Aurus Blog

This blog is to share our expertise in Cisco UCM, UCCX/UCCE and Cisco Telepresence.

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Guide to Integrate Cisco MCU with Skype for Business. Part 1 – Prerequisites


This set of articles describes how to integrate Cisco MCU with Skype for Business and make available calls from MCU to S4B users. This is a guest post that we found very useful to our audience.

Let's start with the description of the infrastructure.

MCU1-MCUn – multipoint control units – the hardware to host video audio/video conferences. It is responsible for the connection and encoding. The connection means sending video/audio stream from one endpoint to all the others. Encoding means encoding and decoding video/audio stream between the endpoints.

E1-En – video endpoints: desk endpoints, room endpoint, IP phones, software clients.

VCS Control – provides video call and session control, endpoint registration, call routing. VCS stands for Video Control Server. This is a sip-server and a controller for H.323 zones. Also used for integration with third-party applications: IP PBX, Microsoft OCS, Lync 2010, Lync 2013 (an additional license is required). B2BUA for S4B support hasn't been announced yet.

VCS Express Way – server to connect with external video endpoints. It helps the remote clients to connect from outside the firewall.

CUCM – Call Manager – the Cisco IP PBX.

ME1 – Lync 2013 mediation server used for integration with third-party telephony.

Edge1 – Lync 2013 edge server used for connecting remote clients.

FE1 – front end Lync server used for registering clients, exchanging presence statuses and messages, creating audio and video conferences.

Ei and Li – Cisco and Lync clients respectively on the internet.

VCS Control supports B2BUA role for connecting to a Lync 2013 front end server, but the separate Microsoft Interoperability option key is required. It's also possible to install the Cisco CUCILync plug-in on the Lync clients, but in our case this won't be convenient, and separate licenses are also required.

In April 2015, Microsoft released the next Lync version called Skype for Business. It has the new Video Interop Server role that enables integrating third-party videoconferencing systems with S4B users. Jeff Schertz gives a very detailed description of the new topologies in his blog. Microsoft only supports integration with CUCM starting from the version 10.5, VCS Control support was not announced. MCU and Cisco Telepresence Server support wasn't announced as well, only calls from endpoints to S4B subscribers are supported. The endpoints should be registered on CUCM, and the MCU isn't actually used in this scenario. The list of endpoints is also very limited:

  • Cisco TelePresence Codecs (C40, C60, C90)
  • Cisco TelePresence MX Series (MX200, MX300)
  • Cisco TelePresence EX Series (EX60, EX90)
  • Cisco TelePresence SX Series (SX20)

In our case, the videoconferencing system is one of the crucial business software applications, and in addition to room endpoints we need other clients to connect to meetings.

We have decided not to upgrade all the Lync servers, but to upgrade the topology only and to add the VIS role. The Cisco-S4B topology would look as follows:

The only difference with the previous topology was the VIS role with the trunk to CUCM.

The basic integration aspects are the following:

  • only the calls from MCU to S4B are supported, not the other way around,
  • in Lync/S4B topology a separate server has to be deployed for the VIS,
  • trusted certificates are not required,
  • you won't be able to create a conference with an MCU participant on the S4B side; the meeting has to hosted on the MCU,
  • an S4B user won't be able to share the desktop send documents,
  • the CUCM version should be 10.5 or higher.