Jabra Updates

Jabra has had a couple of updates of late for Jabra Direct, the software for managing Jabra endpoints on your desktop and updating firmware’s.  The one in March had a minor update with the Avaya Equinox 3.0 addition to the softphone list.  The other one in January was definitely of more interest:  Release Notes:

  • Preferred Software Settings e.g. Evolve80 for Skype for Business, Jabra 510 for Skype
  • Support for Noise at Works standards for Evolve and Stealth’s for providing additional noise protection.
    • Basic PeakStop protection against sound spikes
    • IntelliTone average daily audio exposure
    • Australian acoustic safety guideline (G.616)

I have not had any firmware update issues in the last couple of years.  I never bricked any before, but sure came close on the older software and models.  Still kind of miss my Biz 2400, hopefully my past customers/users are still happy with that model too.

Currently I enjoy an Evolve 80.  While a little on the heavy side and crushes my hair, the sound is phenomenal for noise cancellation and music.  You do need the Jabra Direct software to enable Optimize audio for Music mode.  IF you haven’t updated the firmware on your Evolve 40/80, you definitely want to.  There was a noticeable improvement in the Dec 2016 3.0.0 update with the audio.  I had the occasional pop, and a low end static.  Probably most people might not have noticed, but my bat-ears did.

Oh look a bird…  I remember one day getting unusually irritated at work, couldn’t figure out why.  I leaned back to try and calm myself and gather my head.  I then realized that my laptop was emitting and high pitched ennnnnnnnnnnnnnnh sound, kind of like the most annoying sound in the world as performed by Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber.  No one else could hear it, but I could.  I started turning things off, and ended up turning of my Bluetooth.  Bingo.  Wth.  I can hear water dripping in another part of my house, someone touching the thermostat, and electronics dying apparently.  Drives my wife nuts what my ears are tuned into.

March 8, 2017 firmware 3.1.0 was released for 40/80’s.  Enjoying it right now, zero complaints.

Other recent updates that I could find:

  • Speak 810 – 2017/01/25 v1.4
    • Improved microphone performance
    • minor bug fixes
  • Stealth – 2016/12/09 v1.29
    • Fixed an issue where the LED in some cases did not turn on when charging
  • Evolve 65 – 2016/12/12 v2.0
    • Feature and stability improvements

 

 

SpectraLink 84-Series Update

Spectralink appears to be putting in a concerted effort to stay in the game, so to speak, releasing a new firmware two days ago for their Spectralink 84-Series.  Of course they are the only wireless handset in the Skype/Lync realm these days.  The 3 most recent firmware releases have been Skype for Business focused, though there isn’t any specific color branding and the “Base Profile” is still Lync, but under Contacts it does say Sfb Contacts.

With previous builds I had problems with two-way audio when using the 2.4 Ghz WiFi band, that issue appears to be gone for me with 5.2.2.1128.  Both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands are working great now, with naturally longer range on 2.4 band.

Calendaring functionality with Exchange Online appears to be working well, so it does working somewhat with Office 365.  Currently I do not have a Skype Online account to test against for full Office 365 compatibility.  The Solutions Catalog does not list the device as Office 365 supported but that last validation check appears to be in 2013, but at least Voice Mail and Calendar integration with Exchange Online works well and an on premises Skype for Business deployment.

There have been a number of changes which can be found in the Release Notes, but most notably are listed below:

  • DND can be removed from menus
  • Implement new alternative ICE stack into 84xx replacing previous implementation with confirmed equivalent functionality between ICE stacks
  • Corporate Directory Refresh corrected when Contacts entries update their Presence
  • updated to clarify Contact/Call List menu options (Local/SfB/Corporate/Call Lists)
  •  SimRing to PSTN prevents call transfer (Corrected)
  • SRTP/RTP No Audio when have SimRing enabled (Corrected)
  • No call to series connected RGS Workflows (Corrected)
  • Ability to turn off backlight of display when in charger

I think my only wish list item would be to disable the IM functionality, and have it just be a wireless Skype phone.

