Author Archives: C. Anthony Caragol

AudioCodes End-of-Support for Version 6.8 Effective July 1st, 2018

Many of my customers treat their AudioCodes Mediant (MSBG) IP gateways and session border controllers in a sort of set-it-and-forget-it way.  Once it’s set up, it’s just runs, no reboots, no troubles.   Not necessarily a great idea from a security standpoint, but it’s stable.

Well, for those still on version 6.8 (or any pre-7 version really) it’s finally time.  Per AudioCodes Product Notice #0328 https://www.audiocodes.com/media/12936/0328-product-notice-end-of-support-for-gateway-sbc-software-ver-68.pdf support is ending as of July 1st, 2018.  That means no more support, scheduled maintenance, or fixes will be provided.

One small item to note, if you have an MSBR, which has additional routing capabilities, 6.8 will continue to be supported.  I supposed because I believe there’s no newer firmware supported for those guys, though I’ve heard there’s a way you can convert the device to an MSBG if you’re willing to leverage AudioCodes services to do so.

 

Quick Tip: Quickly Set Skype Services to Disabled or Automatic Delayed Start

There may be time where a system was improperly maintained and the services are left in a disabled state, or perhaps you’re performing maintenance and you need those services to stay in a disabled state.  Rather than going through them one-by-one and changing the startup-type, here’s a quick PowerShell command you can run to flip all Skype for Business or Lync Server services from Disabled to Automatic (Delayed Start) and vice versa.

To set all Skype and Lync services (not including SQL and IIS) to Automatic (Delayed Start) run the following PowerShell command:

get-service |where {$_.displayname -match “Skype*|Lync*”}|foreach {$mycommand=”sc.exe config $($_.name) start=delayed-auto”;invoke-expression -command $mycommand}

To set all Skype and Lync services (not including SQL and IIS) to disabled run the following PowerShell command:

get-service |where {$_.displayname -match “Skype*|Lync*”}|foreach {$mycommand=”sc.exe config $($_.name) start=disabled”;invoke-expression -command $mycommand}

 

Reminder: Quarterly Teams and Skype User Groups

Quick reminder for those of you in the Chicago area, tomorrow night is our quarterly Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business user group.

These are always fun and valuable, and a great place to network with your peers and make those relationships.  Vendors and local experts attend regularly as well so it’s a place to get those questions answered too!

This time around there are two sessions, the first I’ll be presenting on Advanced Phone System capabilities for Teams and Skype for Business, the second will be around Bots and development capabilities for all of Microsoft UC.  Should be a ton of fun!

To register or to find other local groups visit http://www.teamsug.com

Please note this meeting will be held at the Downtown Microsoft Office in the Aon Building (200 E. Randolph, Suite 200).

New Tool: Microsoft Teams Bulk Policy Tool

I recently found myself in a position with Microsoft Teams where I had to make changes to multiple teams at once, the problem was that the team naming convention in use by the client was practically random as they let their users govern themselves.   Finding and selecting them in PowerShell or via the Admin Console was too much trouble.  If you’re curious, certain groups needed to be locked down in terms of custom memes and Giphys but I won’t say more than that.

The client had more than they wanted to approach one-by-one and wanted my help building a script.  To finish the job, we did a simple hardcoded script but I went away wanting something more flexible.  This is the result.

You’ll want to install the Teams PowerShell module to get started, you can check out the following site to get started:  https://www.powershellgallery.com/packages/MicrosoftTeams/0.9.0

Next steps for this script, are the ability to add an owner or a team member to multiple groups quickly, and a few other niceties that I had in mind.  Please let me know if you’d like to see anything added and I’ll do my best to get it in there.

Visit here to download a copy, and I’m not afraid to beg for that 5 star rating.  If you don’t like it, let me know and I’ll fix it.  Thanks!

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Teams-Bulk-Policy-Editor-790a686b

BREAKING NEWS!!! Standard Edition Front End Back in Skype for Business 2019/vNext

BREAKING NEWS…

I officially have permission from Microsoft to reveal to you that the Standard Edition role is BACK IN Skype for Business 2019.  If you remember, at Microsoft Ignite last year it was confirmed that this version would be removed and the only option for Front End pools would be Enterprise Edition.  It’s not just small organizations that use this role, very large enterprise corporations also use it in smaller branch offices where survivable branch appliances (SBA) just aren’t a good fit.  While it is possible to have a single front end in an Enterprise pool, a full version of SQL was still required, which could be costly in small organizations and even branch office scenarios.

I want to give a special thank you to Microsoft for reconsidering this feature, and all of you that voted and commented in the feedback link below (though you don’t need to anymore).

https://www.skypefeedback.com/forums/299913-generally-available/suggestions/31729714-add-the-standard-edition-front-end-role-to-skype-f

If you’re curious or weren’t aware that the role was removed initially, you can watch the Microsoft Ignite event where the removal was first announced here:

https://myignite.microsoft.com/videos/53241

 

 

Catch me on TeamsRecap

TeamsRecap (if you don’t subscribe you should) is MVP Josh Blalock’s video series that keeps you up to date on Microsoft Teams and Skype and walks through what the news is and what it means.  It’s a convenient way to keep up to date if you find the constant announcements of new features a bit too much.  Honestly, Teams is one of the fastest developing projects I’ve seen at Microsoft and they are keeping true to the roadmap and hitting those dates.  Josh’s show is very interesting to watch, super valuable, and an easy way to stay current.

