About Me

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TsooRad is a blog for John Weber. John is a Skype for Business MVP (2015-2018) - before that, a Lync Server MVP (2010-2014). My day job is titled "Technical Lead, MS UC" - I work with an awesome group of people at CDW, LLC. I’ve been at this gig in one fashion or another since 1988 - starting with desktops (remember Z-248’s?) and now I am in Portland, Oregon. I focus on collaboration and infrastructure. This means Exchange of all flavors, Skype, LCS/OCS/Lync, Windows, business process, and learning new stuff. I have a variety of interests - some of which may rear their ugly head in this forum. I have a variety of certifications dating back to Novell CNE and working up through the Microsoft MCP stack to MCITP multiple times. FWIW, I am on my third career - ex-USMC, retired US Army. I have a fancy MBA. One of these days, I intend to start teaching. The opinions expressed on this blog are mine and mine alone.

2013/05/23

Logitech Wireless Headset Dual H820e Device Review

Disclaimer:  Logitech provided the device.

This article also applies to the Mono H820e. The Mono H820e appears to be identical with the exception of being only a “one-ear” setup.

What it is

The Logitech Wireless Headset Dual H820 is a DECT stereo wireless headset that has an “Optimized for Microsoft Lync” label on the box. Logitech is claiming this compatibility but the Microsoft website has not updated in a while – March 2013 appears to the be last device list update.

What the hell is “DECT” you might ask?  I know I sure did.  Here is a little blurb on DECT .  If you are just DYING for information on DECT, try this.

The documentation that came out of the box with the device was very minimal.  You can also get the documentation online.  With such minimal documentation and the claim that no software is needed, I expected to be able to just fire this thing up and ride off into the sunset.  Let’s find out.

What’s in the Box

photo

Well, there is a bit more that comes out of the box, but I did not think you wanted to see some fuzzy pic of the Safety or Setup Guide.  Setup was dirt simple.

Does it Work?

Following the aforementioned voluminous instructions, I plugged it in, let it charge a bit, stuck the USB cable into the base and into my USB hub, and voila!  Turns out that the minimalistic documentation was minimal for a reason.  Nothing more is needed. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

image

But how does it work?  Audio quality was excellent.  Lync functions were immediate.  Lync controls or headset controls muted, volumed, answered, and hung up.  And the each device respected the other’s button clicks or pushes.  The headset provided aural tones to indicate button pushes.

I used Pandora to play music through the headset.  Musically, I think it could use a bit more bass.  My daily standard is a Logitech H650e – and the musicality of that device is MUCH better.  However, how many out there in device review reader land use their business headset to listen to music?  And, the wired headset has a major negative – that wire thing.  The H820e let me wander all over my expansive office space and down the hall, and up the stairs, and out into the parking lot.  I add also that in my kitchen visit, a certain microwave device did not affect the H820e at all – something that causes my Bluetooth device all sorts of disconnects and other audible issues.

Let’s talk noise cancellation.  Wowzer!  I was on a conference call with NYC and Appleton.  I had to crank my stereo waaaaay up, and then the folks on the conference could only barely make out that the music was playing.  Nice!  Whatever Logitech is doing with that slice of life they are doing very well.  Overall, the voice quality – both directions – on the H820e is in the upper range of the the “superior” category. I give the audio for the H820e a solid 9.5 on the TsooRaD scale.  With better musical response, I would give it a 10.

The Controls

The controls are raised up from the surrounding section of the unit.  This makes them very easy to find.  Once I actually read the instructions which clearly showed what button was what and where, I had no issues and each button functioned as expected.  The charging base is a solid piece of kit.  I do mean solid. The headset, while attached to my gourd, was comfortable, the boom is adjustable, and there is a little red light on the back of the boom so people behind you can see if you are stopping at the intersection on a call.

Conclusion

The Logitech H820e both Binaural (really?  BINaural – why is that term with a “N” in it? Why not just say stereo?) and the Mono are excellent devices with excellent construction, fit, finish, and with audio in the superior category.  My limited test is continuing even as I type this – and it would appear that all Logitech claims for features, function, and audio quality are well stated. You can get one right here.

