You’re in a conference call while at the airport on your iPhone, and the meeting starts to discuss that important PowerPoint slide or document. You say “I’ll have to show you when I get back to my desk”. It would be really nice if you could share it from your iPhone while in the meeting. Well – now you can, with Microsoft Teams!
Teams enables you to share the entire screen of your iOS device when in a Microsoft Teams meeting! Watch the below video to learn more! Enjoy!
Have you been on a conference call where everyone turns on their video, except for you? If you’re like me, I don’t like to turn mine on because of the messy house, or just ugly office behind me. Well – Microsoft Teams has you covered. You can now blur your background when in a conference in Microsoft Teams! You can now use video, and not worry about what’s behind you. Watch the below 90 second video to learn more!
Presenting in a virtual meeting to a large audience using audio, video and a PowerPoint deck can be a difficult and challenging thing. Not only does the technology have to work, but you also need to ensure your physical environment is well prepared. The last thing you want to have happen is an interruption from the kids, the dog or the delivery guy let alone interruptions on your computer’s desktop such as instant messages, emails and other things that your meeting audience can see as you share your desktop to present your deck. Luckily, Skype for Business has you covered for virtual meetings! When you are in a conference in Skype for Business and need to share a PowerPoint deck with your audience, there are a couple options to do so.
I’m going to take you through both options, personally I prefer option 2 because of the flexibility (and power) it offers for me as the presenter.
Option 1: Share your desktop
This involves sharing your desktop or a single application (i.e. PowerPoint) during the Skype for Business conference (meeting). This is a fast, efficient and frictionless way to share your content with the audience, but does have some disadvantages:
Prone to disruptions on your desktop or within the application:
- Incoming email, instant message, phone call, etc.
- The application may crash, not respond or freeze thus delaying the meeting.
- Incoming email, instant message, phone call, etc.
- You are not able to multi-task during the meeting (although we shouldn’t be, this is often the reality) such as taking notes or participating in a back-channel instant message with the team.
- The audience is not able to review the PowerPoint deck on their own.
- More network bandwidth is used.
- When in full presentation mode, may be unable to see conference call controls (i.e. mute).
Here’s an example of sharing your desktop during a meeting:
Example of a disruption during desktop sharing (see lower right corner, incoming instant message):
To share your desktop, simply click the icon and select Share Desktop (easy enough).
Note: Sharing an application is also an option, but has some similar disadvantages such as the incoming instant message will be a black window – but can still be interpreted as an incoming instant message thus perhaps sending the wrong (distracting) message to your audience.
Option 2: Online Presentation (“Share PowerPoint” a.k.a upload PowerPoint). There’s a better way!
The advantages of this method allow you to not only to hide disruptions from your audience, but also offers them a way to fast forward the slides on their own and then return to the presenter’s view. This option also uses less bandwidth than desktop sharing and you are not at mercy of the application should it want to crash or stop responding on you – providing the best possible presentation experience for your meeting. There’s two ways to accomplish this during a meeting a) Share PowerPoint within Skype for Business or b) “Present Online”
Sharing within the Skype for Business Meeting involves clicking the icon and selecting Share PowerPoint Files:
This will upload the PowerPoint file to the Skype for Business meeting. Depending upon file size, this may take a few moments. I recommend joining the meeting a few minutes before it starts
The PowerPoint is now in the meeting, and the presenter has access to slide notes, thumbnails and can progress the slides:
The second method, Present Online, involves sharing the slides from directly within the PowerPoint application itself. This may be useful if you are not exactly sure where the file is stored but already have it open on your computer, or simply because the application is already open.
To perform this method, from within PowerPoint on the Slide Show tab click Present Online and select Skype for Business:
Select the current Skype for Business meeting that is in-progress (Note, a new “meet now” meeting can be launched from here) and the deck will be uploaded to the meeting:
This is the view the audience will see once the deck has been uploaded to the meeting:
Note, if Megan was a presenter, she would also be able to see slide thumbnails/notes and have access to the button to take over as presenter.
