Lync Server 2013 FAQ

Lync Server 2013 FAQ

Lync Server 2013 Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the Lync Server 2013 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page of the Lync Server TechNet Wiki. 

Following are questions frequently asked about Lync Server 2013. Please feel free to revise this page by adding questions that you most frequently encounter in the Lync Server community. And if you can also provide the anser, all the better.

I’d like to evaluate Lync Server 2013. Where can I download the bits?

You can download an evaluation version of Lync Server 2013 at

If you’re interested in testing the next version of Lync Online based on Lync Server 2013, you can sign up at

What’s new with Lync?

Lync has always made it easy for people to communicate wherever they are, but we’re making it even better with collections of investments in the following areas:

  • Multi-party HD video in Lync Meetings based on the H.264 SVC standard. Lync meeting participants can now see up to five simultaneous live video streams plus meeting content including application, desktop, and PowerPoint sharing. Using H.264 SVC allows us to more easily support a wide range of endpoints and simplifies interoperability with third-party video equipment.
  • Modern, mobile, and web clients. We’re excited to take advantage of Windows 8 to deliver a seamless, touch first experience with our new Lync Windows Store app. We’re also enhancing our Windows Phone, iOS, and Android clients and our PC and Mac web apps with voice and video over IP. We’re delivering on the promise of “access anywhere” with a familiar and engaging experience whether you’re on a Windows PC or tablet, Mac, mobile device, or browser.
  • Additional integration with Office and other Microsoft applications. Lync users will benefit from “one-click” communications directly from within Outlook, SharePoint, OneNote and other Microsoft applications; users don’t have to leave these applications when they need to reach out to others. During Lync Meetings, users can now use OneNote shared notebooks with other meeting participants. Integration with Office Web Apps to improve the overall experience of users presenting or viewing PowerPoint presentations during Lync Meetings, including better support for PowerPoint capabilities such as animations, slide transitions, and embedded video.

Certain new features in this release draw on integration with Exchange. For example, if your organization uses both Lync Server 2013 and Exchange Server 2013, you can store Lync contact lists in Exchange to allow users to access and manage their contacts from Lync 2013, Outlook, or Outlook Web App. Using Lync and Exchange together also allows you to use high-resolution photos for contacts in Lync 2013, Lync Web App, Outlook 2013, and Outlook Web App.

  • Federation with Skype. Lync users are able to see presence for Skype users and to communicate with them via instant messaging and voice.

You can learn more from our product details page.

With this release, do Lync Server 2013 and Lync Online now offer the same feature set?

We’re rapidly adding capability to Lync Online and making features available to more countries around the world, including the addition of Lync-to-phone to our service, but the two aren’t yet at parity. Lync Server offers the full set of critical voice features required by enterprises, whereas Lync Online’s voice feature set today is better suited to individuals and some small businesses. 

Customers using Lync Online who also have a requirement for phone (PSTN) dial-in access to Lync Meetings must contract the services of an Audio Conferencing Partner (ACP) whereas Lync Server can support the PSTN dial-in and related features set without requiring customers to use an ACP.

It’s also important to keep in mind that not all customers choose to take advantage of our full set of voice features immediately, and that for many customers, the instant messaging, presence, Lync Meetings, and peer-to-peer voice and video features in Lync Online meet and often exceed customer needs.

If my company wants to use Lync enterprise voice features and, therefore, chooses to use Lync Server, are we also required to use Exchange Server?

No. We recommend that customers use Lync Server 2013 to provide enterprise voice services to users, but they still have options that allow them to take advantage of Office 365. In particular:

  • Lync Server interoperates with Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. As a result, customers can operate Lync Server on premises, but still take advantage of the online versions of Exchange and SharePoint.
  • Lync will support a hybrid configuration in which unified communications for some users is provided by Lync Server and unified communications for other users is provided by Lync Online. As a result, customers have the option to provide unified communications to their enterprise voice users from Lync Server and to all other users from Lync Online.

Are you updating your Lync client for the iPad?

We updated the Lync client for the iPad during the summer of 2012 to add PowerPoint content sharing. We have added voice and video over IP to our Windows Phone, iOS, and Android smartphone clients with this release.

In terms of federation between Lync and Skype, you intend to deliver presence, instant messaging, and voice calling.  What about video?  What about the ability for Skype users to join a Lync meeting?

We have no news to share today in terms of support for video federation between Lync and Skype.

With Lync Web App for Lync meetings, effectively any PC or Mac user will be able to join a Lync Meeting and enjoy the full experience including audio, video, and content sharing, and any phone user can join the audio portion of a Lync meeting, but we aren’t enabling Skype clients to connect directly to Lync meetings.

Microsoft announced the Skype acquisition in May of 2011, but its integration with Office and Lync seems very thin at this point. What can consumers expect?

The new Office comes with Skype. For consumers, Office 365 Home Premium comes with 60 minutes of worldwide calling per month. All Skype users can see presence and easily connect with each other from within Office applications.

For businesses, Lync users will be able to see presence and IM or call anyone on Skype.

Integrating Skype across the Microsoft portfolio is an ambitious effort and a long-term investment, but you can already start to see the ways in which Skype is impacting our consumer and business offerings for Office.

