Author: gingerninjanz

Lync Hold Issue

In a recent Enterprise Voice deployment I struck an issue where a small number of users couldn’t place a call on hold. When they tried, the Lync client errored with “Failed to place call on hold” and instead put the client’s mic and speakers on mute. Removing this mute sometimes worked and sometimes resulted in a dropped call.

All users in this particular deployment were subject to the same client policy, same client version, same voice routing.. generally, everything was the same from one user to the next.

After running some S4/SIPStack trace logs on the gateway, and analysing the SIP Options packet that was being sent to the SIP gateway, I could see that in a working request, the SIP Invite that got sent included a=inactive (which is normal), whereas in a failing request, the Invite sent a=sendonly instead. What I couldn’t figure out was why two clients with the same settings/policy/routes would send two different hold methods. What made this particularly odd was that the user that was having the issue could log on to a different computer, and placing a call on hold would work fine.

So, issue had to be client-side.

One of the things I looked at during the debug process was the Lync registry entries. After painstakingly comparing registry keys line by line, I found that only one of the clients had the MusicOnHold registry keys listed – and it was the one that wasn’t working. Looking at the client options (Tools > Options > Alerts) showed that both had the same options selected (in this case, ‘Enable Music on Hold’ was ticked and greyed out (managed by policy), and the hold music file was populated with the default wma file), yet on the client that was working fine, the two MusicOnHold registry keys (below) were completely missing.



“MusicOnHoldAudioFile” =”C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft LyncMediaDefaultHold.wma”

After backing up the keys, I deleted the MusicOnHoldAudioFile key, and rebooted. Bingo. Problem solved.

Tried reinstating the key again, and sure enough, problem returned immediately.

I have come across one other customer having the same issue, and they apparently found the problem disappeared when they apply CU5, however I haven’t been able to verify that completely with them, and when I tried the CU5 update, the issue persisted.

Why exactly this happens is soon to be the subject of a support ticket with Microsoft. When I get an outcome from that, I’ll be sure to update this post.

Gotcha – Integrating Lync On-Prem with Exchange Online UM

As part of our (Provoke’s) recent migration of our corporate email to Office 365 and Exchange Online, we wanted to include migration of the Exchange Unified Messaging role to Exchange Online as well. Simple enough, and the UCGuys have a superb post that breaks down the process in real simple terms.


We struck an issue after completing the process whereby calling voicemail, or trying to dial the UM dial-in numbers failed. Checking the logs revealed an error along the following lines:

ms-diagnostics: 1036; reason=”Previous hop shared address space peer did not report diagnostic information”; source=”<fe-server>”; dialplan=”<multipleSMTPdomains>”; umserver=””;responsecode=”503″; msexchDomain=”<primarySMTPdomain>”; msexchPeerServer=””; msexchsource=”<edgeaccessfqdn>”; appName=”ExumRouting”

Followed by:

ms-diagnostics: 15030; reason=”Failed to route to Exchange Server”; source=”<fe-server>“;dialplan=”<multipleSMTPdomains>“; appName=”ExumRouting”

Turns out we (and by that I mean me) had made an error when running the command:

New-CsHostedVoicemailPolicy -Identity Office365UM -Destination -Description “Hosted voice mail policy for O365 users.” -Organization “”

In my desire to validate blog posts before blindly following them (crazy right!), I’d checked the UCGuys’ NewCsHostedVoicemailPolicy  syntax against the Technet cmdlet library for New-CsHostedVoicemailPolicy, which states for the Organisation field..

This parameter contains a comma-separated list of the Exchange tenants that contain Lync Server 2010 users. Each tenant must be specified as an FQDN of the tenant on the hosted Exchange Service.

Which I duly interpreted as meaning all SMTP domains associated with the Exchange Online tenant – of which we had three. Especially as the example syntax at the bottom of the article does exactly that.

Turns out, that aint gonna fly.

