Regionally Hosted Meetings & Audio Conferencing in Skype for Business Online…

If you’re looking at migrating a global organisation from an on-premises environment to Skype for Business Online, it’s likely that you’ve thought about Regionally Hosted Meetings. After all, you probably took a lot of time designing your on-prem environment to position your pools appropriately in order to achieve the best quality calls and meetings for your users. Why should online be any different?

Well, Microsoft might often tell you how amazing their network is and that as long as as you get into their network as soon as possible you should get a good experience no matter where your users are located. This is for the most part true; Microsoft have likely spent more money than you ever will on their network so you’re in good hands. However, you can’t escape the geography or the physics; a user in Sydney is likely to have a far better quality meeting if their call is bridged locally instead of 10,000 miles away in London, Ireland or Amsterdam.

So, this is where regionally hosted meetings comes in. I’m not going to write about the feature itself; it’s pretty self-explanatory and lots of detail can be found here.

Note: RHM is still on limited release, so you’re going to need to speak to someone as Microsoft about getting this enabled for your tenant. Start with your account team and see what happens.

What I am going to write about is the effect RHM has on Audio Conferencing. Whilst on the face of it RHM looks similar to having Front-End pools in multiple regions like you would in your on-prem environment, when it comes to Audio Conferencing its a bit more fragmented. This is more noticeable when you come to look at Audio Conferencing configuration.

The first thing you might notice when enabling RHM is that there is not one set of shared access numbers across all regions. There are distinct dial-in conferencing regions. These don’t necessarily match your enabled RHM regions though. For example, I have RHM enabled in Europe (EUR), Asia Pacific (APC), Australia (AUS) and North America (NAM) but only have 3 dial-in conferencing regions. APC and AUS seem to share a dial-in conferencing region.

What this means is that if you’ve added any new dial-in numbers in your default region and you want to replicate this for all your users no matter what region they’re hosted, you’re gonna need to do this again for any other regions you enable.

This is where it gets a bit tricky as you cannot do this in the portal. Enter Powershell.

How to find your dial-in conferencing bridges

You’re going to need to know the IDs of your dial-in conferencing bridges to add new numbers to them. You can find them using this command:

Get-CsOnlineDialInConferencingBridge

The BridgeId is the Identity.

Get-CsOnlineDialInConferencingBridge

Remember that you may see greater or fewer conferencing bridges than this depending on how many regions you’ve enabled for RHM.

How to add a number to a non-default dial-in conferencing region

  1. First you need to acquire your service numbers in the normal way via the portal. Don’t assign the number otherwise this will be assigned to your default conferencing bridge.
  2. Make sure you’ve run the command above to get your conferencing bridge IDs.
  3. Run the following command to register the new number:
Register-CsOnlineDialInConferencingServiceNumber [new_number_here] -BridgeId xxxxxxxx–xxxx–xxxx–xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx

Note: Don’t include the leading + when entering your number above.

Find the RHM region and BridgeId for a particular user

You can see the RHM region for a particular user by running the following command:

Get-CsUserLocationStatus [user@domain.com]
Get-CsUserLocationStatus

You can see the BridgeId and conferencing region for a particular user by running this command:

Get-CsOnlineDialInConferencingUser [user@domain.com]
Get-CsOnlineDialInConferencingUser

Viewing your dial-in conferencing numbers for different regions

So, you’ve made a load of changes and want to check it all out? You can do this a couple of ways:

  1. You’re going to need your BridgeIds using one of the methods above.
  2. The easiest and most eye-friendly way of doing this is by using the ‘Find a local number’ link from your invite. Open a browser and go to the following URL using the appropriate BridgeIds:
https://dialin2.lync.com/xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx

3. To view a (less readable) version of this in PowerShell, run the following command:

Get-CsOnlineDialInConferencingServiceNumber -BridgeId xxxxxxxx–xxxx–xxxx–xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
Get-CsOnlineDialInConferencingServiceNumber

Hope that helps a few people to configure Audio Conferencing when getting ready to utilise RHM.

Any questions, please ask.