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Configure Asterisk as a SIP Proxy for Avaya IPO & Lync

Project Scope
Preparing for Deployment – Research and Education and Pricing
Deployment of Standard Server & Director Role
Deployment of Edge and Reverse Proxy
Deployment of Lync Voice Capabilities
Configuring Lync PSTN Calling thru Avaya IPOffice
Configure Lync 4 Digit Extension Dialing without DIDs
Configure Asterisk as a SIP Proxy for Avaya IPO and and Lync
Deployment of Lync Client to users
Testing Configuration of Backup Registrar
Training

 

This post is a continuation of a series of posts about Lync Deployment. The documentation portion of this project has gotten the back burner, and I need to say that a blogger I am not.. but picking up the documentation of this process is important.

This can be used as a resource to configure an Avaya IPOffice (IPO) 412 (software version 5.0) as a Gateway for a Lync deployment calling the PSTN, with AsteriskNOW as a SIP proxy to resolve disconnected calls when placed on hold or transferred, your mileage may vary. Calls are routed over a SIP Trunk (Session Initiation Protocol) configured between the IPO and Asterisk and Asterisk and the Lync Front End server.

Once we deployed the calling from the PSTN via a PRI from the IPOffice to a SIP connection to the Lync Mediation server we were able to make and receive calls from Lync endpoints, however we quickly noticed that when calls were put on hold or needing to be transferred to another extension the call was simply dropped.  It doesn’t matter if the call was being transferred to a Lync extension or an Avaya extension the call would drop.  The only option to “hold” a call was to mute the call.  If Hold was used the call would disconnect.

After a few days of tracking this down we were able to identify this was an issue that happened every time.  It wasn’t specific to a user or extension.  In fact the Avaya white paper noted this as a known issue.

Avaya PSTN Config

The issue is documented on the final page: https://devconnect.avaya.com/public/download/interop/OCSR2-IPO-PSTN.pdf

The document notes that calls cannot be placed on mute, nor does the PSTN caller ID pass thru to Lync, these notes however that was not our experience.  Mute and Caller ID worked fine on inbound calls.

We tried several different solutions to resolve this issue.  Our first attempt was routing all calls thru an inGate SIParator.  This is basically a SIP proxy device.  We happen to have one laying around from some testing with a SIP dial tone provider.  This device had worked well with the IPO connecting to SIP Trunks that required authentication with a different authentication handshake than the standard Avaya methods.  However the SIParator did allow to proxy the Avaya to Lync SIP trunk, but didn’t resolve the disconnects when holding or transferring calls.

Next we tried to use a SnomOne software PBX, this had some promise, after configuring the call to forward all calls to the Avaya or Lync (which was a hassle) we found that this resulted in calls connecting but the caller not hearing any of the conversation, or the call would just stop passing audio although it remained connected.  We also found that the SnomOne would keep terminated calls still active and you would have to reset the sessions manually.

Finally we landed on an asterisk installation installed on a virtual machine.  We installed Asterisk now (without the web interface) for simplicity.  Once you configure the two sip trunks (one for Avaya and one for Lync) and build the dial plan to forward all calls from Lync to Avaya and all calls from Avaya to Lync the configuration was basically complete.

Much Credit must go to my great Church IT RoundTable peer Dave Mast (@DaveMast) for his Asterisk Programming help! Kuddos to Dave!

Below are the steps to configure the Avaya and Lync to communicate via an Asterisk Proxy.

Install Asterisk on a machine, (in our case a new VM) and note the IP Address you give the server.  Next configure a new Avaya SIP Trunk and ARS Table. The same steps as noted here, except you need to enter the information of your Asterisk server in step 2 as the ITSP IP Field.

After completing steps 1,2,3 and 4. Complete Step 5 to prepare an incoming call route from Asterisk to the IPO.

Step 6 is basically the same and we repurposed the old ARS table that we created but changed the short codes and features a little. 
Ars table

Note in step 9 if you have extensions on both IPO and Lync you can’t use variables in your short codes.  This remains true.

After step 10 things change a little so I will document that here.  The information may look very similar to the previous instructions with SIP for IPO and Lync with out a proxy but they are a little different.

Because of how you have to pass calls from Avaya to Asterisk you will need to configure you rARS table a little differently.  Step 10 walks you thru a extension with a DID, that in fact is no different.  But Step 11 has changed. I have quoted the information that hasn’t changed and added what needs to be adjusted for the dialing plan to work with Asterisk.

11. Configure routing for For Lync Extensions without DIDs (as documented here).

An ARS entry will have to be created for each Extension since the IPO cannot use variables in the E.164 formatting of the outbound call and Lync requires the call to come in in the +11235556500;ext=4175 format.

The Asterisk can’t pass the formatting with “;” so we will pass just the 4 digit extension from IPO to Asterisk, and our 4 digit dial plan dialing rule that translates calls TO those extensions from a lync endpoint into +11235556500;ext=4175 format will cause the call to route to the extension when it comes into Lync from Asterisk.

This example extensions 4150-4175 don’t have DIDs but were valid Lync extensions, in order for IPO extensions to call extensions 4150-4175 a short code would be required for 41xx Pointing to the the SIP-Lync ARS Table. (Assuming no other extensions in the 4100 range are homed on the IPO). NoDIDShortCode
Then entries for each extension would need to be added to the ARS table.
Code: 41XX, Feature: Dial (if the IPO has any restricted calls to outside use Dial Emergency)
Telephone Number: +1235556500”ext=4150@192.168.1.100”
Telephone Number: 41N”@192.168.1.100” (the “”s are required to tell IPO that nothing contained in this part of the string is a variable. All extensions in this range can use this variable.

4 digit short code

Next you will need to configure Lync to see the Asterisk as a gateway.