Eye Care

So a bit of a diversion off the usual technical track that I felt like sharing about, eye care.  I’m sure there are a few people who are reading this blog that have been in front of a computer screen longer than I, 20+ years, but for you juniors who are just coming into the industry, I can’t stress this enough, take care of your eye’s.

Recently I came back from vacation, having been away from a screen and down in the bright sun of Mexico for a week.  I was mainly wearing my Ray Ban, polarize, prescription sunglasses and sat down in front of my 3 LED screens, and fairly quickly my eyes started to hurt.  My shades were handy, so I put them on for a bit to see if that would help.  It did.  With some perspective, I do wear glasses all the time and I have that Crizal Prevencia anti-glare coating/blue blocking, it blows.  I personally will not get this brand of anti-glare again.

I’m one of those “nut jobs” who wears their sunglasses when it’s pouring rain or a snow blizzard when driving, cause yes, you most definitely can see farther and also not suffer from eye fatigue near as much when having to drive under adverse conditions.  Use your brain though, dark is dark,  wearing your sunglasses at night makes you a douche.

I also could not stand using those old CRT screens (pre-LED, pre-LCD for you noobs) running at 60 Hz, the flickering drove me nuts.  I only lost the flicker at 80 or higher.

Oh look a bird…  Anyway, the polarized lens really helped looking at the screen, but this isn’t really a viable solution.  I started to look around and came across this Ted Talk on how technology is killing our eyes, which led me to IRIS Mini.  Iris isn’t the only product around, this page here lists a number of them including SunsetScreen, f.lux, Redshift, PC SunScreen and G.lux.

I am not a reseller, just sharing my experience.  Iris Mini is all that I am using.  It adjusts the color temp and brightness of my monitor relative to my location (latitude mainly), time of year and time of day.  Through out the day the color temp changes, significantly before sunrise and after sunset.  The difference has been significant and remarkable, significantly lowering eye stress and strain.

Not saying that this will solve world hungry, but for the last month my eyes have felt great even after a long day of computer geeking.

Additional eye and desk tips:

  • Stretch your eyes, regularly look at something more than 50 feet away and different lighting levels
  • Blink
  • Regular eye exams
  • in dry climates, find a good quality eye drop
  • Find your comfortable focal distance and setup your desk accordingly.  Typically in the 20-40 inch range, with a good viewing angle.  An arms’ length can be an easy guide.
  • Apply good sitting posture, bad posture strains everything
  • Use a mouse that fits your hand.  I have a RAT7 just so I can make it large enough for my hands
  • Ergonomic keyboard.  I’m 6’4 and wider then any keyboard.  Smurfs out there may not need anything other than a normal keyboard, they can keep their elbows in enough, I can not.  I’m actually on my 2nd MS Natural 4000, I’ve tried a few other, but the 4000 has been the best thing for me for the past 17 years now.
  • Get out of your chair, walk the dog, climb some stairs, get the heart moving.

Healthy Computing link for more useful tips.

 

Skype/Lync MobileApplicationExpiryTimeInDays

The Skype/Lync Mobile Client and Simultaneous Ring can create an interesting situation.  When you sign into a Skype Mobile Client you are prompted to enter in the phone number of the device, this is to prevent PSTN calls going to your cell phone via SimRing while your Skype Mobile Client is signed in.  When you sign out of the mobile client, then calls to your cell phone would resume because that “Endpoint” with the cell phone number is no longer a Skype registered endpoint.

Other possible issues may now include the server sending IM’s, Calls and screen shares to the no longer available endpoint, even though other endpoint clients are signed in for the user.  Eddie B, please let me know if the below changes end up resolving your issues.  Would be great if it did.

Each Skype Endpoint has a unique ID which can change possibly from performing a phone device reset, software updates, and definitely when transferring to a new phone device.  It might also occur when moving from an Internal AP to Cellular Data.  We were never able to pinpoint all the exact reasons for a Mobile device to register and a new Skype/Lync Client endpoint.  Whatever the root cause, if this happens while the Skype Mobile client is signed in, that “Endpoint” will not be removed from the system for 15 days.

Changing the default value from 15 to 1 day helps to keep this issue in check, and the endpoint expires out most often before a user realizes there might be an issue.