For Exchange Online UM, you must specify one domain only in the Organisation field. And that domain must be one that Exchange Online is authorative for. If you’ve done a cutover migration, that will mean you can probably use your primary SMTP domain, as by dint of the cutover, Exchange Online will be authorative for that domain. However if you’ve done a hybrid migration, chances are good that your on-premise Exchange platform is still authorative for your primary SMTP domain. So best option here is to use your <customer> domain, as Exchange Online will always be authorative for that one.

This is briefly outlined at the end of the Connect Lync Server 2010 to Exchange Online UM Checklist from Microsoft.

The Lync ‘How To’ Guide

If you’re implementing Lync, or already have it, chances are user training is/was part of the implementation. Great. But what about those “remind me how I..” and “what does this do again?” that you know will come up?

Microsoft have done you a huge favour here.

I personally think Lync is hands-down the most superbly well documented product ever to roll out the doors of Redmond. Sure there’s stuff that could be better documented, but the planning, implementation, support, and (yup) training material available is beyond compare.

There is a huge list of pre-canned resources available at that includes the likes of reference sheets, training decks, and videos, but what I really want to flag for attention is the ‘How To Guide’. Quite simply – it’s brilliant.

The guide is a Silverlight and/or HTML web application that contains a huge range of common (and not so common) Lync user tasks, presented in a sensibly structured manner that any user should have no issue following. It even comes with a handy set of instructions that outlines how to easily add your own items to the list – useful if you perhaps have a custom app integrated with your Lync platform.


The package can be downloaded from

Setup is a peice of cake, and should take less than five minutes. Here’s the basics for IIS7/7.5

  • Create a folder on your webserver
  • Extract contents of the zip file
  • Create an IIS site and point it at the folder you created
  • Define your default document as either rolodex.html (for Silverlight version) or jQueryRolodex.html (for the HTML version).
  • Configure your host headers and DNS entries
  • Done

The only difference if you’re doing this on older versions of IIS is you need to manually create a MIME type for .xap extensions, defined as application/x-silverlight-app

Lync On-Premises vs Lync Online

A common question about Lync Online (and the other Office 365 products too, but this post is Lync-centric) is “how is this different from the on-premises solution?” And there is a comprehensive feature comparison available at the Office 365 Community site, but usually the next question I get is “yeah yeah, but what does that really mean for me?”

So here’s a shortlist of the more pertinant features that you don’t get with Lync Online.

  • PSTN calling (incoming or outgoing)
  • PBX integration
  • Advanced call handling (hold, redirection, park)
  • IP Phone support (USB only)
  • Analog line support (eg. fax)
  • Response groups (ie. Direct inbound call to a recipient group)
  • Persistent group chat
  • Skill search from SharePoint (either on-premise or online)
  • Client-side recording
  • Dial-in conferencing
  • Interop with on-premise video conferencing systems (eg. Polycom suites)
  • QoS
  • Quality of Experience Reporting

This usually leads to a question like, “ok, so what do they have in common then?”

So for completeness, here’s some of the more popular things you can do with both versions of the product.

  • PC-to-PC audio/video
  • Address book search
  • IMPresence
  • Office application integration (click-to-chat)
  • Federation with Lync Online, Lync On-Premise, and OCS On-Premise
  • Application/Desktop/Whiteboard/Presentation sharing
  • Online Meetings
  • Guest attendees (via rich client and web client)
  • Roundtable support
  • Meeting lobby

Hope that’s helpful.  Might add SharePoint Online and Exchange Online comparisons too.

Who’s Federating in NZ?

Chances are, if you’ve implemented federation, or are planning on it, the first thing you want to know is “who can I talk to with it”.  That was certainly towards the top of my list anyway.

NOTE: This post has been superceded by a more comprehensive global federation list, available here.

Read More »

Lync Federation – Cleaning up discovered SIP domains

If you have enabled Discovery for your Lync Federation services, you may want from time to time to add discovered domains to Federated Domains list to allow you to control their allow/block status.