1. Configure Lync Call routing to use the Asterisk as a Gateway. This assumes you have enabled users for enterprise voice which is a fairly well documented process: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg413011.aspx
After users are enabled, go to the Topology builder and browse the Standard Server. Check the box for Enterprise Voice

EnableEnterpriseVoice

Edit the properties and go to the Mediation Server. Enable Collocated Mediation Server. Define your Listening Ports and click new gateway enter the IP address of the Asterisk and the Port that it is listening for SIP traffic on.

DefinenewGateway

Next associate the Gateway with the mediation server

AddGateway

Publish the Topology.

2. Configure Dial Plan and Trunk. Open Lync Control Panel and go to Voice Routing then Trunk configuration open the newly added Gateway and change the Encryption support level to Optional, Uncheck Media Bypass, Uncheck Centralized Media Processing and Uncheck Enable Refer Support.

TrunkConfiguration

3. Add a translation rule to call 4 digit extensions on the IPO via the Asterisk. This allows a normalized call from the Lync server to pass just 4 digits to the IPO so it correctly routes to the extension on the IPO.
Starting Digits: +12355565
Length: Exactly 12
Digits to remove: 8
This rule tells the Lync server to simply pass 65xx to the IPO.

IPOTranslationRule

You will also need to create a translation rule to pass all digits without the +
Starting Digits: +
Length: Exactly 12
Digits to remove: 0
This rule tells the Lync server to pass 11 digits to the Asterisk.

4. Create a Call Route. Select New Route and name it and add a description. Leave the Pattern to match the default “*” which matches all calls. VoiceRoute-1

5. Scrolling down select Add for Associated Gateways and select the PSTN Gateway. Do not yet associate a PSTN Usage. But confirm the Gateway is added.

    VoiceRoute-2

6. Create a Site Voice Policy Choose new and select the site you want to add a voice policy for. Add a Description and enable all appropriate features. Then New.

VoicePolicy

Associate the route just created in step 6 by hitting select

Associate PSTN Route

choose the route.

Select PSTN Route

Go back to Routes and edit the Asterisk PSTN route and scroll to the bottom and Associate the PSTN Usage created.

VoiceRoute-3

Commit all Changes.

Configure the Asterisk Box

Finally you need to configure the Asterisk.

  1.   First Configure the SIP Trunks
    Login as root to the asterisk server and enter: nano –w /etc/asterisk/sip.conf
    Your configuration should be as follows:
    [General]
    bindport=5060
    bindaddr=0.0.0.0
    tcpbindaddr=0.0.0.0
    tcpenable=yes

    [Lync_Trunk_Name]
    type=peer
    port=5068
    host=0.0.0.0 (where 0.0.0.0 is the ip address of your lync front end server)
    dtmfmode=rfc2833
    context=name-of-lync-context (use what ever name you want)
    qualify=yes
    transport=tcp

    [Avaya_Trunk_Name]
    type=peer
    host=0.0.0.0 (where 0.0.0.0 is the ip address of your ayava IPO)
    dtmfmode=rfc2833
    context=name-of-avaya-context (use what ever name you want)
    port=5060
    Transport=tcp
    Hit Ctrl-X and choose to save

    SIPConfig-1
    SIPConfig-2

  2.   Next Define your Dial plan to forward all calls.
    enter nano –w /etc/asterisk/extensions.conf
    Your configuration should be as follows:
    [Name-of-lync-context]
    exten => _+1xxxxxxxxxx,1,Dial (SIP/Avaya_Trunk_Name/${EXTEN},45)
    exten => _+12xx,1,Dial (SIP/Avaya_Trunk_Name/${EXTEN},45)
    exten => _1xxxxxxxxxx,n,Hangup()

    NOTE:
    Line 1 passes PSTN calls from lync to the PSTN
    Line 2 passes 4 diget extensions dialed from the Lync to IPO


    [Name-of-Avaya-Context]
    exten => _+1xxxxxxxxxx,1,Dial (SIP/Lync_Trunk_Name/${EXTEN},30)
    exten => _+41xx,1,Dial (SIP/Lync_Trunk_Name/${EXTEN},30)
    exten => _1xxxxxxxxxx,n,Hangup()

    NOTE:
    Line 1 passes PSTN calls and all Lync Extensions WITH DID to Lync
    Line 2 passes 4 digit extensions dialed from the IPO that don’t have a DID.


    Exit and Save the configuration

    asterisk dialplan

    One item to note, the value of 45 is the seconds the phone rings before disconnecting the call.  We had to change the default of 30 to 45 because when someone would call a cell phone FROM Lync via the IPO PRI the call sometimes wasn’t getting to the cell phone voicemail before the 30 seconds and would drop the call before the Lync caller could leave a voicemail for the person they were calling.  After adjusting this value above 30 these dropped calls stopped happening.

  3. Reload the Configurations
    Enter: asterisk –r
    Enter: reload

    After the config reloads enter: /sip Show peers
    your status for both SIP trunks should show “OK”

    You are new ready to make calls from lync to the PSTN and place calls on hold.


Configuring Lync PSTN Calling Thru Avaya IPOffice

Project Scope
Preparing for Deployment – Research and Education and Pricing
Deployment of Standard Server & Director Role
Deployment of Edge and Reverse Proxy
Deployment of Lync Voice Capabilities
Configuring Lync PSTN Calling thru Avaya IPOffice
Configure Lync 4 Digit Extension Dialing without DIDs
Configure Asterisk as a SIP Proxy for Avaya IPO and and Lync
Deployment of Lync Client to users
Testing Configuration of Backup Registrar
Training

 **Update 1/01/2013 – Note that Calls placed on hold or muted would drop when trunked from the IPO to Lync.  Our resolution was to use Lync & the IPO with an AsteriskNOW install proxying the SIP trunks.  The IPO connects to the asterisk and the asterisk connects to the Lync Mediation server.  See Configure Asterisk as a SIP Proxy for Avaya IPO and and Lync how to use the Asterisk as a proxy.***

**Update 2/14/2013 – We are selling our old Avaya phones here, we have a IPO 412 and several modules also for sale leave a comment for more information***

This post is a continuation of a series of posts about Lync Deployment.   This can be used as a resource to configure an Avaya IPOffice (IPO) 412 (software version 5.0) as a Gateway for a Lync deployment calling the PSTN, but your mileage may vary.  Calls are routed over a SIP Trunk (Session Initiation Protocol) configured between the IPO and the Lync Front End server.