The reason for the posting and is that a reader on a previous post commented that this might resolve issues that they’re having with the Skype for Business Mac client.  Hopefully after he’ll have a chance to respond on if this was a positive change for his environment.

  1. Open up a Command Prompt as Admin
  2. Change to the Web Components\Ext directory, e.g.  C:\Program Files\Skype for Business Server 2015\Web Components\Ucwa\Ext
  3. run:  Notepad Web.config  This will open up the web.config file in notepad in a way that you can Save the changes.
  4. Change “MobileApplicationExpiryTimeInDays” from 15 to 1.
  5. File | Save, or close and Save Changes
  6. Repeat for the Int directory, C:\Program Files\Skype for Business Server 2015\Web Components\Ucwa\Int
  7. Restart the Server or perform an IISRESET.

I have not experimented with trying to use .5 days instead of 1 day to see if that is a valid entry, a setting of 1 has been sufficient for all my clients thus far.  This particular entry might also only accept integer values.

If you are applying this change to a pre CU-277 Skype system, you will need to redo these changes again after applying CU-277.  These two files get over written during this particular update and probably again for future ones going forward.  Do NOT restore a previous file version, there may be other changes, hence Document and verify after applying CU’s.  This just happen to be the first CU to over write my change in 4+ years of applying it, and now I expect I will be re-doing the change with ever future CU going forward.

Web.Config modifications due to Join Launcher change

Another new change in CU-277 is a new flag allowCrossDomainRequests=”true” added to the Web.config file as per KB3209567  Unfortunately, they failed to mention which one(s).  As it turns out, there are 60 web.config files in the Skype for Business installation folder, or at least there is in my installation, and all under Web Components.

The following folders contain a web.config file with allowCrossDomainRequests=”true” setting present in it.

Autodiscover\Ext
Autodiscover\Int
Join Launcher\Ext
Join Launcher\Int
UCWA\Ext
UCWA\Int
Web Ticket\Ext
Web Ticket\Int

Now, it seems that it doesn’t modify the file, but replaces the file and what is partially confusing is the last modified date of these file.  Join Launcher has a modified stamp on Dec 22, 2016 and UCWA is modified Oct 12, 2016.  The AutoDiscover and Web Ticket files date back to 2015 so not any recent changes.  It seems that regardless that the Join Launcher web.config is the only newly modified one, others are replaced as well.

Why I bring up the date, is I modify the UCWA web.config files, I change the key value for MobileApplicationExpiryTimeInDays from 15 to 1.  There was an issue with Skype Mobility clients and Call Forwarding would “break” because the server thinks the Mobile Client is still signed in so the Forwarding or SimRing to the mobile number won’t take place.  The setting change kicks the Mobile Client after 1 day, instead of waiting 15 days before timing out the client, and the problem because less noticeable.  Actually I haven’t had a complaint since.  We never could lock down when the issue would start, either the client was being updated when it was already signed in, or moving from internal to external networks, but something would happen that would change the client ID associated with that device, so even signing in and signing out didn’t matter as the registered ID on the server was new.  Why 15 days, no idea.  1 day works great and no negative consequences that I’ve ever detected.

If anyone has any other customization that they made to a web.config file, you may want to review them and see if they’ve been over turned.

That is actually one of my most favorite quotes, and probably from one of the best Futurama episodes, Godfellas.

Skype4b Mobility Push Notifications

So, yes, first off, haven’t we had this since Lync 2010 CU-whatever (Nov 2011) when we had to do all that mcx configuration whatchmajigger…  I thought that too, but in the last couple of Skype for Business Mobility clients, under the Settings I’ve noticed this:

Push Notifications Status
Not Supported. Please contact your system admin for additional information on how to enable Push Notifications.

I went through everything on my Skype for Business 2015 CU-272 deployed system, and everything was set correctly and enabled, which really isn’t much, Get-CsPushNotificationConfiguration, both MS and Apple are set to True.  Even had the good old “push.lync.com” entry in Allowed SIP Federated Domains list.  Yup, this environment has been around since at lease Lync 2010 days.

