Assess Your Network’s Readiness for Skype for Business Online

Introduction: Skype for Business Online has specific network requirements in order to provide end-users with an optimal experience. Customers will need to assess the readiness of their network to ensure it can provide the level of experience that both the business and end-users are expecting. The purpose of this blog post is to describe how to use the Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool and perform an “Essentials Assessment” to see if your network meets the Jitter, Packet Loss and Latency requirements that are needed to provide said experience.

IMPORTANT: Network readiness can be a very deep topic, therefore we will not cover it end-to-end in this blog post. Please refer to the Assess stage of Skype Operations Framework for additional information and a step-by-step process on how to conduct the full network readiness exercise and how to prepare your organization for such a project.

Note: Many of the images and diagrams in this post have been sourced from the Skype Operations Framework (SOF) website. You can download the full PowerPoint decks with these slides and other supporting documentation from the SOF website here.

Background:

The following diagram illustrates the requirements for an optimal audio/video and meeting experience when using Skype for Business Online. Note, these requirements are detailed further in this article.


To understand if your network is able to meet these requirements, a Network Assessment will need to be performed. According to the Skype Operations Framework there are two assessments available: Essentials and Advanced. The idea is to first run thru the Essentials Assessment to get a baseline and identify any potential weak areas. If weak areas are identified or additional insight is needed (i.e. a wireless site survey or WAN analysis) then an Advanced Assessment is required. In this blog post, I will only be discussing the Essentials Assessment. The objective of a Network Assessment is the following:

Unveil risk areas

  • Helps determine potential weak spots
    in the network
  • Prevents congestion points before implementation

Network recommendations

  • Provides recommendations for network configuration
  • Guides through network optimization
    such as QoS
  • Prepares for additional network activities
  • Provides insight into network performance

Prepare for operations

  • Readies customer to redeliver through lifecycle (remember, the assessment is not a one and done thing. Just like SOF, it is a continuous lifecycle as changes occur in your network the assessment will need to be re-delivered).

The following figure illustrates the differences between the two types of assessments.


If you believe an Advanced Assessment may be warranted, review the following diagram to understand the triggers of the Advanced Assessment. Please note a list of qualified Advanced Assessment Microsoft Partners can be found here. Let’s take a look installing the tool for the Essentials Assessment in the next section.


Installing the Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool:

The Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool will perform a traffic simulation on the network by measuring against our published networking targets found here, and must be run on every site that will be enabled for Skype for Business Online (on both client and edge machines if in Hybrid). This tool runs on any Windows laptop, desktop or server capable of running the Skype for Business Client (i.e. Windows 7+Server 2008 R2+ Dual core 2,4 Ghz, 4GB RAM). It will use the same ports and protocols as the Skype for Business Client as documented here

To download the tool, browse to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=53885 and click Download:


Once downloaded, unzip the tool to a folder that will be easy for you to access. In my example, I will unzip to a folder c:S4BAssessmentTool


Run the Tool:

Next, to run the tool launch a command prompt, navigate to the directory of where you extracted the tool to, and type the following command: NetworkAssessmentTool.exe then press Enter


Windows Firewall may prompt you with the following dialog box, click Allow Access


The simulation tests will commence. Allow ~17 seconds for this to complete:


Once the tests are completed, the results are written to a CSV file, type the following command to retrieve the results ResultsAnalyzer.exe results.csv and press Enter. The results analyzer tool will then analyze the results and provide you with visual confirmation if the results passed or failed based on the information we discussed previously in this blog post. As you can see my results failed on Packet Loss and Jitter (intended for demonstration purposes):


Customize the Tool (Optional):

Based on your specific tests and environment you may need to manually specify ports, protocols, IP address, and where the results are written to. The tool can be customized by opening NetworkAssessmentTool.exe.config using a text editor such as Notepad and modifying the parameters in the XML document:

 

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″ ?>

<configuration>

<startup>

<supportedRuntime version=”v4.0″ sku=”.NETFramework,Version=v4.5″ />

</startup>

<appSettings>

<add key=”Relay.IP” value=”13.107.8.2″/>

 

<!– At least one of the following two protocols must be configured –>

<!– Configure only one if testing only one protocol –>

<!– If both are configured, UDP will be preferred if it is available –>

<add key=”Relay.UDPPort” value=”3478″/>

<add key=”Relay.TCPPort” value=”443″/>

 

<!– WMAFilePath configures the WMA file to be streamed –>

<!– WMAOutputFilePath contains the received audio (for the duration of the call). –>

<!– If WMAOutputFilePath already exists, the existing file will be overwritten. –>

<add key=”WMAFilePath” value=”Tone.wma”/>

<add key=”WMAOutputFilePath” value=”ReceivedAudioFile.wma”/>

 

<add key=”NumIterations” value=”1″/>

<add key=”ResultsFilePath” value=”results.tsv”/>

<add key=”Delimiter” value=”    “/>

<add key=”IntervalInSeconds” value=”5″/>

</appSettings>

</configuration>

 

A description of the configuration fields that you can modify:

Configuration

Description

If Not Specified

Relay.IP

IP address to reach the relay server. MUST be a valid IP address string.