An ISDN/PRI trunk provides inbound and outbound voice call access to the PSTN. Avaya IP
Office sends and receives SIP Invites to and from Lync Standard Server, Lync converts call signaling between standard SIP and Microsoft signaling protocol (MTLS).

The flow for an outbound call from an Enterprise Voice Lync User routes as the following: When an user dials a number,Lync normalizes the dialed number. If there is a match,
Lync checks that the number called is assigned to another Lync user. If so, Lync sends the call to the called user’s Lyc client. If not, Lync looks up a call routing table for a match of the
E.164-formatted called number. If there is a match, Lync routes the call to the Gateway for that route, which in this configuration is the IPO and then the IPO routes the call to the PSTN.

For inbound calls from the PSTN, Avaya IP Office receives the incoming call. Based on the
called party number,IPO looks up the corresponding Short Code (if the called number is a Lync Extension) and routes the call to the Lync server via SIP.

For this configuration an inbound call hits an IPO Inbound call route, matches the last 4 digits to a 4 digit short code which routes to an ARS table which matches the short code digits translates to E.164 format and routes the call over a SIP trunk to the Lync frontend server.

Configuration was modified from an OCSR2 & IPO document found here:
https://devconnect.avaya.com/public/download/interop/OCSR2-IPO-PSTN.pdf

Updated 2/5/2012

When configuring Lync and IPO directly as noted in the white paper above, hold may not function and disconnect the call.  Additionally calls originating from the the PRI on the IPO or an IPO homed extension when transferred to a lync extension cannot be placed on hold or transferred to any other extension (lync or avaya).  The work around used to resolve this issue is SIP proxy as noted here: http://jasonmlee.com/archives/447

Configuring Avaya IPOffice

  1. Verify Avaya SIP Trunk license. Login to the IPO Manager application.   In the tree view navigate to Licensing and confirm that you have an active SIP Trunk Channel License.  If a valid license is not configured in the IPO calls will not route over the SIP Trunk.  You can purchase IPO 412 license keys from http://dpctelcom.com/

SipTrunkLicense

  • Create the SIP line for Lync Server. Select Line in the left panel. Right click
    and select New SIP Line. Enter the SIP Domain Name of local Domain in the ITSP
    Domain Name field. Enter the Lync Server IP Address in the ITSP IP
    Address field. Select Remote Party ID in the Send Caller ID field.
    Network Configuration is as follows:
    Layer 4 Protocol is TCP,
    Send Port is the Receive port on your Lync Server in Topology Builder Default is 5060
    Listen Port is the Send port in your Lync server Topology Builder Default is 5060
    Network Topology Info set to NONESipLine
  • Configure SIP URI for known caller ID. Go to the URI Tab and and click add.  Create a primary SIP URI. Enter a unique number for the Incoming Group (Line Group 100) and Outgoing Group (Line Group 100) fields. Enter * for the Local URI, Contact and Display Name fields. Use defaults for all other field. Press the OK button.SIPURI1
  • Configure SIP URI for Unknown Caller ID. The documentation indicates a need for a SIP URI for calls received from the PSTN with withheld caller ID. However this appears not to be 100% necessary nor applicable, but was configured in our installation. Select the SIP URI tab and click on Add again. Enter another a unique number for the Incoming Group (Line Group 101) and Outgoing Group (Line Group 101) fields. Enter 000000000 for the Local URI, Contact and Display Name fields. Calls received with hidden caller ID from the PSTN will be shown as coming from this number on the Lync client. Use defaults for all other field. Press the OK button.SIPURI2
  • Create an Incoming call route for outbound calls from Lync incoming to the IPO over the SIP trunk. (This call can be both IPO extensions or out to the PSTN)  Select Incoming Call Routes in the Left Tree and right click and choose NEW.  Set the Incoming Group ID to the value you set in step 3 as your Incoming Group ID for the SIP URI (Line Group 100).IncomingRoute

    In the Destinations Tab enter . in the Destination Field and select OK

    Destinations

  • Configure a Alternate Route Selection table (ARS) for calls going from PSTN or IPO Extensions to Lync.  The ARS is used to route the call to the SIP Trunk formatted in E.164 format for Lync to receive the calls correctly . Select ARS in the left panel. Right-click and select New. Enter a unique identifier for the route in the Route Name field (e.g. SIP-Lync) and use defaults for all other field on the ARS tab.ARS

    Click on Add button and add short code.  Enter a code matching the 4 digits of the Lync Extension you are wanting to call.
    Deployment of Lync Extensions with DIDs: In a deployment with DIDs of (123)555-65xx with 4 digit extensions in the 6500-6599 range and a Lync server ip address of 192.168.1.100 and the unique Line Group ID of the SIP trunk is 100 the following short code could be used. (note use of the xx and N variables to allow for creating just one short code for 100 DIDs or Extensions)
    For Deployments without DIDs see step 11 below.