Rather handily, Microsoft made this really simple to do.

Open the Event Viewer on one of your Edge servers and filter for Event ID 14601. You should find one of these logged every hour. This will contain the following:

Report of discovered partners that the Access Edge Server is currently monitoring.
There are 1 discovered partners, identified by the common name of their certificate.Name:; Domains:

You can use these details to populate the Domain and AccessEdge fields in the Federation Domains section of your Lync Control Panel.


What happens if you jump the gun installing SP2010 SP1

Quick post on what seems a common issue.

You apply SP1, reboot the server, and open Central Admin to see all the bright shiny bits in SP1.

But alas, Central Admin returns a 503 error. In services.msc you find most of the SharePoint services are not started – admin, timer, user code host, search. Oh no!

Fear not, it’s just a case of being too keen for the shiny. The last step of the upgrade is to run the SharePoint Config Wizard. This completes the upgrade process, starts your services, and brings you all that is shiny and new.


Removing server roles from OCS 2007 R2 servers

Unfortunately, if you follow the instructions here ( to the letter, you’ll get an error when you try to remove the Core Components.

The OCS Admin Tools are not listed in the removal order, and unfortunately will prevent you removing the Core role. So, where it says this….

If you are removing an Edge Server, a Mediation Server, an Archiving Server, or a Monitoring Server, remove the Office Communications Server 2007 R2 components in the following sequence:

  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Edge Server
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Mediation Server
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Archiving Server
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Monitoring Server
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Core Components
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Unified Communications Managed API 2.0 Core Redistribution package should actually read…

If you are removing an Edge Server, a Mediation Server, an Archiving Server, or a Monitoring Server, remove the Office Communications Server 2007 R2 components in the following sequence:

  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Edge Server
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Mediation Server
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Archiving Server
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Monitoring Server
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Administrative Tools
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Core Components
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Unified Communications Managed API 2.0 Core Redistribution package

Just sayin.

Migrating Dialogic Media Gateway from OCS R2 to Lync Mediation Servers

Having deployed a Lync pool alongside our OCS 2007 R2 pool, merged the topologies, and migrated the users all without much issue, I then wanted to migrate calling away from the OCS mediation servers to the Lync mediation servers. Sounded easy. Unfortunately it wasn’t. Outbound calling worked ok, but inbound calling failed.


As you see in the diagram, the topology is fairly straight foward. Two PSTN gateways on and, listening on TCP:5066 and 5060 respectively – one talking (hopefully) to a Lync mediation server ( on TCP:5066 and the other still talking to an old OCS 2007 R2 mediation server ( on TCP:5060. For now, forget the 10.10.20.x devices.

Steps I followed to get to this point were essentially as outlined in this Technet library (and the equivalent downloadable word version) In short, define a PSTN gateway in the Lync topology, set listening ports on PSTN and Mediation objects, define and commit a voice route, publish topology, done.

What isn’t well documented here is that if for any reason you change the listening ports for the mediation server after initial publish (which I did, mostly just to bring the port allocations in line with the new Lync default ports as the old OCS deployment was using weird ports), you have to restart the Lync Mediation service, otherwise it wont pick up your port changes, even if you re-run the deployment tool.

So at this point, outbound calls were working. No issue. Happy admin.

But incoming calls from the PSTN would fail with “VoIP Transport Failure” on the Dialogic.

What I had already done on the Dialogic was change the routing table properties, specifically the VoIP Host Group settings, to use the new gateway (as the old OCS R2 mediation server was on This is done in the Dialogic UI under Configuration > Routing Table > VoIP Host Groups (radio button at the top). My config here is pretty straightfoward – a single host group, with a single host entry of the old mediation server. Removed the old host entry, added a new one for, and expected everything to just work. It didn’t.

When calling in, the line would never ring, you’d see the call appear in the Dialogic Call Log, but after about 15sec it would fail giving the caller a ‘number not connected’ tone, and the Call Log would display “VoIP: Transport Failure”.