Tool will fail.

Relay.UDPPort

UDP port to reach the relay server for relay allocations. MAY be omitted if the user wishes to test TCP allocations only. If both UDP and TCP are configured, UDP will be preferred if the relay is reachable via UDP.

If UDP and TCP are not specified, tool will fail. Otherwise, allocate on TCP only.

Relay.TCPPort

TCP port to reach the relay server for relay allocations. MAY be omitted if the user wishes to test UDP allocations only.

If UDP and TCP are not specified, tool will fail. Otherwise, allocate on UDP only.

WMAFilePath

Path to valid WMA file to be used as an audio file for the audio call. File MUST exist and MUST be a WMA file.

Tool will fail.

NumIterations

Number of audio calls to make. These will be made serially (no concurrency).

Takes value of 1.

ResultsFilePath

Location to output the results to. This is typically a tsv or csv. The delimiter is specified by the “Delimiter” setting. The first line of the output describes what each column is.

Results will not be output to a file.

Delimiter

For the output file in “ResultsFilePath” (if specified), this is the separator for each column in the output file.

Takes value of <TAB>.

IntervalInSeconds

Time to wait between consecutive calls.

Takes value of 5.0s.

WMAOutputFilePath

Path to where the audio received will be written. If file exists it will be overwritten

Tool will fail.

 

Additional information about configuring and troubleshooting the tool can be found in the Usage.doc file in the tool’s installation directory.

Next Steps:

Following the methodology in Skype Operations Framework, these tests should be conducted at every site to understand that individual site’s readiness and determine if an Advanced Network Assessment is warranted. Enjoy!

 
 

As always, please leave your feedback, input and ideas in the comments below.

How Being Social at Work Makes Me More Productive

Introduction:

When I started my career, one of the first life lessons I learned was that it’s not about what you know, but rather it’s about who you know. In other words – it’s your connection with your network of co-workers, friends, collogues, family, customers, vendors, neighbors, and even everyday strangers, that can help you succeed in both your professional and personal life. When I think about how I get my work done in my day job, being able to leverage this network of individuals really helps me to be more efficient to deliver on-time with quality work that adds high value to my company, and overall be successful. Whereas if I were to attempt to execute on tasks alone or “in a silo”, deadlines may slip, quality of work may degrade, and my overall output may loose it’s value.

In this blog post, I’m going to share how I use the various collaboration tools in Microsoft 365 that help me to achieve more when working out in the open in a “social network of my co-workers”. In future blog posts I will write about how I use each of these tools in-depth.

Important: Please leave feedback in the comments below if you would like for me to go into more detail on a particular topic, have questions or just general feedback to make this blog post better.

It starts with your toolbox:

When I have a project around the house (such as changing the oil in my car or fixing a broken appliance), I need to select the right tool for the right job. However, before I select that right tool, I first need to understand what tools I have available in my tool box and learn how to use them, so that I can better identify the most appropriate tool for that particular task. When it comes to my professional job, this mindset is no different. I need to first understand what applications and services the company has made available to me, and then learn how to use them. The more knowledge and information I have about each of these tools, the better decision I can make when it comes time to use these tools to get a task done.

How I think about the tools in my toolbox:

When I look at the tools in the my toolbox, known as Microsoft 365, I came up with a simple way of understanding what tools I have, how and when to use them:

Yammer: 

Personally Yammer is a must have tool that I make sure is always in my toolbox. I utilize it in 3 different ways:

  1. If I am working on a task such as performing research or attempting to solve a technical problem – I will probably need assistance. I may have questions that I don’t know the answer to. I may need to get in touch with others in the company that specialize in that topic and who can help me. I like to think of Yammer as my go to resource for asking these questions. Because every employee in the organization is on Yammer, I know that someone will respond and either: a) have the answer or b) refer me to someone who does. This allows me to maximize the visibility my question has within the company.


                       Example question on Yammer

  2. I can discover communities of interest and connect with other likeminded individuals across the company on a variety of topics that can help me to be successful in my work.