    shortcode

  • Create a short code to route 4 digit extension calls from IPO to to Lync.
    This short code allows for 4 digit dialing from the IPO to Lync extensions as well as will allow for inbound call routes to be configured for DIDs that are homed on Lync.
    Select Short Code in the left panel. Right-click and select New. Enter the first 2 digits of the extension range you are wanting to route to Lync followed by xx (example 65xx).  Select Dial for the Feature. Select the SIP-Lync ARS created previously from the Line Group Id drop down list. Enter “65N” for the Telephone Number field. Use default values for all other
    fields. Press the OK button.ShortCode2
  • Create a short code to route Lync calls to the PSTN.  This short code will be matched for any number if a Lync user calls the PSTN and the IPO has no extension match, the call will be routed to the PSTN, without the rule, the IPO doesn’t know what to do with digits dialed that aren’t extensions on the IPO.
    Select Short Code in the left panel. Right-click and select New. Enter “?” in the Code field. Select Dial for the Feature. Select the ISDN/PRI line Outgoing Group Id from the Line Group Id drop down list. Enter “.” for the Telephone Number field. Use default values for all other fields. Press the OK button.OutboundShortCode
  • Create a Short Code for each Lync 4 Digit Extension.  For the IPO to be able to route calls or allow Avaya Extensions to dial 4 digits to call a Lync user, each Lync Extension needs to have a IPO Short Code.  In Hybrid environment, you have to let IPO know that this 4 digit extension is not homed on the IPO but rather on Lync for each user.  Variables can’t be used in a hybrid environment because some extensions live on IPO and some on Lync.
    This example is for a Lync user extension 6500
    Select Short Code in the left panel. Right-click and select New. Enter “6500” in the Code field. Select Dial for the Feature. Enter “6500” for the telephone number and Select the SIP-Lync from the Line Group Id drop down list.  Use default values for all other fields. Press the OK button.Extn6500
  •   Create incoming call route for Lync DIDs
    For an example DID (123) 555-6500 extension 6500
    Select Incoming Call Route in the left panel. Right-click and select New.  Select the PSTN’s incoming Group ID in the Line Group ID drop down box.  Enter “6500” in the Incoming Number to match the ICR last for digits.6500ICR

    On the Destinations Tab enter “6500” to point to the short code created in step 7 above and the call will route via the ARS table to the SIP trunk to Lync formatted as +11235556500@192.168.1.100

    6500ICR-Destination

  •   Configure routing for For Lync Extensions without DIDs (as documented here). An ARS entry will have to be created for each Extension since the IPO cannot use variables in the E.164 formatting of the outbound call and Lync requires the call to come in in the +11235556500;ext=4175 format.
    This example extensions 4150-4175 don’t have DIDs but were valid Lync extensions, in order for IPO extensions to call extensions 4150-4175 a short code would be required for 41xx Pointing to the the SIP-Lync ARS Table. (Assuming no other extensions in the 4100 range are homed on the IPO).NoDIDShortCode

    Then entries for each extension would need to be added to the ARS table.
    Code: 4150, Feature: Dial
    Telephone Number: +1235556500”ext=4150@192.168.1.100” (the “”s are required to tell IPO that nothing contained in this part of the string is a variable.  Each subsequent extension would need a ARS entry.

    ARSShortCodeNoDID

  •   Configure Lync Call routing to use the IPO as a Gateway.  This assumes you have enabled users for enterprise voice which is a fairly well documented process: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg413011.aspx
    After users are enabled, go to the Topology builder and browse the Standard Server.   Check the box for Enterprise VoiceEnableEnterpriseVoice

    Edit the properties and go to the Mediation Server.  Enable Collocated Mediation Server. Define your Listening Ports and click new gateway enter the IP address of the IPO and the Port that it is listening for SIP traffic on.

    DefinenewGateway

    AddGateway

    Publish the Topology.

  •   Configure Dial Plan and Trunk.  Open Lync Control Panel and go to Voice Routing then Trunk configuration open the newly added Gateway and change the Encryption support level to Optional, Uncheck Media Bypass, Uncheck Centralized Media Processing and Uncheck Enable Refer Support.TrunkConfiguration
  •   Add a translation rule to call 4 digit extensions on the IPO.  This allows a normalized call from the Lync server to pass just 4 digits to the IPO so it correctly routes to the extension on the IPO.
    Starting Digits: +12355565
    Length:  Exactly 12
    Digits to remove: 8
    This rule tells the Lync server to simply pass 65xx to the IPO.IPOTranslationRule
  •   Create a Call Route. Select New Route and name it and add a description.  Leave the Pattern to match the default “*” which matches all calls.VoiceRoute-1

    Scrolling down select Add for Associated Gateways and select the PSTN Gateway.  Do not yet associate a PSTN Usage.  But confirm the Gateway is added.

    VoiceRoute-2

  •   Create a Site Voice Policy  Choose new and select the site you want to add a voice policy for.  Add a Description and enable all appropriate features.  Then New.VoicePolicy

    Associate the route just created in step 15 by hitting select

    Associate PSTN Route

    choose the route.

    Select PSTN Route

    Go back to Routes and edit the AVAYA PSTN route and scroll to the bottom and Associate the PSTN Usage created.

    VoiceRoute-3

    Commit all Changes.

 

 

After these steps you should be able to make calls via the IPO as a Lync Gateway.


Configure Lync 4 Digit Extension Dialing without DIDs

Project Scope
Preparing for Deployment – Research and Education and Pricing
Deployment of Standard Server & Director Role
Deployment of Edge and Reverse Proxy
Deployment of Lync Voice Capabilities
Configuring Lync PSTN Calling thru Avaya IPOffice
Configure Lync 4 Digit Extension Dialing without DIDs
Configure Asterisk as a SIP Proxy for Avaya IPO and and Lync
Deployment of Lync Client to users
Testing Configuration of Backup Registrar
Training

 

This post isn’t in the planned sequence of documenting the Lync Deployment in this series, but I found the topic fairly frustrating and undocumented today so I decided to go ahead and post this now.  Our primary location has DIDs for each extension, but or second campus only has a few POTs (Plain Old Telephone) lines for service so there are not DIDs for each extension.

