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Customer demand for dial-in conferencing is well established. A wide variety of vendors such as WebEx, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, Fuze, and Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007 have this capability. In short, delivering dial-in conferencing is a marketplace requirement and our goal with Lync Online is to deliver the best possible dial-in conferencing experience. Unfortunately, Lync Online integration with audio conferencing providers is often misunderstood.
It is important to keep in mind that the actual dial-in conferencing portion of the process is performed by our audio conferencing partners, while the Lync Online component is delivered by Microsoft. Microsoft engineering groups worked tirelessly with selected partners to validate backend connections between our datacenters and audio conferencing providers to ensure excellent call quality. Front end integration with the customer environment is dependent on audio conferencing consultants working closely with their customers to understand the needs of each unique customer environment.
This article walks you through the process configuring dial-in conferencing for Lync Online. Basic online instructions are described in the article Configure dial-in conferencing . I’ll expand a bit on this existing information, and share some pointers to make the process easier.
Smaller customers usually acquire a contract from a provider through the Office 365 Marketplace. Larger customers often work with an account team or a sales representative from their existing provider. In case you were wondering, the marketplace is thriving with lots of great partners. Check it out by exploring audio conferencing partners on the Office 365 Marketplace .
To begin, you must configure your DNS for Lync Online. You do this when you configured Lync Online. Configuring your DNS is well documented in the online help see Set up your network for Lync Online . It is possible, however, to overlook the fact that DNS entries must be configured before audio conferencing integration is added.
The first entries are CNAME records that clients use to find Lync Online when the user’s SIP address is entered into Lync.
The other two are SRV records that are required to get the integration between Lync Online and the audio conferencing provider to work.
You can see my DNS entries for these in my online DNS provider’s interface:
After DNS is up and running, you can integrate Lync Online dial-in conferencing.
Dial-In Conferencing with Lync Online
When users, who have a dial-in conferencing account, organize a meeting, a conference bridge is automatically added to their online meetings. A number is assigned to their account and that number is automatically assigned to the Lync Online meetings they create. On the backend, the system schedules the number in the audio conferencing provider’s system authorizing the minutes to be used. Lync Online users, who do not have a number assigned, are considered authenticated attendees, but they cannot schedule dial-in conferences. These users can interact with the dial-in conference, for example mute attendees, but they can’t schedule a new meeting. Anonymous attendees can join through PSTN and appear in the meeting roster.
Assigning a dial-in number for a single user is a straight forward process. From the Microsoft Online Portal, navigate to the Lync Online management tool, and then go to User management.
The User management screen is where you assign a single user as a meeting organizer or assign multiple users as meeting organizers. To assign a single user, select the user and open their Lync properties. At the top of their Lync properties, you can configure their account to Make audio and video calls and to Record calls and conferences. At the bottom of the configuration screen, you can select an audio conference provider and type in phone numbers and passcodes for the provider (note: it is important to enter only the numbers as the screen shot shows and avoid any dashes, dots, or parenthesis). The user is now configured as a meeting organizer. Save the user profile.
When there are too many users to manually update number assignments, an alternative option is to bulk-add users. This process entails exporting users to an xml file, then forwarding the file to your conferencing provider for updating. To export the file, select the users to export and download the file.
Your conferencing provider will add the correct dial-in numbers, conference codes, and personal identification numbers and return the file to you. Go to the Lync Online Control Panel and import the file. After import, these users are able to schedule audio conference calls integrated with Lync Online meetings.