                                                        Example Community of Interest group in Yammer

  3. I can leverage Yammer as a “company bulletin board” where I engage directly with my leadership, my peers in other teams, or participating in the feedback loop on products/services.


                                                                            Example of a Yammer conversation thread

Microsoft Teams:

One of the many challenges I view with email on a daily basis, is due to the subscription of many distribution lists and email threads occurring my email inbox can rapidly grow to hundreds or even thousands of messages a week. This results in me reviewing almost every email message to determine if there is an action needed on my part. With Microsoft Teams, my workflow changes and allows me to shift from email to a real time chat based workspace – but a workspace that adds additional context and value to the conversation going beyond “just text”.

If I participate on virtual teams, project teams, customer engagement teams, or even my manager’s team of direct reports – chances are I will need to collaborate with those individuals frequently and on a regular basis. As a team, we are focused on completing a project or task and as a result we are all aligned to a common business outcome or goal. This is where Microsoft Teams can really help in both the team’s success but also my individual success, let me explain:

  • By having conversations about the project/task, out in the open (i.e. in a chat based workspace) , other team members can see the conversation taking place in real time, and add their commentary thus adding value to the conversation – eliminating the amount of email traffic the team would otherwise normally receive (impacting work/life balance in the long run).


           Example of Microsoft Teams chat

  • As team members work on documents or files (or other apps within Microsoft Teams), because the data is being surfaced within Microsoft Teams and may even be pinned as a Tab to the channel, everyone has visibility into the work being performed. This enables the entire team to contribute on each other’s work (i.e. co-authoring a document) and as a result the quality of output may increase.


    Example of tabbed conversation in Microsoft Teams on a PowerPoint deck in a tab.

Delve:

Delve is a tool I use on a daily basis. My job duties often has me searching across the organization for PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, and other files that I can re-use and build upon the success of others (to contribute to my success) and not re-invent the wheel by creating these files from scratch. Delve enables me to discover documents that my peers are working on and also discover additional documents from their peer networks. Once I re-use that piece of intellectual property (IP), I can then send it back to the creator so they can incorporate my changes and feedback. This opens up an amazing feedback loop and richens the organization’s culture around IP reuse to improve the way work is done.

A side-effect of using Delve in the above process, is I can discover people across the organization that contain specific skills and experiences that I can then recruit their assistance in project teams that will ultimately result in the success of the project (and individual success as well). I find this interesting, as without Delve I may never have come across or made that connection with the individual.


                                                            Example Delve discovery

Conclusion:

While these aren’t all the tools I use on a daily basis, these are the tools I use to work socially and work like a network. Stay tuned as I will be adding to this article about additional tools in my toolbox.

 

Validate QoS for Skype for Business Online

In this post we will look at how to validate Quality of Service (QoS) tagging in your on-premises network for Skype for Business Online. This procedure is useful for testing your changes, after configuring the environment for QoS to ensure it is working as designed.

Note: This article will not discuss how to configure your on-premises network for Quality of Service for Skype for Business Online, as this will be addressed in a future article.

Please reference the following article for additional information on QoS and Skype for Business Online: Media Quality and Network Connectivity Performance in Skype for Business Online

Prerequisites:

  • QoS is configured in your on-premises network to tag packets with the appropriate DSCP markings (i.e. EF46 for voice, AF41 for video,etc) at the network based on port ranges for Skype for Business Online (best to accommodate all devices such as BYOD, Mac, smartphones, Windows, etc), or use Active Directory Group Policy Object (Windows only).  (If using GPO, the network must trust DSCP markings from the clients, however this will only mark DSCP packets outbound from the PC and will not mark inbound packets)
  • Skype for Business desktop client is installed on the computer where you will perform the validation.

Tools Required:

Instructions:

  1. Login to Skype for Business on the computer where Microsoft Message Analyzer is installed.
  2. Launch Microsoft Message Analyzer as an Administrator
  3. From within Microsoft Message Analyzer, click the Start Local Trace button:

  4. Open Skype for Business, and place an outbound audio call to the PSTN using PSTN Calling.

Note: Alternatively you can call another Skype for Business client (Peer to Peer) or join a Skype Online Meeting.

  1. On the Skype for Business end, generate audio traffic by speaking into the microphone for 30 seconds.
  2. On the far-end (i.e. the PSTN) generate audio traffic by speaking into the microphone for 10 seconds.
  3. When finished, hang up the call.
  4. Return to Microsoft Message Analyzer and click the Stop button on the top toolbar:

  5. In the filter box at the top of the window, remove all text and type RTP and press Enter, then click Apply.

10. This will filter only Real-Time Protocol (RTP) packets, the voice packets sent/received by Skype for Business:

11. Find a packet that has a source from Office365 (in this case 131.253.133.18) and single click to highlight it:

Note: If the test call was to another Skype for Business client (Peer to Peer), find the IP Address of that computer.