Lync Extensions without the use of DIDs (Direct Inward Dial)
When deploying Lync Enterprise Voice each user is configured with a SIP Address as well as a telephone Line URI.  In deployments where every extension has a DID the Tel URI can simply be the external DID number associated with that user.

When you make a 4 digit extension call internally, Lync uses your defined Dialing Rules and normalizes the number to the E.164 format.  When dialing extension 5555 Lync would normalize (because you configured this normalization rule already) it to: +112355555555 for a US telephone number of (123) 555-5555 and will route the calls internally to the appropriate user.  Since the call matches a Lync user the call isn’t routed to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network).

DID

When a user doesn’t have a DID, you can also enter a user’s Tel URI with the extension added  in the following format: +112355555555;ext=1234 where the main telephone number is (123)555-5555 and the extension is 1234.

Non-DID

Even though you have created the user with the main number and extension you won’t be able to make 4 digit calls without adding additional dialing rules so the call can be completed.

To make calls to 4 digit extensions that do not have DIDs go to Lync Server Control Pannel > Voice Routing and select the appropriate Dial Plan. Once you are viewing the appropriate dial plan choose new “Associated Normalization Rule”.  Give the new Rule a Name and Description. Then skip all the boxes for Starting Digits, Length, Digits to Remove and Digits to add and go to Pattern To match and select Edit.

NewDialingRule

 

This example will allow dialing for 4 digit extensions starting with 12## associated with the main number (123) 555-5555
(extensions 1200-1299)
The Value for “Match this Pattern” is: ^(12d{2})$
The Translation Rule is: +11235555555;ext=$1

Rule Expression

After you save and Commit the Rules and they replicate to your Lync Clients you will now be able to dial 4 digit extensions that don’t have a DID.

calling


Android Mobile SIP Calling over Wi-Fi

A upcoming trip has had me exploring cost effective ways to make traditional phone calls from my mobile device over a Wi-Fi connection.  My trip’s location will be where there is little or no CDMA cell phone coverage and if there is any coverage, Sprint’s rates are fairly expensive.  And since my primary phone is a HTC Evo we need an alternative.

Since most hotels have Wi-Fi or you can usually find a fairly cost effective internet café. The quest for the ability to call any US landline or mobile phone from my mobile device when there is Wi-Fi available has begun.

An alternative is needed since Google voice simply re-routes your calls using GV still uses minutes on a mobile phone as well as requires phone service from your carrier. (Calling from GV redirects the call their phone number and then routes the call from GV to the person you are calling…)

I have found no direct SIP provider that offers free calling to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), but was able to find a SIP provider that allows free incoming calls… Enter GV Call Back, SipDroid, and SipGate and Google Voice… with those combined you have Free SIP calling anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection.  Not to mention inbound calling from anyone who has your Google voice number.

Here is the basics:
Using an Android application called Google Voice Call Back you can initiate over an internet connection a Google voice call.  Google Voice then calls you back on your SIP line which then alerts your phone.  Once you answer the SIP call on your mobile device, Google Calls the person you want to talk to, and you are connected via your device on Wi-Fi to someone on their telephone (mobile or Landline).

Here’s how you set it up:

  1. Download and install Google Voice Call Back
  2. Download and install SIPDroid 
  3. Setup a Free Sipgate One Account with SipGate (60 Free outbound minutes and unlimited incoming calls, but you won’t be using any of the outbound calling minutes so it really doesn’t matter)
  4. Acquire a “local” US number from SIPGate by entering your zip code.  It doesn’t matter if this number isn’t a local number for you since you won’t be calling this number nor with anyone else.
  5. Login to your Google voice account and go to Voice Settings. 
  6. Add an additional number and enter your newly acquired SipGate telephone number. (you will be prompted to verify your new Google voice number, but a few more steps need completed first)
  7. Back at your SipGate Dashboard, go to settings and then Click on “Voicemail, Call Forwarding &Hunting” and delete the forwarding settings.
    (this will allow for the Google voice call to ring your phone without SipGate voicemail picking up the call before you do on your mobile device)
    sipgate voicemail
  8. Go to “Phone” in the settings of your SipGate Account, Mouse over your IP Phone and select “Sip Credentials” 
    SipGate Credentials1
  9. Note the registry, SIP-ID and SIP-Password as you need those in the next steps.
    SipGate Credentials
  10. Launch SipDroid on your phone and press menu and Go to settings
    snap20110410_175000
  11.   Select the first “SIP Account” (Line 1)
     snap20110410_175006
  12. Enter your SIP-ID as the Authorization Username and enter your SIP-Password as the Password.
  13.   Select server  or proxy and change from pbxes.org to sipgate.com (leave all other settings as the defaults)
    snap20110410_175011
  14. Scroll down and select which networks SipDroid can use.

    snap20110410_215735

  15. Launch the GV Call Back application and Set “When to use call back” to either use for all calls or ask for every call.
  16. Enter your Google Voice username and password.
  17. Set the Callback number to your sipgate number.
  18. Select phone type as mobile.  Apply Settings.

    snap20110410_214751

  19. You have now configured GV Call Back, SipDroid, and SipGate and Google Voice. 
  20. Launch SipDroid and wait for the Yellow indicator to turn Green in the Status Bar.  After the indicator turns green you are able to answer SIPDroid Calls. 
  21. Go Back to the Google Voice Settings page and initiate the test call to validate your SIPGate Number.  Your Android Device should begin ringing. Hit the keypad button and enter the code on the dial pad.
    icon
  22. Once your number has been validated, you are ready to make Calls.  With the Google Voice Call back application enabled, and SIPDroid running, go to the phone dial pad and make a call.  GV Call back will indicate it is making a connection

    snap20110410_222445

  23. A few seconds later you will notice the Green handset in the status bar and then the following screen will display.   The first number is your SIPGate Number from which you are receiving the inbound call, the second number is the caller ID of your Google Voice number. (in the case that someone is calling your Google voice number, this line will display the caller ID of the person calling your Google Voice Number.)