As most of you may already have noticed, CU-277 was released earlier this week, happened to be BC Family Day, only province/state in North America with a stat holiday, so everyone beat me to posting about it.  Now, I may be the only fool who has deployed it already, twice actually, and so far positive results, or at least none negative.

One of the fixes/features in the February:
3209568 Add Push Notification support for Skype for Business for iOS and Android clients in Skype for Business Server 2015
With as much detail in the KB as the title there.  I will try not to rant about the quality of the KB’s on this round, hopefully they will be updated with useful information soon.

With CU-277, the Set-CsMobilityPolicy has a new line item: EnablePushNotifications which is set to True by default.   Now Settings, under the Android 6.11.0.0 client version shows:

Push Notifications Status
Supported

I’ve also been experimenting on how to disable it.  Oddly enough, all my efforts thus far have been unsuccessful.  Perhaps a service restart was necessary, but alas, back into production

As there were few details with the re-release of Push Notifications, I am unaware of any new features or functionality as a result of this re-enablement.  Historically speaking, the Push Notifications were a way of alerting the Mobile client of new IM’s or Skype/Lync Voicemail’s, while the client itself might be suspended or only running in the background.  As a result, some power savings on the device might be achieved.

 

 

Err ma gerd, SIP ALG

Seriously, I don’t know what has changed, but this SIP ALG is the bane of Skype/Lync existence, and if it isn’t the corporate firewall, then it’s the home based users firewall.  Others have blogged on this, so mostly I’m just spreading the word.

It used to be that MS Skype for Business and Lync were so encrypted, that SIP ALG couldn’t touch it, so ALG settings didn’t affect it.  Un-encrypted SIP traffic such as Internet Telephony Services Providers (ITSP’s) SIP Trunks with Intelepeer, ThinkTel, etc, you especially had to make sure SIP ALG was disabled.

Main issue that is showing up, is that Desktop Sharing for home-based Skype for Business users.  Audio quality may also be impacted as well.

AT&T U-Verse:  http://masteringlync.com/2016/05/31/quick-tip-att-u-verse-modem-breaks-skype-for-businesslync/

  • Under Firewall, disable  Flood Limit and SIP ALG

Xfinity: http://communicationsknowledge.blogspot.ca/2017/02/unable-to-share-desktop-using-skype-for.html

  • Under Firewall | IPv4, set Firewall Security Level to Medium

Telus Routers: http://screenshots.portforward.com/routers/Actiontec/T2200H_-_Telus/SIP_ALG.htm

  • Under Advanced Setup | Modem Utilities

Netgear, D-Link, SonicWall, AT&T 2WIRE:  http://www.whichvoip.com/disable-sip-alg.htm

I do not have instructions for other internet providers at this time, but if you do, I’ll add them to the list if you post them in the comments section.

Yealink x.8.0.60 Firmware

Yealink has been on the long journey of developing their phone to work and be supported with Skype for Business.  Feb 9th their x.8.0.60 firmware was released.  Downloads can be found here:  Yealink Downloads  and updates are available for T40, T41, T42, T46 and T48.

Yealink are on the MS Certified list for IP Phones.  Though they haven’t re-certified yet, the integration with Exchange Online has been working for me for a while, but I have not tested at all with Skype Online.

New features include QoE metrics so we can new view the reported network stats, always useful when troubleshooting poor call quality.  Below is an example from a 25 minute call.

BToE works based on IP routing, so your PC doesn’t need to be connected to the port on the back of the phone if you don’t need/want to.  There appears to additionally be VDI support options, but I do not have the means for testing or validating this.

If you happen to have been running any beta firmware’s, or just experiencing any really weird issues such as: BToE not pairing and just flapping, or date stamps in the CDR showing a date of 1970, go through a factory reset through the web console.  With this version, I no longer have to perform any extra steps after a factory reset in order to connect to Skype on Prem with Exchange Online.  🙂

New Features and Functionality added with the x.8.0.60 and x.8.0.50 firmware updates:

  1. Added some new QoE metrics
  2. Optimized Meet Now
  3. Optimized BToE
  4. Added the feature of Yealink Redirection and Provisioning Server (RPS)
  5. Added the feature of Auto Provisioning via Activation Code
  6. Added the feature of Group Call Pickup
  7. Added the feature of Monitoring Skype for Business Contacts for Status Changes
  8. Added the feature of Private Line Ring Tones
  9. Added the feature of Hotline
  10. Added the feature of Music on Hold (MoH)
  11. Added the feature of Quality of Experience (QoE).
  12. Added the feature of Join Calls into a Conference
  13. Added the feature of DHCP Option 160 and Option 161
  14. Added the feature of Skype for Business Status
  15. Added the feature that you can view Outlook Contacts on T48G Skype for Business phone
  16. Added the feature of History Record Contacts Avatar

All in all, the T48G has been a good phone, no issues with the call quality and I like the big screen display it comes with.  Not the greatest touch screen, sometimes I click something twice and its something underneath that gets clicked, so a few accidental calls.

Full on screen keyboard for typing is great to have, especially for searching or authenticating.

Photo display, very nice to have.

Have a great weekend.

VVX Default Codec issues with Skype for Business

For a while now I’ve seen a randomly occurring call issues with clients using VVX phones.  There would sometimes be one way audio, or mostly no audio at all, but the call was connected.  Mainly with Response Group calls, but more recently I’ve encountered it on VVX to VVX Skype calls.

Fortunately it was so very similar to an issue I hit with Telus Cell phones making calls to Skype4b users who were behind and AudioCodes gateway and a Telus SIP trunks, which boiled down to a codec mismatch involving AMR.  Once the AudioCodes was locked down to only negotiate G.711Mu, problem solved. (I might have blogged about this already…)

Here is a screenshot from my VVX 600, with the default list of codec’s, though not in the default order:

Here is the RTP (Realtime Transport Protocol) mapping from a SIP trace, in bold are matching codec’s:

a=rtpmap:115 G7221/32000
a=fmtp:115 bitrate=48000
a=rtpmap:112 G7221/16000
a=fmtp:112 bitrate=24000
a=rtpmap:18 G729/8000
a=fmtp:18 annexb=no
a=rtpmap:8 PCMA/8000
a=rtpmap:0 PCMU/8000
a=rtpmap:9 G722/8000

And now one from a Skype for Business server for an inbound PSTN call to the same VVX phone:

a=rtpmap:0 PCMU/8000
a=rtpmap:8 PCMA/8000
a=rtpmap:115 x-msrta/8000
a=fmtp:115 bitrate=11800
a=rtpmap:13 CN/8000
a=rtpmap:118 CN/16000
a=rtpmap:97 RED/8000

Oh, wait, 115 is a matching code, but the codec is all wrong.  This turns out to be G722.1C (48 kbps) from the VVX list.  According to Polycom forums which reference a page not found anymore, this codec is or is related to Siren14, and definitely not msrta/8000 aka Microsoft Realtime Audio Narrow band.

I did blog about this previously, Response Groups and Polycom VVX’s , but I hadn’t the time to dig in and confirm the offending codec, and I believe I now have.  I was also 3/4 the way through writing this when I realized I’ve already brought this subject to light.

Now from VVX600 to Skype for Business User, again bold are matching codecs:

a=rtpmap:115 G7221/32000
a=fmtp:115 bitrate=48000
a=rtpmap:112 G7221/16000
a=fmtp:112 bitrate=24000
a=rtpmap:18 G729/8000
a=fmtp:18 annexb=no
a=rtpmap:8 PCMA/8000
a=rtpmap:0 PCMU/8000
a=rtpmap:9 G722/8000

From Skype for Business User to VVX 600

a=rtpmap:104 SILK/16000
a=fmtp:104 useinbandfec=1; usedtx=0
a=rtpmap:114 x-msrta/16000
a=fmtp:114 bitrate=29000
a=rtpmap:9 G722/8000
a=rtpmap:112 G7221/16000
a=fmtp:112 bitrate=24000
a=rtpmap:111 SIREN/16000
a=fmtp:111 bitrate=16000
a=rtpmap:0 PCMU/8000
a=rtpmap:8 PCMA/8000
a=rtpmap:103 SILK/8000
a=fmtp:103 useinbandfec=1; usedtx=0
a=rtpmap:116 AAL2-G726-32/8000
a=rtpmap:115 x-msrta/8000
a=fmtp:115 bitrate=11800
a=rtpmap:97 RED/8000
a=rtpmap:13 CN/8000
a=rtpmap:118 CN/16000
a=rtpmap:119 CN/24000

In this call, and because of my horrible ordering, I wanted to see if G7221/16000 was actually a viable codec.  Turns out it is, and according to a Jeff Schertz blog post, it’s a Siren 7 variant and nothing to do with G722.