A really cool advantage of presenting using this method enables the attendee to download the PowerPoint file. Click on the icon and selecting Manage Content displays the manage content dialog box for all content during the meeting:
Clicking on the icon allows you as the presenter to configure permissions for who can download the file:
If “Everyone” is selected, as an attendee, clicking on the and clicking the icon allows you to save the file locally (or save the file with annotations):
Conclusion: Depending upon your situation “uploading” the PowerPoint deck to your meeting might be the better option enabling the flexibility to multi-task, give attendees a better experience (i.e. less bandwidth), reduce your risk of the application crashing and disrupting the meeting, enabling attendees to view slides and notes at their own pace (if given presenter rights), and lastly my favorite feature: enabling the attendees to download the PowerPoint deck.
Enjoy and good luck presenting!
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.
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
- 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″ ?>
<supportedRuntime version=”v4.0″ sku=”.NETFramework,Version=v4.5″ />
<add key=”Relay.IP” value=”220.127.116.11″/>
<!– 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″/>
A description of the configuration fields that you can modify:
If Not Specified
IP address to reach the relay server. MUST be a valid IP address string.
Tool will fail.
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.
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.
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.
Number of audio calls to make. These will be made serially (no concurrency).
Takes value of 1.
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.
For the output file in “ResultsFilePath” (if specified), this is the separator for each column in the output file.
Takes value of <TAB>.
Time to wait between consecutive calls.
Takes value of 5.0s.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
- Microsoft Message Analyzer available for download here
- Login to Skype for Business on the computer where Microsoft Message Analyzer is installed.
- Launch Microsoft Message Analyzer as an Administrator
From within Microsoft Message Analyzer, click the Start Local Trace button:
- 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.
- On the Skype for Business end, generate audio traffic by speaking into the microphone for 30 seconds.
- On the far-end (i.e. the PSTN) generate audio traffic by speaking into the microphone for 10 seconds.
- When finished, hang up the call.
Return to Microsoft Message Analyzer and click the Stop button on the top toolbar:
- 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 18.104.22.168) 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.)
In this post we will discover how to configure Toll-Free Numbers for Dial-In Conferencing in Office365. Total time 5 minutes.
What is Dial-In Conferencing? (a.k.a. Cloud PSTN Conferencing or CPC)
Please see the following for more information: How To Enable Cloud PSTN Conferencing in Office365 in Skype for Business Online
What are the requirements for Toll-Free Numbers?
- You must meet the licensing requirements. See Skype for Business Online Licensing Overview for details.
- PSTN Consumption billing is required. See What is PSTN Consumption billing? for details. If PSTN Consumption billing is not purchased, you will receive an error message when attempting to acquire toll-free service numbers.
- For more information on Toll-Free numbers, see Getting Skype for Business service phone numbers
How Do I Configure? (Click on the images to zoom in if needed)
- Login to the Office 365 Admin Portal as an administrator by browsing to http://portal.office.com.
- On the left side, hover the mouse cursor over the icon and select Skype for Business.
3. Within the Skype for Business Admin Center, on the left side click Voice.
4. Within the Voice section, the Phone Numbers tab will be displayed. Click the + sign.
5. You will be presented with two options 1) New User Numbers 2) New Service Numbers. Click New Service Numbers.
6. On the Add New Service Numbers section, from the State/Region drop down menu select Toll-Free. In the Quantity field, type the amount of numbers you wish to acquire. When finished, click Add.
7. In the Toll-Free, United States section, click Show Numbers to see the toll-free number that will be acquired. When finished click Acquire Numbers.
8. You will be returned to the phone numbers tab. Locate the new toll-free number that was just acquired in the list, and check the box next to it to display it’s details:
9. Click Assign. Review the configuration on the fly out then click Save.
10. You will be returned to the Phone Numbers tab. Confirm the number has been assigned on the right side.
Congratulations! You have successfully configured Toll-Free numbers in Office365! The next section will demonstrate how to test.
11. Create a new user account and assign the Office365 E5 license to the user. Allow time to pass for the user account to be enabled for Skype for Business.
12. Return to the Skype for Business Admin Portal. On the left side click Dial-In Conferencing.
13. Click the Dial-In Users tab. Click the user account you just created. Confirm the Default toll free number for the user is the number that was previously acquired.
14. Create an Outlook profile for the user account you just created and launch Outlook to connect to that user’s mailbox. Launch Skype for Business and sign-in as that user account.
15. From within Outlook, create a new Skype Meeting.
16. In the body of the Skype Meeting, confirm the toll-free number is displayed.