    snap20110410_222733

  24.   During the call you will see a screen similar to the incoming call (with the addition of the dial pad icon to enter any touch tones during the call)

    snap20110410_222736

  25.   Once the call is ended the following screen will display and you can resume normal usage of the device.

    snap20110410_222740


Mac .ds_store Files on File Servers

If you have a hybrid environment of Mac and Windows File servers you probably have seen several file types that the Macs leave around the file server.  Most of the time you will see .ds_store files appearing where ever a Mac has browsed the file server.  These meta data files are used by the macs telling the finder how to display, where to appear on the screen, what view to use etc.. but becomes problematic when you have a few users with different resolutions or systems with and without dual monitor are browsing the same file server.  Some backup solutions and DFS Replication can have issues with these files as well.

Apple documents the ability to turn off the .ds_store files here: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1629 but isn’t totally complete in the instructions so I have documented the process here.

1.  Open Terminal.
2. Change Directory 
    cd ~/library/preferences
3. Write the plist file with the following command: 
    defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true

4. Read the plist with the following command
   defaults read com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores
4. Either restart the computer or log out and back in to the user account.

This applies the setting to the current user but does not impact any other users.  To apply this to all future users who login to the machine copy the .plist file from the user directory to the user template with this command:

Sudo cp ~/library/preferences/com.apple.desktopservices.plist
  /system/library/UserTemplate/English.lproj/Library/Preferences

If you need to disable .ds_store files for an existing user use this command:

Sudo cp ~/library/preferences/com.apple.desktopservices.plist
/users/"username"/library/Preferences


Communicator 13.1 adds Screen Sharing

I am a little behind the curve on this, but in the most recent update to Mac Office Communicator, Microsoft has added Desktop Sharing for the mac clients.  This is one of the last features that was in the Lync client that was still missing from Communicator for Mac.

For all the info on the update go here. To update the clients kick off Microsoft Office Auto Update and it will download the new link client.

The one one remaining feature missing… white boarding and PowerPoint sharing…. but I can live without that for now.


Nearly Brilliant Insights

I came across an article this week that I have described to several as “Nearly Brilliant”.  It is possibly one of the most well written and well articulated articles about “managing geeks” I have seen. While I don’t claim to have read every IT management article, this is one of the best I have read.   I am am always on the lookout to get better at what I do as well as lead the team I lead better.  As a geek who manages geeks, I am always looking for insights to lead my team as well as improve how we serve our organization.

This article should be read by IT Pros as a look inward to make those natural hang-ups less of an issue and for those who manage IT Pros to understand a little more of why IT pros do what they do.

From "The Unspoken Truth About Managing Geeks”  found on ComputerWorld.com written by Jeff Ello.

——————————————-

Understanding why IT pros appear to act the way they do makes working with, among and as one of them the easiest job in the world.

It’s all about respect
Few people notice this, but for IT groups respect is the currency of the realm. IT pros do not squander this currency. Those whom they do not believe are worthy of their respect might instead be treated to professional courtesy, a friendly demeanor or the acceptance of authority. Gaining respect is not a matter of being the boss and has nothing to do with being likeable or sociable; whether you talk, eat or smell right; or any measure that isn’t directly related to the work. The amount of respect an IT pro pays someone is a measure of how tolerable that person is when it comes to getting things done, including the elegance and practicality of his solutions and suggestions. IT pros always and without fail, quietly self-organize around those who make the work easier, while shunning those who make the work harder, independent of the organizational chart.

This self-ordering behavior occurs naturally in the IT world because it is populated by people skilled in creative analysis and ordered reasoning. Doctors are a close parallel. The stakes may be higher in medicine, but the work in both fields requires a technical expertise that can’t be faked and a proficiency that can only be measured by qualified peers. I think every good IT pro on the planet idolizes Dr. House (minus the addictions).

While everyone would like to work for a nice person who is always right, IT pros will prefer a jerk who is always right over a nice person who is always wrong. Wrong creates unnecessary work, impossible situations and major failures. Wrong is evil, and it must be defeated. Capacity for technical reasoning trumps all other professional factors, period.

Foundational (bottom-up) respect is not only the largest single determining factor in the success of an IT team, but the most ignored. I believe you can predict success or failure of an IT group simply by assessing the amount of mutual respect within it.

The elements of the stereotypes
Ego — Similar to what good doctors do, IT pros figure out that the proper projection of ego engenders trust and reduces apprehension. Because IT pros’ education does not emphasize how to deal with people, there are always rough edges. Ego, as it plays out in IT, is an essential confidence combined with a not-so-subtle cynicism. It’s not about being right for the sake of being right but being right for the sake of saving a lot of time, effort, money and credibility. IT is a team sport, so being right or wrong impacts other members of the group in non-trivial ways. Unlike in many industries, in IT, colleagues can significantly influence the careers of the entire team. Correctness yields respect, respect builds good teams, and good teams build trust and maintain credibility through a healthy projection of ego. Strong IT groups view correctness as a virtue, and certitude as a delivery method. Meek IT groups, beaten down by inconsistent policies and a lack of structural support, are simply ineffective at driving change and creating efficiencies, getting mowed over by the clients, the management or both at every turn.

The victim mentality — IT pros are sensitive to logic — that’s what you pay them for. When things don’t add up, they are prone to express their opinions on the matter, and the level of response will be proportional to the absurdity of the event. The more things that occur that make no sense, the more cynical IT pros will become. Standard organizational politics often run afoul of this, so IT pros can come to be seen as whiny or as having a victim mentality. Presuming this is a trait that must be disciplined out of them is a huge management mistake. IT pros complain primarily about logic, and primarily to people they respect. If you are dismissive of complaints, fail to recognize an illogical event or behave in deceptive ways, IT pros will likely stop complaining to you. You might mistake this as a behavioral improvement, when it’s actually a show of disrespect. It means you are no longer worth talking to, which leads to insubordination.