12. In the lower left pane of the window under Message Stack, click IPv4

 

 

13. To the right, in the Details pane, click the line Differentiated Services to highlight it. (Note, you may need to expand the Name and Value columns)

14. In the Value column of the Differentiated Services line, validate the DifferentiatedServicesField reads DSCP=46. Indicating the RTP packet coming from Office365, traversing your network to your PC using the port range 50,000-50,019 was tagged with Expedited Forwarding (EF) 46.

This same procedure can be used to validate QoS markings for other Skype for Business traffic, such as video.

Important: If ExpressRoute is deployed and correctly configured with the carrier partner, packets over ExpressRoute will also be tagged. See ExpressRoute and QoS in Skype for Business Online for more information.

Congratulations! It is that easy to validate QoS on your network for Skype for Business Online!

(Stay tuned for a future additions to this article on information for validating QoS over a wireless network.)

Connect Polycom VVX Phone to Cloud PBX in Office365 (Skype for Business Online)

In this blog post we will explore how to connect a Skype for Business 3PIP phone to Cloud PBX in Skype for Business Online in Office365. This will allow users to not only use the Skype for Business client on their PC but can also use a physical desk phone with the same call control features available in the PC (soft) client.

For purposes of demonstration I will be using a Polycom VVX 400 VoIP phone, however any phone from the list of supported phones below may be used. Enjoy!

Total Time Required: 15 minutes


 

Requirements:

  • Cloud PBX is properly enabled and configured for your Office365 tenant (see this blog post for a tutorial)
  • A supported 3PIP phone for Skype for Business Online with the appropriate version of software installed. (see this Microsoft article for more information on supported devices, software and other requirements)
  • Compatible Power over Ethernet (PoE) capable switch or compatible OEM supplied power supply. (Review your phone’s technical documentation for more information)
  • Better Together over Ethernet (BToE) software provided by the OEM. (Polycom’s can be downloaded from here)
  • Two Ethernet cables.
  • PC with an available Ethernet port.
  • Optional: An enterprise provisioning system for the phone (OEM supplied ‘provisioning server’, Event Zero UC Commander, etc) for advanced configuration (i.e. mass provisioning, enabled advanced features such as DSCP markings for Quality of Service, etc)

IMPORTANT: BToE may be used for a seamless sign-in experience, and full integration with the  Skype for Business client on the desktop. However, you may also sign-in directly on the phone and use without integration with the Skype for Business desktop client, if desired. (i.e. for use in areas without a PC)


 

Setup the Phone:

First, we need to setup the phone and configure it.

IMPORTANT: This section for “Setup the Phone” is based on a Polycom VVX 400. Your experience may vary based on the OEM of the phone. Please refer to your phone’s documentation and OEM for more information.

Step 1: Connect the phone to the Local Area Network (LAN) and PC.

  • Plug one Ethernet cable into the LAN port on the back of the phone and connect the other end to the LAN (network jack connected to a network switch)
  • Plug the other Ethernet cable into the PC port on the back of the phone, and connect the other end to the Ethernet port on the PC.

BackofPhone

Step 2: If the LAN has a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch, the phone will power on. If not, connect an OEM provided compatible power supply to the phone. Please allow a few moments for the phone to power up:

 

IMG_0366

Step 3: Once the phone is finished booting up, the home screen will be displayed.

IMG_0368

Step 4: Configure the phone for “Lync” mode.

  1. Press the Home button (button with a house icon on it). Using the directional pad, select the Settings icon.
  2. Select Advanced
  3. Type the administrator password (if not set, check your phone’s documentation for the default password) and press Enter
  4. Select Administration Settings
  5. Select Network Configuration
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the screen to Base Profile. Change Base Profile from Generic to Lync. When finished press the Back key
  7. When asked to Save Config select Save Config. The phone will reboot. Please allow a few moments for this process to complete
  8. After the phone has finished the reboot process, press the Home button and select the Settings icon.
  9. Select Features.
  10. Select BTOE.
  11. Ensure BTOE shows as Enabled (if it does not, press the Select button and choose Enabled)

Setup the PC:

Step 5: Download the Better Together over Ethernet (BToE) from the Polycom website and install on the PC.  (If your phone OEM is different, please refer to the phone’s documentation and OEM for additional information.)