YMMV

2013/05/16

Static MAC addresses in Virtual

With the advent of more and more virtualization, and virtualized appliances, you may run across a situation where you need to assign a static MAC to a specific VM. Some virtual appliances use the MAC of the virtual NIC to figure out their licensing, so this would be a perfect example of needing to set a static MAC for the virtual machine. If/when the image moves inside the resource pool or is manually moved to a different host, if the MAC is not static, there is the specter of the VM losing the existing MAC and having a new one assigned. At this point the virtual appliance may lose its’ ability to use the license that was keyed to the MAC on the original load. The answer is to set a static MAC for that virtual machine. As a side note, you may also need to pay attention to doing this license process with only ONE NIC assigned to the VM.

For the VMware addicts:

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-4-esxi-installable-vcenter/index.jsp?topic=/com.vmware.vsphere.esxi_server_config.doc_41/esx_server_config/advanced_networking/c_setting_up_mac_addresses.html

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=219

For the Hyper-V folks:

http://www.solution-soft.com/whitepapers/Microsoft-VirtualServer-StaticMAC/Microsoft_Hyper-V_Static-MAC-address.htm

For the Server 2012 Hyper-V users, the actual screens change a bit… here is a zippy screen shot.

clip_image001

YMMV

2013/05/10

Plantronics Blackwire C720-M Device Review

Disclaimer:  Plantronics supplied the device

Normally, I like to take a bit of time to play with something.  Not this time.  A winner right out of the box.

And it answers the call when you put the headset on.  And paired with my cell phone.  A corded device that connects USB to my laptop for my Lync work that pairs to my cell also?  Were these people reading my mind?  Solid-to-outstanding audio quality.  Hooked up with Lync 2013.  Optimized for Lync.  Inline module buttons worked as expected, adjustable almost everything, comfy.  The only complaint I have is that the microphone boom is on the inside of the headband.  Which is being nit-picky.

Awesome.

Just go get one

YMMV

2013/05/09

Plantronics Savi W440-M Device Review

Disclaimer:  Plantronics provided the device

The Plantronics Savi W4440-M is a DECT device that works very well.  You can read the official market-speak here. It comes out of the box with a plethora of choices in wearing style:  headband over the top, wire-bandy thing around the back of your head, and a customization kit for doing the single ear thing with in-ear choices.  If you cannot find a fit using this device you must be an X-Man or other mutant.

Minus the AC adapter and the quick-start guide, here is what comes out of the box. 12 different in-ear fitting options should provide something for everyone.

photo 1

Here is my mug with the in-ear setup.

photo 2

Build quality appeared to be first rate, audio quality was great.  In the complaint department, the “over the head” head-band gave me a headache and made me feel unbalanced.  My SO says I am unbalanced by nature, but that is a different discussion.

Lync Integration

As with other Plantronics devices, this thing just worked right out of the box.  I plugged in the dongle (to a USB hub port no less), waited an inordinate amount of time for the headset battery to charge, and wala!  It worked.  Lync picked it up right away, I did nothing special and the Savi W440-M was up and working.  While taking calls, the volume button worked as expected.  I “discovered” – primarily because I only read the documentation if I can’t work it out myself – that the volume button pushes in to provide muting.  Ha!  The Lync client recognizes the headset button pushes and displays status as desired.  Again, I did not play with the suggested software download.  And again – for my usage level, I did not need it – Lync recognized and used the device to my satisfaction.

Range Issues

I had what appeared to be pretty good range.  I went to the far end of my office space (my yard) and only at the far corners did the audio start to break up.  If you use the software (see above) you can change the range settings.  I was using whatever comes out of the box (see the online user guide) and should have had 300 feet of unobstructed range.  I don’t think I got quite that much before experiencing audio quality issues – after the fact I measured a 125 foot straight line to where the quality was dropping off.  Who knows what was between me and the dongle at that point, but at least one set of coated windows and insulation.

Summary

Range issues aside (and really who needs to go to the corner market while on a call?) the Savi W440 is a very nice device.  And the range issue could very well be my environment.  Usability, wearing comfort, Lync integration (Optimized for Lync), and build quality all point to this being a great choice for your next headset.