Insubordination — This is a tricky one. Good IT pros are not anti-bureaucracy, as many observers think. They are anti-stupidity. The difference is both subjective and subtle. Good IT pros, whether they are expected to or not, have to operate and make decisions with little supervision. So when the rules are loose and logical and supervision is results-oriented, supportive and helpful to the process, IT pros are loyal, open, engaged and downright sociable. Arbitrary or micro-management, illogical decisions, inconsistent policies, the creation of unnecessary work and exclusionary practices will elicit a quiet, subversive, almost vicious attitude from otherwise excellent IT staff. Interestingly, IT groups don’t fall apart in this mode. From the outside, nothing looks to be wrong and the work still gets done. But internally, the IT group, or portions of it, may cut themselves off almost entirely from the intended management structure. They may work on big projects or steer the group entirely from the shadows while diverting the attention of supervisors to lesser topics. They believe they are protecting the organization, as well as their own credibility — and they are often correct.

Credit whoring — IT pros would prefer to make a good decision than to get credit for it. What will make them seek credit is the danger that a member of the group or management who is dangerous to the process might receive the credit for the work instead. That is insulting. If you’ve got a lot of credit whores in your IT group, there are bigger problems causing it.

Antisocial behavior — It’s fair to say that there is a large contingent of IT pros who are socially unskilled. However, this doesn’t mean those IT pros are antisocial. On the whole, they have plenty to say. If you want to get your IT pros more involved, you should deal with the problems laid out above and then train your other staff how to deal with IT. Users need to be reminded a few things, including:

  • IT wants to help me.
  • I should keep an open mind.
  • IT is not my personal tech adviser, nor is my work computer my personal computer.
  • IT people have lives and other interests.

Like anyone else, IT people tend to socialize with people who respect them. They’ll stop going to the company picnic if it becomes an occasion for everyone to list all the computer problems they never bothered to mention before.

How we elicit the stereotypes
What executives often fail to recognize is that every decision made that impacts IT is a technical decision. Not just some of the decisions, and not just the details of the decision, but every decision, bar none.

With IT, you cannot separate the technical aspects from the business aspects. They are one and the same, each constrained by the other and both constrained by creativity. Creativity is the most valuable asset of an IT group, and failing to promote it can cost an organization literally millions of dollars.

Most IT pros support an organization that is not involved with IT. The primary task of any IT group is to teach people how to work. That may sound authoritarian, but it’s not. IT’s job at the most fundamental level is to build, maintain and improve frameworks within which to accomplish tasks. You may not view a Web server as a framework to accomplish tasks, but it does automate the processes of advertising, sales, informing and entertaining, all of which would otherwise be done in other ways. IT groups literally teach and reteach the world how to work. That’s the job.

When you understand the mission of IT, it isn’t hard to see why co-workers and supervisors are judged severely according to their abilities to contribute to that process. If someone has to constantly be taught Computers 101 every time a new problem presents itself, he can’t contribute in the most fundamental way. It is one thing to deal with that from a co-worker, but quite another if the people who represent IT to the organization at large aren’t cognizant of how the technology works, can’t communicate it in the manner the IT group needs it communicated, can’t maintain consistency, take credit for the work of the group members, etc. This creates a huge morale problem for the group. Executives expect expert advice from the top IT person, but they have no way of knowing when they aren’t getting it. Therein lies the problem.

IT pros know when this is happening, and they find that it is impossible to draw attention to it. Once their work is impeded by the problem, they will adopt strategies and behaviors that help circumvent the issue. That is not a sustainable state, but how long it takes to deteriorate can be days, months or even years.

How to Fix It
So, if you want to have a really happy, healthy and valuable IT group, I recommend one thing: Take an interest. IT pros work their butts off for people they respect, so you need to give them every reason to afford you some.

You can start with the hiring process. When hiring an IT pro, imagine you’re recruiting a doctor. And if you’re hiring a CIO, think of employing a chief of medicine. The chief of medicine should have many qualifications, but first and foremost, he should be a practicing doctor. Who decides if a doctor is a doctor? Other doctors! So, if your IT group isn’t at the table for the hiring process of their bosses and peers, this already does a disservice to the process.

Favor technical competence and leadership skills. Standard managerial processes are nearly useless in an IT group. As I mentioned, if you’ve managed to hire well in the lower ranks of your IT group, the staff already know how to manage things. Unlike in many industries, the fight in most IT groups is in how to get things done, not how to avoid work. IT pros will self-organize, disrupt and subvert in the name of accomplishing work. An over-structured, micro-managing, technically deficient runt, no matter how polished, who’s thrown into the mix for the sake of management will get a response from the professional IT group that’s similar to anyone’s response to a five-year-old tugging his pants leg.

What IT pros want in a manager is a technical sounding board and a source of general direction. Leadership and technical competence are qualities to look for in every member of the team. If you need someone to keep track of where projects are, file paperwork, produce reports and do customer relations, hire some assistants for a lot less money.

When it comes to performance checks, yearly reviews are worthless without a 360-degree assessment. Those things take more time than a simple top-down review, but it is time well spent. If you’ve been paying attention to what I’ve been telling you about how IT groups behave and organize, then you will see your IT group in a whole different light when you read the group’s 360s.

And make sure all your managers are practicing and learning. It is very easy to slip behind the curve in those positions, but just as with doctors, the only way to be relevant is to practice and maintain an expertise. In IT, six months to a year is all that stands between respect and irrelevance.