Step 6: The BToE application will be placed in system tray when installed and launched.

btoe

Step 7: When the BToE application is started, and the phone is connected a” Successfully Paired” message on the phone will be displayed along with a notification from the Polycom application on the PC of “Paired”

Untitled

 

 

IMG_0374


Login to the Phone and Skype for Business:

Step 8:  Login to Skype for Business on the PC

login

Step 9: On the phone (from the main screen) press the Sign In button and select Paired Lync Client… the phone will display the following message: “Enter Login Information on Paired Lync Client”

Step 10: The Skype for Business client will prompt for login credentials. Ensure both the Sign-In Address and User Name fields contain the user’s email address and click OK

Capture

Step 11: The phone will attempt to sign in. Note, this process will take a few minutes to complete.

Capture

Step 12: When the login process is complete, the following message will be displayed. Press the Next button

Capture

Step 13: Select the Time Zone, and press the Done button

timezone

Step 14: The phone sign-in is now complete and you will be returned to the main screen. (Note, the envelope next to John Doe indicates new voicemail messages. Jane Doe is listed as she is marked as a Favorite in Skype for Business)

 

Capture

Note The Skype for Business client will display the phone as a new audio device:

fdsaa

Phone integration with Cloud PBX and Skype for Business Online is now complete. It is that easy!


Testing:

Now that the Polycom phone and Skype for Business client are in a paired state, it is necessary to make an outbound and inbound test call to ensure integration with the PC and the device is functioning as expected.

Step 15: From the phone, dial a phone number (i.e. your cell phone) and press Dial. (Note, if Dial is not selected, the phone number will be dialed and the phone will go off-hook after a few seconds automatically.) This will place an outbound call to the dialed number.

Capture

Step 16: On the PC, a new call window in Skype for Business will be launched. Once connected confirm there is two-way audio. Hang up the phone when finished.

Capture

Step 17: From another phone line (i.e. your cell phone) place a call to the phone number assigned to the user logged into the Skype for Business client and phone. Answer the phone by picking up the handset or pressing the speakerphone button.

Untitled

Step 18: On the PC, a new call window in Skype for Business will be launched.

Capture

Step 19: Once connected confirm there is two-way audio. Hang up the phone when finished.

Step 20: Repeat Step 19 and leave a voicemail message.


Feature Testing:

Many features are available on supported 3PIP phones with Cloud PBX. A couple of my favorites are voicemail, conferencing, calendar and call control among others. (For more information, see my CloudPBX blog post referenced at the beginning of this post).

Step 21: Press the Home Button and select Messages.

Capture

Step 22: These are new voicemail messages. You may play, call back , mark as read and delete among other features when working with voicemail.

 

qrw

Note: For new voicemail messages, the Message Waiting Indicator lamp (MWI) will light up.

Step 23: An ad-hoc conference call can be started on the phone directly by pressing the Meet Now button (This is the same Meet Now feature available in the Skype for Business client that starts an ad-hoc Skype Online Meeting)

Capture

Step 24: Once connected, you may:

  • View list of participants
  • Invite additional participants
  • Mute all participants
  • View dial-in phone number and conference ID
  • and more!

 

Capture

 

Step 25: End the call. Place an outbound call to your cell phone or other secondary phone used  for testing purposes. Answer on the other phone.

Step 26: From the phone, various call control features are available. You may transfer the current call to a new number or contact, place on hold (and Music on Hold will play) or conference in additional participants. These are the same features that are available in the Skype for Business Client. Hang up the call when finished.


321a

 

Step 27: Your calendar is also visible on the phone. If a Skype Online Meeting is scheduled, you may join directly from your phone without having to enter the dial-in telephone number or conference ID. Press the Home button and select Calendar

 

Capture

 

Step 28: Inside the calendar application, select a meeting:

 

Capture

 

Step 29: Once inside the meeting invitation, click the Join button to join the Skype Online Meeting. Once joined, hang up.

 

Capture

 

Note: A reminder will be displayed on the phone when the meeting is coming up:

 

Capture

 


As you can see, there are many features available when a supported 3PIP phone is connected to CloudPBX in Skype for Business Online in Office365. Please feel free to check out my additional blog posts on how to setup and configure CloudPBX, PSTN Conferencing, and Number Porting. Enjoy!

Port a Phone Number to Cloud PBX in Office365

This is an overview of the experience for porting (moving) an existing office telephone number from an existing telephony carrier to Skype for Business Online.