Has the Skype acquisition changed your view of future potential of Lync?

Yes. Skype accelerates the path that Lync is on. Lync is the leader in the unified communications market and delivers communications capabilities in a unified client experience on any device, anywhere—in the cloud, on-premises, or a combination of the two. We’ve continued to see tremendous growth, and Lync continues to be an area of investment for Microsoft.  With Skype, we see the potential to connect businesses with Lync with hundreds of millions of people, making it possible for our customers to connect and collaborate without constraints with suppliers, customers and partners, all from within business-grade tools. With Lync and Skype together we see a future in which these rich experiences are the new common denominator for business communications.

As a small/mid-sized business, should I buy and use Skype or Lync?

We expect many small business customers will consider both products and choose the one which best meets their needs:

  • Skype is optimized for organizations of fewer than 25 people and is popular with consumers and small businesses around the world. As we’ve demonstrated, Skype will interoperate with Office applications in the future, making it even more useful to the hundreds of millions of people who use it every day.
  • Lync Online is part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite of services, and is used by businesses of all sizes, from small businesses to multi-national enterprises. Lync interoperates not only with Office applications, but also with Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and other Office 365 services.

 How should enterprises choose between Skype and Lync?  After all, Skype is free.

  • Skype is best for organizations and teams of fewer than 25 or so people.
  • Lync is an enterprise-ready unified communications platform. For a solution to deploy and manage across your organization, we strongly recommend Lync. Lync offers additional capabilities that are valuable to many larger organizations:
    • Lync provides capabilities that we hear from IT are important for unified communications solutions. For example:
      • Lync provides professional online meetings that will scale to hundreds of participants, offers PBX features to address the requirements of enterprise voice deployments, and uses Microsoft management tools to provide configuration flexibility and control.
      • Lync also offers a system that deeply integrates with Active Directory, Exchange and SharePoint.
      • Additionally, Lync has the option of running as a hosted service or as an on-premises deployment and has many options for customized support, including Microsoft Services Premier Support.
    • Lync customers have the benefits of Lync with the reach of Skype. A Lync user is able to see presence and IM or call anyone on Skype.
    • Scalability for professional meetings to hundreds of participants: Lync Meetings include audio, video, and web conferencing for 250 attendees or more, and allow application, desktop, and application sharing.
    • Interoperability with Microsoft management tools to provide configuration flexibility and control: Lync uses Active Directory for user authentication, Exchange for unified messaging, and Systems Center Operations Manager for monitoring.  Lync also supports PowerShell and role-based access control (RBAC).

Does the fact that Skype will now light up Office presence and contact cards mean that Microsoft is replacing Lync with Skype?

Enabling Office users to easily connect to their Skype contacts is a great way to make Office better while making Skype even more useful to the hundreds of millions of people who rely on it every month, but Lync continues to be an area of significant investment for us because it satisfies the full set of enterprise unified communications requirements.

With the announcement of Lync-to-phone, Lync now seems to have many of the same capabilities as Skype. How do I choose which one to use?

  • Office 365 is a full set of productivity and collaboration tools delivered as a subscription service for organizations of all sizes. Lync-to-phone adds to the Office 365 experience, making it even easier to work together from virtually anywhere.  Skype is a standalone communications application targeted at individual consumers and most likely best matched with the communications needs of organizations with fewer than 25 people.
  • Lync-to-phone is a new capability that brings a cloud calling service to Office 365.  It is available as part of the offering designed for midsized businesses and enterprises and enables users to make and receive phone calls from their PCs, tablets, or smart phones. It also provides drag-and-drop conference calling and voicemail in your email inbox via Exchange Online.
  • Lync-to-phone is launching first in the US and UK and requires a separate calling service from a telecommunications partner who can provide numbers, calling plans, and services such as emergency calling and number porting.

Lync competes against some well-established competitors in the VoIP/UC market. What differentiates Lync from Cisco and the others? 

Lync provides a consistent single-client experience for presence, instant messaging, voice, and a great Lync meeting experience. Lync also eliminates the need to use a VPN for encryption when accessing these communication types.

Lync also delivers a unified communications management experience for an IT organization, bringing together capabilities that other vendors in the communications space deliver as entirely separate products, often acquired via acquisition and integrated on an ad hoc basis or only “integrated” via branding.  Unlike these “unified” communications solutions, Lync allows an IT organization to manage all of its real-time communications using a single administration model, a single directory, and a single set of tools.  This leads to lower costs for IT organizations to deliver more capabilities to end users.

Connecting to Skype endpoints from Lync enables rich communication with hundreds of millions of people from business-grade tools, reduce costs through simplification, and allow IT to take control of the “consumerization” of IT while giving employees what they want.

But isn’t it true that Cisco offers a better mobile experience when compared to Lync?

No. People want to be productive from anywhere, but with Cisco’s fragmented client experience, you can find it harder to be productive at all.

Lync delivers a better experience that holds true whether we’re talking about mobile phones, tablets, PCs, Macs, or browsers. And the new Lync raises the bar even higher.

This is why Lync continues to grow double digits and rank as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications.

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