YMMV

2013/05/08

Connecting Lync 2013 and Cisco Jabber

UPDATE:  I have published a new article on connecting SfB and Jabber using XMPP and Cisco Express.  See that new article here:  http://tsoorad.blogspot.com/2016/10/sfb-jabber-via-xmpp-cisco-express.html


Many thanks to John Gizel.
Lync 2013 now has a built-in XMPP gateway.  If you look closely, there is an XMPP component running on both the Lync FE and the Lync Edge.  Very easy to setup.  Simply hit the box for XMPP Gateway in Topology Builder, and when you deploy the server roles, the XMPP will be installed along with everything else.  Sweet!
But, how do we configure this thing?  There are a variety of guides on setting up for GMail.com – Google Chat. But what if you need to federate with another entity that is running – literally – Cisco Jabber (you know that CUPC thing).  There are two methods, one for doing the internal-share-the-namespace thing on 5061, and another for using XMPP across port 5269.  The second method is for our scenario: the other entity is completely outside of your control.
To configure Lync 2013 to share a SIP namespace with Cisco Jabber – see this document. To be totally fair, Cisco would have you follow this document when transitioning Lync users to Jabber – but I have never seen that sacred event occur.  I am sure it does, and will in the future, but the usage I have seen from this document is to get intradomain SIP namespace sharing instantiated.  Microsoft has excellent documentation for getting the XMPP setup for general purposes, and prescriptive guidance for federating with Gmail.com.  For this article, I am going to gloss over some of the aspects of that guidance; no need for me to re-invent (re-write?) the wheel.  What I will show is how to configure the basics, and then we will take a look at how to help your business partner configure their Jabber setup.
Let’s take a look at what is involved with getting Lync 2013 XMPP configured to federate with an external SIP namespace hosted by another organization and is using Cisco Jabber.  We will need Topology Builder, Lync Control Panel, maybe some PowerShell (depends on your whim), some external DNS work for your namespace, some external DNS work on your federated partner’s namespace, a little firewall configuration (on both namespaces).  If this was Christmas time, we’d also want to work with the partridge in the proverbial pear tree.

Lync Setup

As hinted at above, if you do this before you deploy any servers, at this point all you need to do is complete your topology, and when you publish and deploy Lync 2013 Servers, the bootstrapper will setup the XMPP functionality.  If you have a topology already deployed, and are enabling XMPP after the fact then you will need to do a bit more work.  Perhaps now would be a good time to review your certificate requirements.  Hopefully you planned in advance and are doing this before you deploy.  This is one of the reasons I wrote the following:  http://blogs.technet.com/b/nexthop/archive/2012/12/11/ten-tips-plus-one-for-implementing-lync-server.aspx. Take a look at items 1, 2, 3, and 6.
If you have Lync servers deployed and the XMPP is going to be added in, the Lync 2013 documentation has some excellent guidance that I will not attempt to re-write.  You can read that guidance here. Be sure to follow all the links provided in the table as they lay out the requirements for enabling XMPP.
Certificate requirements on your Lync 2013 Edge pool will be simplified if you do all of this before you deploy.  This is because the certificate wizard will see that XMPP is desired, and will populate the certificate request with your domain name. If you have multiple SIP domains, make sure that all of them that need XMPP federation are listed on the certificate request.  For the curious, all that is needed for the XMPP piece of the certificate is the domain name:  tsoorad.net, domain.com, etc.
Here is my Lync 2013 Edge certificate – you can see where the SAN has an entry for just the domain name. And yes, I included AV on my certificate even though that name is not needed. You can also see that I use this certificate for my Reverse Proxy (a TMG at this point in time).
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In the Lync 2013 Topology Builder, open the properties of the your site, and then select  the check box “Enable XMPP Federation.”
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From there, go to your Lync 2013 Edge Pool and edit the properties. What you want is the “Enable XMPP Federation for this Edge pool (port 5269) to be checked.
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Next, publish the topology and either deploy the servers or update the servers. The official documentation referenced above has explicit guidance for doing either action.  You did read all that, yes?

DNS Internal

For XMPP support, the internal DNS is unchanged.  Your clients will communicate with the FE servers as normal.

