Monitoring Sonus SBC peak SIP calls

Determining the number of SIP channels to licence in your new SBC is often based on an educated guess. Many customers migrating to SIP from ISDN have been historically over-resourced for ISDN channels as their carrier (at least here in Oz) typically forces multiples of 10 channels so as to sell a 2MB PRI ISDN as a 10, 20 or 30 channel service. With luck your carrier can provide traffic figures, or a “busy hour” high water mark to note the highest number you’re expected to reach.

Having made that leap of faith you might be a little uneasy when it goes into production, but if you’re using a Sonus SBC 1k/2k/SWe you’ll be comforted to know it keeps a 25-hour rolling window so you can keep an eye on the call breakdown.

From the System / Licensing / Current Licenses page, click “Historical Usage” in the menu bar at the top:


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Complex Passwords OK in Cloud Connector Edition 1.4.2

Fixed in this week’s release of Cloud Connector Edition 1.4.2 is an issue where complex characters in your O365 password will prevent CCE from operating (or upgrading) successfully.

You’re prompted to provide O365 Admin credentials with the “Register-CcAppliance” step of the CCE installation process. This commandlet *will* accept a complex password without error, however if you look in “C:\Program Files\Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition\ManagementService\CceManagementService.log” you might see things aren’t going so well:

CceService Error: 0 : Unexpected exception when reporting status to online: System.Management.Automation.CmdletInvocationException:
Logon failed for the user Please create a new credential object, making sure that you have used the correct user name and password. 
---> Microsoft.Rtc.Admin.Authentication.CommonAuthException: Logon failed for the user'. Please create a new credential object, making sure that you have used the correct user name and password. ---> 
Microsoft.Rtc.Admin.Authentication.CommonAuthException: Failed to logon with given credentials. Make sure correct user name and password provided. ---> Microsoft.Rtc.Admin.Authentication.IdcrlExtendedException:

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Lync 2013 Server Update – March 2017

This March update takes the server to 5.0.8308.987 from January’s 5.0.8308.984. Only two components need updating this time ’round.

What’s Fixed?

At the time of writing, the Updates for Lync Server 2013 KB page hasn’t had this new content added. Check that link or back here in the coming week and I’ll retrofit the fixes into  this post…

What’s New?

As above, although no new PowerShell Commandlets materialised following its installation.
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Lync 2013 / SfB 2015 Client Security Update – March 2016

By my reading it’s been 5 months since our last security update to the Office 2013-based Lync/SfB client, and this one takes us from 15.0.4903.1001 to 15.0.4911.1000. It’s listed as Critical as there’s the risk of remote code execution.

Kb 4013075 “This security update resolves vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Graphics Component on Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Skype for Business, Silverlight and Microsoft Lync. These vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user either visits a specially crafted website or opens a specially crafted document.

To learn more about the vulnerability, see Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-013.

What’s Fixed

This security update also contains fixes for the following nonsecurity issues:

  • Kb 4013150 EWS connection issue after migrating mailbox to Exchange Online Dedicated vNext in Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013)
  • Kb 4013149 Update to support dedicated URLs of Black Forest and ITAR in Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013)

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Installing the Sonus "SWe Lite"

Sonus announced the SWe Lite at Ignite in the US late last year and we’ve been anxiously awaiting its arrival. Well, IT’S HERE!

The SWe Lite is the “Software Edition” of Sonus’ well-established Enterprise-grade Session Border Controllers, the SBC 1000 and SBC 2000.

I’m particularly impressed with the look and feel. At a quick glance it’s indistinguishable from a 1k or 2k:

SWeLite-ChannelMonitor Calls

The GA build supports up to 100 SIP calls, 25 transcoded or encrypted sessions and a call setup rate of 10 calls per second. It’s a faithful port of the SBC we’re familiar with, so includes the bulk of the features we’ve come to rely on for years including the powerful AD integration & the invaluable real-time channel monitor (shown above).

Notably absent is inbuilt Music On Hold, although we’re assured that’s coming soon. Check out the datasheet or the page “Functional Differences Between SBC Edge and SBC SWe Lite” for more of the engineering and feature specifics.

Sonus is letting an “unlicenced” SWe Lite carry up to 5 ordinary SIP calls or 3 encrypted/transcoded calls – more on that below. In the screen-grab above I’ve established 3 calls successfully over TLS to Skype for Business and a failed fourth call attempt is what generated the “Failed to acquire licence” you can see in the Alarm View.

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SfB "Cannot park call right now"

I’m on record saying Call Park is my favourite PABX feature, and its great that we have it available to us in Skype for Business.

“Parking” a call transfers it off to a “holding bay” where the caller hears MOH until such time as someone retrieves the call. If they’re left waiting too long a timeout returns it to the party who parked it.

In SfB you initiate the process by clicking Transfer, then selecting “Park the call”. All going well the call vanishes to places unknown and is replaced with a message to say “the call is parked”, and a special “Orbit” number you – or anyone – can dial to retrieve it.