Background:

Skype for Business Online in Office365 offers PSTN Calling as part of the Cloud PBX feature set. PSTN calling allows a user to place and receive calls to the Public Switched Telephone Network with enterprise PBX functionality. When provisioning a user for this service, the Office365 administrator can either purchase telephone numbers directly from Microsoft or port an existing telephone number from an existing carrier to Office365. I covered the process for purchasing telephone numbers in a previous blog post: How to Enable Cloud PBX & Modern Voice

Before you Begin: Gather the following information:

  • Account Number from existing carrier
  • PIN (if required by carrier)
  • Billing telephone number
  • Service Address (located on bill from carrier)
  • City/State/Zip of the billing address
  • Range of telephone numbers to port
  • Emergency addresses for each user the ported number will be assigned to

Note: This is assuming other requirements have been met for Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling in the Office365 tenant. For more information, please reference my previous blog post: How to Enable Cloud PBX & Modern Voice

Important: If you plan on porting more than 999 phone numbers, review Manually Submit a Port Order Request.

Important: See if your carrier is supported prior to proceeding with the process. Refer to What phone service providers or carriers are supported for more information.

For more information see: Transfer phone numbers to Skype for Business Online

 

Getting Started:

Note: You may need to click on some of the screenshots below to view the entire picture.

1) Login to your tenant as an Office365 Global Administrator.

2) On the left side, expand Admin and click Skype for Business.

3) From within the Skype for Business Admin Center, on the left side, click Voice.

4) On the menu at the top, click the Port Orders tab.

clickonnumberporting

5) Click I’m ready to create a port order. If you plan on porting more than 999 phone numbers, review click How to open a support ticket

PortOrdersscreen

6) The New Local Number Port Order wizard will display. Review the Before you get started information and click Let’s get started

 beforeyougetstarted

7) On the Account Information screen, fill out the form using the information you gathered prior to starting. Note: the information must match EXACTLY what’s on file at your carrier. When finished click Next

 Accountinfo

8) On the New Local Number Port Order screen, enter the phone number you wish to port. If porting a range, review the instructions on screen. When finished click Check number portability. This process will validate the port eligibility of the phone number(s) you entered.

NewLocalNumberPortOrder

9) On the Transfer Date screen, select the date/time when you would like the port order and transfer of phone number(s) to be executed. Click Next

transferdate

10) On the Letter of Authorization screen, review and if you consent to the terms, check the boxes and enter your electronic signature. Click Next.

 letterofauth

11) On the Notifications screen, enter any additional email addresses to notify during the port order process. For example purposes I entered my personal email address. When finished click Submit Port Order

OtherPeopletoNotify

 12) Review the Next Steps and click Close when finished.

 orderisbeingprocessed

13) You will be returned to the Port Orders tab. Notice the port order you just submitted has a status of Contacting Carrier

 

 PortOrderStatus

 

14) A confirmation email will be sent to the notification email addresses that you specified:

EmailConfirmation

15) The entire porting process will take a few days to a week to complete. Once the port order has been approved by your existing carrier, you will receive the following email. Review the next steps in the body of the email and save the Order ID incase you need to reference it with support in the future.

Important: Review # 3 from the next steps email to ensure continuity of service once the port has been completed.

portorderapprovedemail

16) From within the Office365 Skype for Business Admin portal, on the Port Orders tab notice the port order you submitted has changed to the Transfer Approved status.

approvedinportal

 

17) When the porting process is finished and the telephone number transfer is complete, you will receive the following email:

TransferCompleteEmail

 

Your phone number(s) are now ready to be used for live calling. Refer to the How to Enable Cloud PBX & Modern Voice blog post or Next Steps Email for details on how to assign the phone number to a user and set emergency calling locations.

 

 

 

Enable Cloud PBX & Modern Voice (PSTN Calling) in Office365

In this post we will discover how to enable Cloud PBX & Modern Voice in Office365, that will allow a Skype for Business user to send and receive phone calls on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and have access to PBX features. Total time 5-10 minutes.

What is Cloud PBX & Modern Voice (PSTN Calling) in Office365?

To put it simply, Cloud PBX provides enterprise voice functionality to Skype for Business users in Office365 with the following features:

  • Calling using the Skype for Business mobile app
  • Call hold/retrieve
  • Call transfer
  • Call forwarding
  • Camp On
  • Distinctive Ringing
  • Simultaneous Ringing
  • Voicemail
  • USB peripherals (such as a USB phone)
  • Delegation (Boss/admin)
  • Team Call
  • Basic Call Policy

What are the requirements?

To enable, you must meet the licensing requirements. See Skype for Business Online Licensing Overview for details.

