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Lync/Skype for Business to Skype Connectivity Update

This blog post highlights the changes that Skype for Business have brought to Lync/Skype for Business to Skype (Consumer) Connectivity. It’s intended to correct and update the following articles to the current functionality: 

In this article, we will discuss the following items:

  • Federation with Skype IDs
  • Skype Directory Search
  • Skype Consumer and Skype for Business compatibility matrix

Skype IDs

Since the release of Skype for Business, Microsoft has changed the way you connect to Skype accounts.

Previously, Skype users were required to associate the Skype ID with a Microsoft account. This was quite cumbersome because all Skype users would have to update their account, and if someone didn’t complete the association, he couldn’t connect from Lync/Skype for Business to the Skype Account.

When Skype for Business was released to the general public (GA), Microsoft made a welcome change to the way connectivity works. The new connectivity is based around Skype IDs and does not require the association with a Microsoft account. The new “@skypeids.net” domain is added to the Skype ID to create a valid SIP Address SkypeID@skypeids.net.

The following table highlights the differences in Federation type and SIP Address that is used for the Skype Federation.

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The following screenshot displays the Federation capabilities with skypeids.net domain for Skype interop.

Screen_Shot_2015-06-09_at_6.49.29_PM

Note: Based on my testing, I found the following to be working:

The new skypeids.net domain does not require Skype for Business to get it working. If you are using Lync Server 2010 or 2013, you can also use the new skypeids.net domain.  

Unlike Skype for Business, searching for Skype IDs does not work in Lync Server 2010 or 2013 (more on this in the next section). 

Skype Directory Search

Skype Directory Search is a feature that is only enabled if you have Skype for Business installed on both the Pool you are homed on and the EDGE Server used by the Skype for Business Pool. The Skype Directory Search is not available if you are running Lync Server 2010 or 2013 on the Pool you are homed on or the EDGE Server that is used by the Lync Server 2010 or 2013 Pool.

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The Skype Directory Search is available on all Skype for Business online tenants, and all tenants have been updated to Skype for Business. If you have enabled Skype Federation, this capability is available without any further configuration.

Skype Directory Search functionality allows Skype for Business users to search for Skype contacts. The search functionality lets users: 

  • Search by display name (e.g., “John Doe”) — This could return many results, so you might not find what you are looking for.
  • Search by display name plus location (e.g., “John Doe in Barcelona”)— This will narrow the search results down considerably.
  • Search by email (e.g., “johndoe@outlook.com”) — This should return one result in most cases: the one that matches the specified email. But if the same email is associated with more than one account, multiple results may be returned.
  • Search by phone number (e.g., “123-123-1234”) — This should return one result in most cases: the one that matches the specified phone number. Phone numbers must include the country code (i.e. 1-xxx-yyy-zzzz). If the same phone number is associated with more than one account, multiple results may be returned.
  • Search by Skype ID (e.g., “JohnDoe1456”) — If an exact match is found, it will be returned as the first result. Other possible “name” matches may be returned.

This screenshot shows the Skype Directory Search capabilities:

Screen_Shot_2015-06-09_at_6.55.18_PM

To enable this feature for Skype for Business on-premise, you need to do the following tasks.

  • Configure Federation and PIC (highlighted in blue below).
  • Configure at least one policy to support federated user access.
  • Configure the Skype PIC provider setting.
  • Enable Skype Federation Search (highlighted in red below)

The following screenshot highlights the required configuration for Skype Directory Search to work: 

Screen_Shot_2015-06-09_at_7.59.56_PM

The Skype-Skype federation search is enabled by a new web service that’s hosted on the Skype for Business Front-End Pool. This new web service connects over port 4443 to the EDGE Server where the Search is relayed to the Internet. (That’s why you need both Skype for Business Front-End Server and Edge to get this working.) Port 4443 is not a new Port you need to configure on your firewalls; this Port is already used for Central Management Store replication to the Edge Servers, and this feature reuses the Port to additionally perform the Skype Directory Search. 

Clients and Interoperability Matrix

It’s still important to understand that not all clients have been updated with all capabilities. Take a look at the following tables to understand the capabilities of each client.

Skype consumer interop with Skype for Business

The Skype Consumer client had previously enabled video calling for version 7.0 in December 2014, then 7.1 in January 2015. But now, it requires version 7.3 for the video calling capabilities.

Make sure your Skype (Consumer) Desktop is updated to version 7.3.:

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Skype for Business interop with Skype consumer

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For more information, visit “Deploy Skype Connectivity in Skype for Business Server 2015” by TechNet.