Its utility eclipses that of a simple call transfer when you don’t actually know where you need to transfer the call to, or if you want to securely (or secretly) manage the process. It’s the perfect answer for a range of scenarios:

  • The attendant can park a call for someone and then over the Public Address system announce who the call’s for and at what call park “Orbit” number they’ll find it.
  • In the absence of a PA system anyone can park a call for someone, jot the Orbit number on a post-it note and personally seek out the recipient, thrusting the retrieval code into their hand.
  • It’s a more relaxed approach to an “announced (supervised) transfer”: park the call, IM the recipient and type the park location into the IM. When they’re composed and ready to take the call they retrieve it from where it’s parked.
  • Staff in open-office environments can use it to easily move a sensitive call from their shared workspace to the privacy of a meeting room. The advantage of Call Park over Transfer in this scenario is that they need not know the name of a nearby room or even if it’s occupied: just park the call and wander around until you find a safe space.

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Installing SEFAUtil Server

Tips, tricks and traps

There’s an old joke that goes “Q: Why do people take an instant dislike to <InsertNameOfUnpopularPolitician>?” “A: It saves time”. And so it is with SEFAUtil.

Without doubt SEFAUtil is an indispensable utility. “Secondary Extension Feature Activation Utility” – to give it its full name – ships in the Lync and Skype for Business “Resource Kit” (“ResKit”) download pack. When correctly integrated into the topology it gives support staff the ability to query, set and cancel all manner of call-forwarding and team/delegation settings from the comfort of their cube, without needing to visit the user or reset their AD password in order to do it remotely (after signing in as that user). It’s a godsend when someone goes on leave unexpectedly or has a catastrophic PC failure with an urgent incoming call pending, and as equally helpful when configuring the settings for executives and other ‘sensitive’ users.

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SfB 2015 Server Update – February 2017

This February 2017 update takes the server from 6.0.9319.272 to 6.0.9319.277 & updates 5 components on my Standard Edition Front-End.

What’s Fixed?

  • Kb3212371 Skype for Business Server 2015 installer can’t update necessary drivers (Media Relay driver)
  • Kb3209571 LastActive attribute provides inaccurate information about a user’s presence status in Skype for Business
  • Kb3209570 You can’t set mobile phone number if it matches work phone number in Skype for Business Server 2015
  • Kb3209569 Display name in contact cards is not returned in Skype for Business Server 2015
  • Kb3209568 Add Push Notification support for Skype for Business for iOS and Android clients in Skype for Business Server 2015
  • Kb3209567 Add a flag to the Web.config file to allow Join Launcher to accept across-domain anonymous meeting join requests
  • Kb3209566 Skype for Business Server 2015 installer may fail silently in Windows Server 2016
  • Kb3209565 Enhanced 911 (E911) calls don’t work through the non-Windows authentication in Skype for Business
  • Kb3209563 Update reverts the Application Sharing Server (ASMCU) changes in CU4 in Skype for Business Server 2015
  • Kb3207037 UCWA may crash when parsing the ms-trunking-peer header in Skype for Business Server 2015

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Lync 2013 / SfB 2015 Client Update – February 2017

Our February update fixes a handful of issues in the Office 2013-based Lync/SfB client (KB3161988), and in so doing it takes us from 15.0.4893.1000 to 15.0.4903.1001.

What’s Fixed

This update fixes the following issues:

  • Kb4010268 Make High Importance IM messages more prominent in Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013)
  • Kb4010264 “Search Chat Room History” pushes OK/Cancel buttons off the bottom with controls in Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013)
  • Kb4010266 The Pin/Unpin button on the screen doesn’t work when you present desktop in Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013)
  • Kb4010267 The GC roster defaults to 200px in Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013)
  • Kb4010269 The long-term fix for Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013) crashes when you receive a content from a third party RDP implementation
  • Kb4010270 The location won’t be published after you update it in VDIv2 in Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013)
  • Kb4010265 Group membership isn’t synced when you enable the External Identity Manager for SharePoint 2013

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Lync 2013 Server Update – January 2017

This January update to Lync Server 2013 primarily addresses an E911 issue introduced in November. If you’ve updated to 5.0.8308.974 or 5.0.8308.977 (the November and December updates) and use E911, you should consider applying this update with a sense of urgency. It takes the server to 5.0.8308.984.

What’s Fixed?

  • Kb4010079 Emergency call (E9-1-1) fails in Lync Server 2013
  • Kb4010078 You can’t dial voice mail number from Lync or Skype for Business client in Lync Server 2013
  • Kb4010080 “The row has different number of columns than header row.” error when you run the Post Move Cleanup Tool in Lync Server 2013
  • Kb4010237 Move-CsLegacyUser cmdlet fails after you install April 2016 cumulative update in Lync Server 2013
  • KB4010081 You can’t rejoin the media of a meeting after a long disconnection in Lync Server 2013

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