Finally, executives should have multiple in-points to the IT team. If the IT team is singing out of tune, it is worth investigating the reasons. But you’ll never even know if that’s the case if the only information you receive is from the CIO. Periodically, bring a few key IT brains to the boardroom to observe the problems of the organization at large, even about things outside of the IT world, if only to make use of their exquisitely refined BS detectors. A good IT pro is trained in how to accomplish work; their skills are not necessarily limited to computing. In fact, the best business decision-makers I know are IT people who aren’t even managers.

As I said at the very beginning, it’s all about respect. If you can identify and cultivate those individuals and processes that earn genuine respect from IT pros, you’ll have a great IT team. Taking an honest interest in helping your IT group help you is probably the smartest business move an organization can make. It also makes for happy, completely non-geek-like geeks.

Jeff Ello is a hybrid veteran of the IT and CG industries, currently managing IT for the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. He can be contacted at jello@techoped.com.


MS Lync 2010–Deployment Prep

This is part two of the MS Lync Deployment Series:

Project Scope
Preparing for Deployment – Research and Education and Pricing
Deployment of Standard Server & Director Role
Deployment of Edge and Reverse Proxy
Deployment of Lync Voice Capabilities
Configuring Lync PSTN Calling thru Avaya IPOffice
Configure Lync 4 Digit Extension Dialing without DIDs
Configure Asterisk as a SIP Proxy for Avaya IPO and and Lync
Deployment of Lync Client to users
Testing Configuration of Backup Registrar
Training

 

Preparing for Deployment – Research and Education and Pricing
We started reviewing products that would fulfill the requirements of our project in late summer of 2010.  At that time most of the products we were reviewing were primarily video conferencing/voice providers.  The list included but wasn’t limited to: Skype, WebEx, Adobe Connect, ooVoo, TokBox, Windows Live Messenger, Microsoft Office Communications Server and some various locally hosted IM solutions.   While many would fit many of our requirements few would allow for centrally managed and deployed solutions.  Others wouldn’t fit the budget.

Many times we reviewed OCS but felt that it lacked many of the “WebEx” type web conferencing tools and was quite costly for IM and Presence.  Not to mention deployment appeared to be a fairly large undertaking.

Most “free” or low cost solutions had no integration points with our existing voice system and/or deployment and management were extremely difficult to manage on a scale past just a couple computers.  Example: Skype and ooVoo could both do video/voice but deployment was nearly impossible to the whole organization even though the price was right (Free or almost free)

In the Early fall of 2010 MS Lync was on the horizon and better integrated many of the ‘lacking’ features of its predecessor OCS.  Very quickly Lync was much more than IM and started to fit many of our criteria.

After attending WinConnections conferencing in Las Vegas in November 2010 we had enough information to make a decision…. Lync was the right tool for our organization.

 

Documentation/Tools/Resources for Learning about and Deploying Lync

Because Lync is a fairly young product I have documented the tools/resources that we have used as educational guides and deployment guides for Lync.  Because we started testing for our deployment in the fall of 2010 MS Lync was still in RC (Release Candidate) form.  Most of the documents can be applied to the RTM version and since then MS has released other resources… but here is a good list to start you off:

 

Previous: Project Scope
Next: Deployment of Standard Server & Director Role


MS Lync 2010 – Project Scope

This post is part one of our MS Lync Deployment.

Project Scope
Preparing for Deployment – Research and Education and Pricing
Deployment of Standard Server & Director Role
Deployment of Edge and Reverse Proxy
Deployment of Lync Voice Capabilities
Configuring Lync PSTN Calling thru Avaya IPOffice
Configure Lync 4 Digit Extension Dialing without DIDs
Configure Asterisk as a SIP Proxy for Avaya IPO and and Lync
Deployment of Lync Client to users
Testing Configuration of Backup Registrar
Training

 

Project Planning:

A significant project in the past several months has been researching and preparing to deploy a organization wide instant messaging/presence and video conferencing solution.  The need for such a solution has increased primarily because of our launch of a campus in Galesburg.  While we are still only in the preparation stages of this campus opening, already we have seen the need for better connectivity between staff in two physical locations helping us define the list of requirements for this project.

Requirements:

  • Provide a toolset that allows intercampus communications via Instant Messaging, Video and Voice.
  • A product that is standardized and has enterprise level support.
  • A product that can be centrally managed and deployed across the organization
  • A product that fits in budget.
  • A product that can interact with various platforms  both OS and Communications Platform (primarily IM)
  • A product that can cohabitate with or eventually replace our Avaya IPOffice PBX
  • A product that can work with Analog POTS Lines, PRI Services and SIP Trunks
  • A tool that allows for staff connectivity (Voice/Video & IM) anywhere there is a internet connection.

 

Next: Preparing for Deployment – Research and Education and Pricing


National Church IT RoundTable 2/24-2/25

The Spring 2010 Church IT RoundTable is just a few weeks away in Sunny Florida!   If you haven’t registered go on over to www.citrt.org.  This event will be our best yet!  Where else will you find a event for under $100 that Includes tours of Northland Church in Orlando and an “Up Close and Personal” Tour of the Kennedy Space Center.. and that’s just the pre-event agenda! (Both tours are included in the event registration.)

One of the great aspects of the CITRT National events is meeting up with IT Peers you already know and meeting new peers too!  Where else can you meet up with Church IT professionals who do what you do at ministries all over the country, all with the same goals to learn from others experiences or to share things learned over the last year. 

If the peer learning wasn’t enough, there are some great event sponsors participating and are ready to give you the necessary help or information to roll out those big projects for the coming year.  We will be again having the Vendor Bazaar were CITRT partners can share, demo, explain etc the technology and tools they sell.

Maybe there is already one of those “would it be possible…” projects on your list and you don’t know how to get the solutions.. I am sure someone at the RoundTable will have an answer or know someone who does.

If you are joining us at the RoundTable but you haven’t invited a colleague from your town to join you what are you waiting for, make the call and allow someone new to experience CITRT this spring!

See you in Florida!


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