Note: If the proper licenses are not assigned, when managing the voice properties of a user the follow error will be displayed:

“This Skype for Business online feature either isn’t set up for your organization, or it isn’t available at your location”

How Do I Enable?

1) Login to your Office 365 tenant as an administrator

2) From the left side of the Office365 Admin Center, expand Admin and click Skype for Business.

3) From the menu on the left select Voice

4) From the Phone Numbers tab, click the + sign to add a new phone number to the pool.

5) On the New Numbers screen, select the State and City of where the users that will be enabled for voice are located. If the location of where your users are not located, choose the closest location. Type the number of phone numbers you wish to acquire in the Quantity field  and click Add

Note: Below is another example, if multiple phone numbers will need to be acquired:

PhoneNumbers

6) Click Acquire Numbers to complete the task. Please allow a few moments for this to process. Note: The task will time out after 10 minutes.

Note 1: You can reserve up to 10% more phone numbers than you have licenses for. For example, if you have purchased 100 licenses, you can reserve 110 phone numbers.

Note 2: Supported geographic, country/region and area codes where you can get phone number from for PSTN calling

(For information on how to transfer (port a telephone number) to Skype for Business Online CloudPBX in Office365, please see the following blog post: Port a Phone Number to Cloud PBX in Office365  )

7) You will be returned to the Phone Numbers tab and the newly acquired numbers will be displayed in a list.

8) Click the Emergency Locations tab and click the + sign to add a new location.

9) In the fly out window on the right side, complete all fields and click Validate. This will validate the entered address with the Master Street Address Guide (MSAG).


Note: The system may display the following message during address validation. Confirm the address you entered is correct and/or confirm the newly modified address is correct and click Save.

IMPORTANT: For more information on Emergency Locations and Emergency Calling (911) please refer to the following article: What are emergency locations, addresses and call routing?

10) You will be returned to the Emergency Locations tab where the new address is now listed. Click the Voice Users tab.

11) Check the box next to the user you wish to assign a phone number to, using the fly out on the right side of the screen, click Assign Number.  (If needed click the magnifying glass to search for the user)

12) Using the fly out on the right side of the screen, click the drop down menu under Assign Number and select the phone number you wish to assign to the user. Next, under the Associated Emergency Location section, search for the city that is associated with the phone number you are assigning using the Find City search box. Then select the Emergency Address from the drop down menu and click Save. This will associate the emergency address to the phone number (this can be changed later).

Note: You may need to browse back to the Emergency Locations tab to find the correct city name, if the MSAG changed the city to an abbreviation (e.g. SD for San Diego)

13) Read the Emergency Address Disclaimer pop-up completely. If you understand and agree, click Agree. If you do not, click Decline.


 


14) You will be returned to the Voice Users tab. Notice the new phone number and it’s associated Emergency Location assigned to the user. (The Emergency Location associated with this user can be modified by clicking the Change button)

15) Enablement and configuration is now complete. To validate, login to a Skype for Business desktop client as the user.

Note: Basic call testing can also be performed using the mobile client for iOS, Android or Windows Phone.

16) Click the Dial Pad, type a telephone number and press Enter to dial the number.

17) Skype for Business will dial the number and will connect the call. Once connected, note the various call control features such as Hold and Transfer. Also note, the Devices button which allows you to switch between USB devices (such as a headset to speakerphone). Clicking the Invite More People button will allow you to add another Skype for Business user or telephone number to the call and will immediately turn into a conference call with the conferencing feature set (see How to Enable Cloud PSTN Conferencing in Office365 for more information on the available features)

Note: The user’s presence will change to In a Call

 


Note
: If performing a test call from the Skype for Business Mobile App on a smartphone, similar in-call features will be available. The following screenshot is from an iPhone displaying the features available while in a current call.


18) Hang up the call. Next let’s test voicemail. Place a test call to the new phone number assigned to the user, and leave a test voicemail message.

19) Logon to the user’s mailbox using either Outlook or Outlook Web App. The new voicemail message will arrive as a new email in the user’s inbox. The message will be in the form of an .mp3 audio file attached to the message.

20) On the Skype for Business client from within the Dial Pad screen click the voicemail icon. This will allow you to setup voicemail, configure your voicemail greeting, or call Outlook Voice Access to listen to your voicemail messages.

21) From within the Skype for Business client, click the gear icon   to access the Options dialog box.

22) Click Call Forwarding on the left side. This will display various options related to Call Forwarding or Simultaneous Ring with advanced options for Team Call and Delegates.

That’s it! Cloud PBX and Modern Voice is that easy!