Spun up two sets of logging – first I started the Trace Logger on the Dialogic, and second started a set of Lync logs on the mediation server (S4, SIPStack, MediationServer) – then tried another inbound call. Logging on the mediation server showed zero entries, so clearly nothing was getting past the Dialogic. Looking at the trace logs on the Dialogic, I found the following:

[RouteTable] Code outbound device: VOIP (user@host:port) @

So my incoming call was being routed to the mediation server IP ok, but no port was being passed, so logically I would expect the mediation server to reject it at the network layer, as it didn’t match a listening port.

So, on a hunch, I went back to the VoIP Host Groups setting, and changed the host value from to Instant success. Just for consistency, checked another trace log, and sure enough it looks like this:

[RouteTable] Code outbound device: VOIP (user@host:port) @

What made this unexpected was that the old host value didn’t include the port, just the IP, but for some reason it worked fine.

Usefully, at this point I’d only migrated one of our two Dialogics/Mediation Servers, so ran the same trace log on the un-modified Dialogic ( Sure enough, the same thing happens – no port is passed in that RouteTable call. Yet it works. Keen to see more, I ran a “netstat -an 1 | findstr” on the OCS mediation server to start an endless netstat search for open connections to the Dialogic (refreshing every second). As soon as the call comes in, a connection opens between the two devices on and the call connects. So somewhere in between that routing call to becomes a call to I confess, I don’t know how this manages to happen.

Hopefully this helps someone else avoid the frustration this has caused me. And if anyone has any ideas how OCS manages this port wizardry where Lync fails, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

SharePoint column lookup and calculation limitations

List lookup columns in SharePoint are great. Easy to setup, simple to use, and powerful. But they have some limitations that can be frustrating.

Let me paint you a picture..

You have a SharePoint list that contains information about a customer entity (yes it should probably be in CRM, but lets assume you don’t have one) – fields like contact names/numbers, addresses, unique systems, notes, etc. Some of these fields are single lines of text, pull-down menus, yes/no radio buttons, multiple lines of text, you name it.

You have another list that relates to sales of products to customers. Unsurprisingly, you want to link a sale to a customer, and you want to leverage the power of lookup columns to make that a simple and seamless process.

Not an unrealistic scenario. Sure there are better ways of doing it with the likes of webservices into CRM or BCS connections into LOB databases, but they all involve additional systems, coding skills, and generally more effort. All things that aren’t always readily available.

By adding a lookup column type to the sales list you can allow a customer entity to be selected from your customer list. Where this gets handier is you can have the sales list pull other values from the customer list without adding extra columns. Awesome.

But… not all the columns from your customer list are available. Why not?

SharePoint can only perform a lookup of values from columns that contain a ‘text’ value, and then only if it contains a single line of normal text (ie. “Single line of text”, a “number”, or “date”). Any field that contains multiple lines of text, other lookups, or multi-select items won’t be available to you, as SharePoint will automatically hide any columns that it knows it can’t return.

This same restriction applies to using these column types in calculated columns, and there is a great post by Dessie Lunsford on getting around this limitation in terms of calculated columns which you’ll find here –

The workaround involves creating your problem field as a “single line of text” column, then creating a second calculated column that references the first column name – eg. [=ColumnName]. You then delete the first column and recreate it with the exact same name but this time selecting your column type of choice.

While Dessie’s post deals specifically with referencing these columns via calculated fields, by dint of good fortune and SharePoint consistency, the same workaround fixes the lookup problem as well. Thanks Dessie!

This issue applies to all versions of SharePoint since 2007, including SharePoint Online (BPOS/Office365)

JB / The Daywalker

Ginger IT dude hanging out down in New Zealand, playing with technology since ages ago.

Currently Service Delivery Manager at Silicon Systems, formerly Skype for Business MVP, and generally into all things Microsoft (and a few things that aren’t).

When I’m not nerding out on technology, you can find me running ultramarathons, brewing beer, or in my woodshop building something.

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