DNS External

Whatever you do, don’t forget to create an _xmpp-server SRV record in your external DNS. The SRV definition is this:
_xmpp-server._tcp.domain.com with a target of your access edge A record. 
In DNS-speak, this is seen as:
Name
TTL
Weight
Priority
Port
Target
_xmpp-server._tcp.domain.com
3600
0
0
5269
sip.domain.com
In my case:  _xmpp-server._tcp.tsoorad.net which points at sip.tsoorad.net.  Port requirement is 5269.

Firewall Requirements

5269 open in both directions.  Simple and sweet.  But!  Be sure to configure the firewall to pass 5269 to and from all possible Lync 2013 Access Edge IP addresses.  To whit, if you have a DNSLB Edge, then at a minimum you will have two IP addresses that will need to be bidirectional for port 5269.  If you have an HLB Edge, then the number goes to three minimum.  Failure to observe this requirement may result in random behavior.

Lync Control Panel

Once you have your server deployed, the edge server deployed, your firewall configured, and all the certificates are correct, open up your Lync Control Panel and go to the Federation and External Access tab so that we can create the settings for your Jabber federation.
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First, make sure that the external access policy that applies to your users at whatever level have the “Federated User Access” selected, and that the Access Edge Configuration allows “Federated user access.”
image  image
Now, lets add our partner’s SIP domain in so that the Lync Edge thinks it is OK to at least attempt to communicate with the other domain.
Select the “XMPP Federated Partners” tab and click on “New.”
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Fill in the blanks (literally) with the information required.  What is shown here is what I know works.
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Note that the “Partner Type” here reflects the following:
  • Federated   A Federated partner type represents a high level of trust between the Lync Server deployment and the XMPP partner.  This partner type is recommended for federating with XMPP servers within the same enterprise or where there is an established business relationship.  XMPP contacts in Federated partners can:
    1. Add Lync contacts and view their presence without express authorization from the Lync user.
    2. Send instant messages to Lync contacts whether or not the Lync user has added them into their contact list.
    3. See a Lync user’s status notes.
  • Public verified   A Public verified partner is a public XMPP provider that is trusted to verify the identity of its users.  XMPP contacts in Public Verified networks can add Lync contacts and view their presence and send instant messages to them without express authorization from the Lync users.  XMPP contacts in public verified networks never see a Lync users’ status notes.  This setting is not recommended.
  • Public unverified   A Public unverified partner is a public XMPP provider that is not trusted to verify the identity of its users.  XMPP users on Public Unverified networks cannot communicate with Lync users unless the Lync user has expressly authorized them by adding them to the contact list.  XMPP users on public unverified networks never see Lync users’ status notes.  This setting is recommended for any federation with public XMPP providers such as Google Talk.
You will want to set this to what your organization requires.  This setting is “tiered” in the setting is most open at the “Federated” level, and most restrictive at the “Public unverified” setting.  For the unverified, your users will need to add the federated contact into their Lync contact list before expecting to be able to IM with the remote Jabber user.  This is roughly equivalent to the settings for a PIC provider verification level.

PowerShell

One of the things you are most likely to want to set, especially if you have more than one Edge server in either DNSLB or HLB, is the “DialBackPassphrase.”  This is done with the Set-CsXmppGatewayConfiguration cmdlet.  One setting fits all.  There is a default setting, but I like to set it manually to make sure it is set.  The command looks like this:
Set-CsXmppGatewayConfiguration -DialbackPassphrase Tsooraddialback
With the results looking like this:
image
Here is the list of XMPP related cmdlets. 
Get-CsXmppAllowedPartner
Get-CsXmppGatewayConfiguration
New-CsXmppAllowedPartner
Remove-CsXmppAllowedPartner
Set-CsXmppAllowedPartner
Set-CsXmppGatewayConfiguration
Test-CsXmppIM
Note that there is a “test” cmdlet.  I recommend that you try that out before you proceed much further.  A complete description and usage for the Test-CsXmppIM cmdlet is here.