Josh was kind enough to let me visit for one of his shows, and I want to thank him for that.  It was a fun time and a great experience.

Thank you Josh!

 

 

What happens when I call 911 from my Skype for Business or Teams mobile client?

Now that calling in Teams is GA, you may be wondering, what happens when you call 911 with Microsoft Phone System using a desk phone or full client?  I cover that in more detail in another blog post, but basically the call is intercepted by a certified 911 operator and they confirm that you’re in the location assigned to you in the portal before delivering your call, if not, they correct it and get you to the correct emergency dispatch (PSAP).

But what if you’re using your mobile client with Skype for Business or Teams?  It doesn’t matter if you’re in the cloud or not, if you’re using Microsoft as a telephone provider or not (though this is the only way to get Teams), that call will go through your cell phone provider.

Why?  Well, there’s a few reasons.  The first is simply that it’s an external connection, and we can’t locate you (no LIS or location information service) if you’re connected through an Edge server.  But in the cloud EVERYONE is connected through an Edge server and there’s no dynamic location services yet anyway.  Well, Microsoft assumes and rightly so, that your cell phone’s GPS is going to do a better job of locating you than whichever service you may be employing.

Too afraid to test out E911 calling on the mobile clients?  No problem, I did it for you!

Here we are making a call from the Skype for Business Mobile client.  This is an iPhone, so once you hit the call button, it sends the call to the mobile phone which asks me to confirm the call by hitting the Call button again.  Once I hit that, I’m on the line with police using my mobile phone only.

And now that calling is available in Teams, let’s make the same call from the Teams Mobile client to make sure they didn’t forget this important feature.  Of course they didn’t, and it’s the exact same experience.

It’s always important to test E911 services with any solution.  However, to avoid fines and to simply be considerate, please call your local dispatch’s non-emergency number first and ask permission to find out if it’s a good time.  In some metropolitan locations you will need to schedule your test calls in advance to avoid fines.  In the suburbs, they don’t always have many calls happening and you may be OK to make that call immediately after you ask permission.  When they answer, remember that your first statement should be that the call is not an emergency, but rather a test.  Ask them to provider the phone number and location you’re calling from to validate your deployment, and ALWAYS BE POLITE!

 

Changing CNAM in Microsoft Phone System for Teams and Skype

This is a question that has been asked by several of my clients, so I thought I’d address it here.  When you’re using Teams or Skype for Business with Microsoft as a telephony provider, whether with an international or domestic calling plan, the outbound call appears as your Office 365 domain name or city.  For example, when I make an outbound call, it looks like the call is coming from Caragol.com or sometimes Chicago, IL depending on how the lookup is performed.

This is your CNAM or Caller-ID Name.  To be clear, caller ID refers to your phone number, while CNAM is the name associated with the caller ID.

The question is, can you change it?  The answer is yes but not via PowerShell or the Admin Console.  If you need to change it, you’ll need to send an email to PTN@Microsoft.com, the number porting team.   You’ll want to send your text string of no more than 15 characters to them.  If you have multiple, you can send them in XLS format with the number in one column and the new CNAM in the other.

Hopefully this helps you out if you find yourself in this situation.

Microsoft Phone System: You’re not set up to use this calling feature

This has come up with a few of my hybrid clients, and it’s not very clear error message so I thought I’d take a minute to post about it.

Issue: You make a call with Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business and instead of reaching the recipient, you hear “You’re not set up to use this calling feature.  Please contact your admin.” from the Diagnostic Announcement Service.

This can arise in a few scenarios.  Scenario 1 is when you’re using Microsoft as you’re telephony provider.  You have Microsoft Phone System licensing and a valid calling plan, but you’re hearing this message.  This typically is due to the user not having a phone number assigned.  If you do have a phone number assigned, try un-assigning it and re-assigning it.

Scenario 2 is the hybrid scenario.  This is where the client is using Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) or OPCH (effectively Lync or a Skype for Business Server on-premises handling hybrid voice).  In this scenario you don’t want a phone number assigned.  I’ve often found that the client has assigned a Domestic Calling Plan or even left Communications Credits enabled as a license for the users.  Disabling the calling plan and/or credits should get the user back to functional.

Oddly enough, I’ve got a client that has most users enabled with communications credits, but a only a small percentage receive the error.  I haven’t worked that out yet past removing the communication credits licensing from their accounts.

Reminder: Quarterly Skype and Teams Users Groups

Quick reminder for those of you in the Chicago area, tomorrow night is our quarterly Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business user group.

These are always fun and valuable, and a great place to network with your peers and make those relationships.  Vendors and local experts attend regularly as well so it’s a place to get those questions answered too!

We’ll be talking about some of the new announcements from Microsoft Ignite as well as talk about what Intelligent Communications is and what the future holds.

To register or to find other local groups visit http://www.skypeug.com

Please note this meeting will be held at Microsoft in Downers Grove  (3025 Highland Pkwy., Suite 300).