I wasn’t able to test a VVX to VVX Skype call, but I suspect what may be happening in that situation is that the VVX’s are thinking 115 G7221/32000 but the Frontend translates and negotiates 115 x-msrta/8000, but that’s just a theory.

Resolution Time

Clean up time, and I have previously talked about this, but now I have a little bit more backing, and new case scenarios of when it’s impactful.

Siren22, G.722.1C, Siren14 and G.729AB can all be removed.  They’re not going to be used in a Lync/Skype environment, and because of potential cross matching on rtpmap=115 (I don’t know if it’s MS or Polycom issue), G.722.1c has to go.

Order Preference, G.722, G.711Mu (or A depending on your region) and optionally keep G.722.1 (24 kbps).  In the environments where I’ve cleared up the issues, I did remove G.722.1, but it wasn’t till today that I discovered it was actually a viable codec, doesn’t mean I trust it though.

If you happen to have a VVX 600, toast the Video Codecs as well, the camera that came with the phone last worked in a Lync 2010 environment.

If you have a Provisioning server, here is a code snippet to clean up your codec’s:

<WEB video.codecPref.H261=”0″ video.codecPref.H263=”0″ video.codecPref.H2631998=”0″ video.codecPref.H264=”0″ voice.codecPref.G711_A=”3″ voice.codecPref.G711_Mu=”2″ voice.codecPref.G722=”1″ voice.codecPref.G7221.24kbps=”4″ voice.codecPref.G7221_C.48kbps=”0″ voice.codecPref.Siren14.48kbps=”0″ voice.codecPref.Siren22.64kbps=”0″ voice.codecPref.G729_AB=”0″ />

If you still have troubles with VVX to VVX Skype calls, change the 4 to a 0 and get rid of it too.

VVX IP based Pairing

Hiding in the VVX 5.5.1 and BToE 3.4.x builds is some nifty code allowing for IP based phone pairing.  As it’s not in the released documentation we can assume this may not be meant for production.

Test/try this at your own peril, and certainly do not use with your Receptionist…  I have not encountered any issues, but I’m not a hard core handset user.  My configuration is with two separate LAN drops, one for my tower and one for my VVX 600.  I do not have a VDI environment to test this with and see if it works in that scenario, but I’ve had a few customers who have separate LAN ports for IP phones, with PoE gear, and are very anxious to have IP based BToE pairing become available.

First off, your VVX phone MUST be running 5.5.1.11526 or higher code.  5.5.1.12442 was released yesterday and so far so good with this new version.

Second, you need to have installed the Polycom BToE Connector, 3.4.x.  3.4.1 was released yesterday, so far so good.

Third, modify the Windows Registry.  If you are reading this post, I hope you are proficient enough with editing the registry with out blowing it up.

Close the BToE Connector, if it’s currently running, open up RegEdit and drill down to the following key:  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Polycom\Polycom BToE Connector  There should be a DWORD value called:  IP_PAIRING_EN, set it to 1.

Forthly, we need to add the following entries to the phone configuration as they are not exposed in the Web GUI.  I set up my own provisioning server, you can optionally Export  Configuration, add the entried, then Import the modified Configuration.
feature.btoe.IPPairing.enabled=”1″
btoe.pairingMode=”IPPairing”

After you phone has rebooted, fire up the Polycom BToE Connector.  Right-click on the BToE icon in the SysTray and select “Pair with Phone”, and you’ll see the following screen.  Enter in the IP address of your phone and click Pair.

You may be prompted in your Skype client for credentials, but otherwise you should be good to go.

Last reminder, not supported at this time by Polycom, test/play at your own peril.