Have a Polycom VVX VoIP phone you would like to connect to Cloud PBX? Follow the instructions here: Connect Polycom VVX Phone to Cloud PBX in Office365 (Skype for Business Online)

Stay tuned for additional blog posts on advanced configuration such managing voice features using PowerShell. Enjoy!

How To Enable Cloud PSTN Conferencing in Office365 in Skype for Business Online

In this post, we will discuss how to enable Cloud PSTN Conferencing in Office365, assign to a user account and test. Total time required is 5-10 minutes.

What is Cloud PSTN Conferencing?

Cloud PSTN Conferencing is a feature in Office365 E5 offering the capability to join a Skype for Business meeting using a traditional dial-in telephone number as an alternative to using the Skype for Business client on a PC or smartphone. This will allow the meeting attendee to participate in the audio only portion of the meeting.

This can also be used independently of Skype for Business as a traditional conference bridge, a useful scenario when the full client experience is not desired or inaccessible.

What’s Required?

To enable, you must have:

  • An Office365 tenant
  • A E5 subscription (either trial or purchased)
  •  At least one user account located in the tenant
    • Assign the user the full Office365 Enterprise E5 license, or the Skype for Business PSTN Conferencing license.

How Do I Enable It?

1) Login to your Office 365 tenant as an administrator

2) From the left side of the Office365 Admin Center, expand Admin and click Skype for Business.

3) From the left side of the Skype for Business Admin Center click Dial-In Conferencing.


 

4) Click the Microsoft Bridge tab

5) The phone numbers in this list are all available conference bridge telephone numbers available to you.

6) Click the Dial-In Users tab.


7) Check the box next to a user you wish to assign a dial-in conferencing number to and click the pencil icon.

8) This will display the user’s dial-in conferencing properties. From the Provider Name menu select Microsoft

9) Microsoft will be assigned as the dial in conferencing service provider for this user. From the Default Number menu select a default dial-in conference telephone number for this user. This number will be used on all meeting invitations sent by this user. Note the check box to allow unauthenticated callers to be the first people in a meeting. When finished click Save

10) Please allow a few moments for the changes to be saved. When complete, the following dialog box will display confirming the dial-in conferencing provider has been changed to Microsoft and the Conference ID and PIN that have been assigned to the user. Click Close

11) Next, let’s run a test to see the new dial-in conferencing number. Launch Outlook as the user. A new email message has been sent by Office365 informing the user they have been enabled for Skype for Business Dial-In Conferencing and contains the telephone number to access conferences, their personal conference ID and their organizer/leader PIN.

12) Login to the Skype for Business desktop client on the PC as the same user that was enabled for Dial-In Conferencing. Within Outlook, click New Items then click Skype Meeting. This will create a new Meeting Request that is Skype enabled.


 


13) In the body of the Meeting Request contains the dial-in telephone number that was assigned to the user, along with the conference ID. This conference ID will be entered when dialing into the meeting using this telephone number.

Important: The conference ID will stay the same for each new meeting that is created.

14) Open the Skype for Business desktop client, and from the options menu (gear icon) select Meet Now:

15) Click the ellipsis icon (three dots) and select Meeting Entry Info


16) The dial-in telephone number will be displayed along with the Conference ID. This can be useful if needing to rely the information to a meeting you are currently joined to. (Alternatively clicking the Invite More People button will allow you to type a phone number, Skype for Business will automatically call that number and add the participant to the meeting – no need to enter a conference ID!)

That’s it! Now, let’s explore the administration of Cloud PSTN Conferencing in Office365:


1) Return to the Skype for Business Admin Center in the Office365 Admin Portal

2) Click on Dial In Conferencing on the left

3) Click the Microsoft Bridge Settings tab

4) From here, the following can be configured:

  • Entry and Exit notifications can be enabled/disabled.
  • Asking callers to record their name prior to joining the meeting.
  • Configuring the PIN length.
  • Send users to email when changes to their dial-in conferencing settings are modified.

 

 There are also personal meeting options the user can configure, from within a new Skype Meeting within Outlook:

 

1) Click Meeting Options from the ribbon.

2) From the Permissions tab on the left, note the various items that can be configured by the user such as Lobby settings, who get’s marked as a presenter and any features of the meeting to limit. These settings are only applied to this specific meeting, however, clicking Remember Settings will save these settings for each new future meeting.

Finally, it’s important to note that if a new user is created in Office365 and assigned a Skype for Business PSTN Conferencing License, the user will automatically be enabled for dial-in conferencing, no configuration is required.

Cloud PSTN Conferencing is that easy! Who would have though conference bridges would be this easy in the cloud?

Enjoy!

–Matt