tenants will be fixed and this issue should be a thing of the past.

In a Skype for business meeting it is possible to actually “End a meeting”

Skype for business for Mac

The presentation continued with logs in the Mac client. All you need to know about the old Lync for Mac 2011 client is summarized in this article: Removing Lync for Mac2011 :-) 

The Mac client has a dependency on the Certificate CRL - if a location to the CRL is included in the certificate it must be accessible by the Mac computer. That is accessible via http(s) and not LDAP. Also, be aware that a Windows CA does not have an http(s) address to the CRL published by default, LDAP only. 
Snooper 7.0.1168.1 will be released together with the Mac client, and this version can open and parse Skype for business for Mac client logs.

Resources for troubleshooting