Kevin Kieller
Kevin Kieller is a partner with enableUC, a company that helps measure, monitor and improve UC and collaboration usage and...
Read Full Bio >>

Kevin Kieller | February 29, 2012 |


Is Lync Really that Simple?

Is Lync Really that Simple? Knowledge, experience, and detailed planning are necessary to prevent your Lync implementation from becoming excessively complex.

Knowledge, experience, and detailed planning are necessary to prevent your Lync implementation from becoming excessively complex.

Several weeks ago I wrote, "Is Lync Really that Complicated?" wherein I concluded that:

1. A Lync voice solution for a small office could in fact be deployed on a single server, and
2. Lync is not any more complex than any comparable solution from other vendors.

In short, those portraying Lync as excessively complicated do so not based on facts but more likely out of misunderstanding or simply competitive "selling".

On the other hand, is Lync really that simple?

Delivering reliable real-time traffic, which includes voice and video, over a network can be complicated, especially if the network has not been designed for real-time traffic.

Lync supports a number of communication modalities, such as instant messaging and presence along with desktop sharing, which are not as sensitive to network issues. In fact, installing and using Lync for instant messaging and presence is almost always simple.

Things get a little more complicated if you want to allow users from remote locations or from different organizations to share IM and presence (called federation). But quite frankly, setting up a Lync Edge server and dealing with public certificates and firewall issues is only of moderate complexity.

Where I see customers underestimate the complexity of Lync is when it comes to reliable delivery of voice. Lync is a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution and like all VoIP solutions, whether they are from Microsoft, Cisco, Avaya, Mitel or any other VoIP provider, an appropriate network infrastructure is required.

Problems most typically arise when an Exchange Engineer or Active Directory Engineer or Sharepoint Engineer undertakes a Lync voice project. With Lync, knowing other Microsoft technologies helps, but having voice engineering experience is essential to delivering a reliable solution.

Much has been written about the pros and cons of Lync's adaptive voice and video codecs. In the beginning, back in the days of Office Communication Server (OCS, the precursor to Lync), Microsoft made it almost seem as though through the magic of the RTAudio and RTVideo codecs, any network would do. This is not the case. Microsoft has since published a number of detailed planning documents that help you ensure your network can meet the requirements for voice and video.

Reliable voice and video delivery requires that these real-time packets be treated as "special" on your network. This involves prioritizing or implementing Class of Service (CoS) on your LAN and Quality of Service (QoS) on your WAN connections. CoS and QoS are broad topics that require proper engineering and testing to ensure they have been properly implemented. Without functional, tested CoS/QoS, you cannot deliver reliable voice or video.

Sometimes in order to implement CoS/QoS, your existing switches and routers may need to be upgraded. If your network equipment is six or seven years old, some upgrades may be required. Even newer devices may pose some issues and even the newest devices will likely need to be configured (and then tested) to ensure CoS/QoS is being properly applied.

Using VoIP solutions, including Lync, with wireless networks often poses special challenges. Prioritization of packets on wireless networks is often handled differently than on wired networks; and depending on how many wireless access points you have, users moving around can be subject to interference and access point saturation (when many users are in the same area), all of which degrade voice quality. In most environments, a guaranteed level of voice quality can only be provided through a wired connection.

While you cannot fully control the experience of remote users because they are operating on an "unmanaged" network segment, perhaps at home or more likely from a Starbucks, you can set expectations appropriately with your users. This is where the adaptive nature of RTAudio truly helps to try and preserve an acceptable quality of voice in most circumstances. However, users should be warned that sometimes network issues will prevent reliable remote voice calls. The new Lync client introduced a number of user messages that try and warn users when network quality is problematic. From a remote location, a user can also quickly "Check Call Quality" ahead of a call using a simple tool built into the Lync client.

If you plan to deploy IP telephone sets with Lync, you will likely want to make use of Power over Ethernet (PoE), where the handsets derive power from the data connection (as opposed to requiring a separate AC power adaptor). Sometimes this requires you to upgrade your switching equipment to support PoE. Sometimes using PoE devices may also require you to upgrade your Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) units so that in an event of a power failure your phones remain working for a period of time.

Lync, like all voice solutions, requires voice engineering experience. Make sure you have these skill sets on your implementation team. If you are not already running voice over your IP network, do not assume your network can reliably deliver real-time traffic; router and switch upgrades may be required; the need for network configuration changes and testing is almost certain.

Knowledge, experience, and detailed planning are necessary to prevent your Lync implementation from becoming excessively complex.

If you are thinking about deploying Lync in 2012, please join me at Enterprise Connect in Orlando on March 26th at 4:15 PM when I will be hosting a Living with Lync session sharing experiences of those who have chosen to implement Lync. We will explore what was "simple" and what was "complex" in various Lync deployments.


Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem

Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

December 13, 2017

The two major vendors in the Unified Communications space, Cisco and Microsoft, are both strongly promoting their cloud UC deployments. If cloud UC is on your enterprises roadmap, but you dont want

November 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.