Setup XMPP Federated Partner

Now that our Lync 2013 XMPP is configured and published with Topology Builder, you deployed the servers (or modified them), changed your external DNS, modified your firewall, and changed your cert, have established your Jabber federated domain, and tested your setup, we can look at helping your Jabber friend with their setup.  The following is based on CUPC Server 8.6.1.
First, make sure that the partner has their external DNS SRV record correct.  You may want to inquire about their firewall and port 5269 at the same time.  Your bottom line is that until you can do the following from your Edge server, you have no hope of success.
image
Likewise, your Jabber partner must be able to do the reverse.  Here is how my lab looks to the world:
image
Go to the CUP Server and under Presence, Settings, check these boxes, especially the email one.
image
Under Presence, Inter-domain Federation, XMPP Settings, set to this: (ignore CUPC 7.0 support)  (note:  I did not configure the secret-take the default)
image
Then go to: Presence, Inter-domain Federation, XMPP, Policy and set as desired:
clip_image001
Then go to Messaging, Group Chat Server Alias Mapping and add all of the email domains your CUP server supports:
image
Restart all of the XCP services (but better to reboot the server if possible)
 

Down Here at the Bottom

We have looked at how to setup Lync 2013 XMPP Gateway and how to configure a Cisco CUPC 8.6.1 to Jabber to Lync across port 5269.  A few key take-aways:  DNS, certificates, firewalls, and prior planning.
YMMV

2013/05/06

Plantronics Voyager Legend UC Device Review

Dislcaimer:  Plantronics provided this device.

I had an excellent English professor back a few decades ago. His mantra was “do not use 100 words when 10 will do.”  Decoded, that means keep it short, simple, and to the point.  Accordingly, this is the short version of my Plantronics Voyager Legend UC device review.  This is actually the third version.  The first version was long, had pictures, and rambled about with features, contents of the box, yada yada yada. My second version was about three sentences. This, then, is the third version – with some contents of the first version and the three sentences of the second version.

Background

A Bluetooth device for your cell phone (and Lync) becomes, to a large degree, how well the device fits your ear/head, and how well it integrates into your life and usage.  Face it, after you get the device setup, and connected, all of the devices on the market operate pretty much the same.

However, there are some choices that make life easier to deal with.  For instance, in-ear or on-ear – I am an “in-ear” user – I don’t like the way the “on-ear” flops around.  The Voyager Legend is an “in-ear” – and it comes with a choice of ear-thing sizes.  There are some "in-ear” devices that just plug into your ear like you are a secret agent, but they tend to flop around also.  The Voyager is not only ‘in-ear” but it also goes around the back of your ear. Very comfortable (to me). 

What comes in the Box

What I have in front of me appears to be a retail box with a label identifying the contents as “Voyager Legend UC, B235-M, NA”  Part Number 87680-1.  Apparently made in April 2013 – well, it has a date code.

Here is your single picture for this article:

image

Notice the THREE different chargers… wall outlet to USB, USB cradle thingy, USB Cable to magnetic doohickey that fits the earpiece and a FOURTH option – the case.  The case holds the earpiece, and the USB dongle – and it can be charged so that you have a fully charged earpiece (good for 7 hours and a boatload of standby) and the case can recharge the earpiece twice. Yowza!

For informational purposes, I deliberately drained my earpiece and used the case to recharge – never had an issue.  And while we are on that subject, I got an honest 6+ hours of talk time; I had to TRY and run the battery dead. Nice, Nice, NICE! There is software to download from Plantronics to do something with this device – but I never did anything with it, never downloaded it.  No need when I got my required functionality with the OOBE.

Lync

I wish there was room for fault, but plugging the USB dongle into my laptop resulted in Windows 8 and Lync 2013 starting to use the Voyager Legend.  It DID take about 30 seconds to work the first time through.  Apparently you cannot have the device operate Lync and my cell phone at the same time.  There!  A complaint. 

Conclusion

Did you wonder where the three sentences from the second version were?  Here they are, truncated to what was simple, and direct:  IMHO, what a great piece of gear.  I guess I am down to only seven words in one sentence being required.

YMMV

What Vacation Taught me

I took vacation this year; a formal thing with travel, schedule coordination, planned activities, and days full of interacting with others. ...