Headset review: Plantronics v8200 UC

Another headset review coming up. This time it’s the new Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC, a boom less headset for the business market aimed at the productive worker needing a headset to block out unwanted noise in an open office environment.

The Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC is such a headset. It’s delivered in a soft pouch together with a USB Bluetooth dongle(always use it when connecting to your PC/Mac), a USB charging cable and a mini jack cable for those times when Bluetooth cannot be used(in flight mode for example). The headset is available in two colors, black(the one showed in this post) and white. It has a quite nice finish with leather and aluminum, and no microphone boom.

The boom less construction is surprisingly effective, and both audio quality during conversations and the reduction of background noise is quite good. The callee is not able to hear any noise in the background when making a call, even in a quite noisy environment. The ANC has two settings when turned on, that is Medium and High. With my limited hearing I’m not able to separate the two 🙂

There are also functions for open mic, mute etc. all controlled from the buttons on the headset. When playing music, you can control play/pause, skip forward and backward etc. Incoming calls are prioritized, and answering calls are done with the buttons on the headset or by the auto answer function if the headset is lying on your desk. This is one of my favourite features with Plantronics headsets designed for UC and certified for Skype for Business. The proximity sensors allows for automatic features as ANC on/off and automatic pause of movies/music and answer/mute calls when the headset is put on or taken off. The automatic disabling of ANC when the headset is not used also acts as a power saving feature.
There are however something to bear in mind when it comes to proximity sensors and machine connectivity. As mentioned earlier in this post, the USB dongle has to be used when connecting to a PC or Mac. That being said, I’ve experienced differences between Mac OSx and Windows operating systems when it comes to operating the headset. Specially the Mac OSx seems somewhat limited in regards to controlling playback of music from the headset. I’m sure this is a problem related to the operating system API and not the headset as it works fine in a Windows Client.

When it comes to playing music or watching movies using this headset, it delivers very good sound(at least in my opinion). When using the BT dongle that comes with the headset, I’ve not experienced any problems with audio playback. Some people has experienced audio delay when streaming audio over Bluetooth, but this is not my impression. I’ve tested audio streaming both with USB dongle on my MacBook and with my iPhone and experienced no audio delay.

The Plantronics Voyager v8200 UC is in my opinion a very good all round headset which delivers excellent performance both when used as a productivity headset and as an entertainment headset streaming music and watching movies. It’s a very good alternative to the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC, which in my opinion has been the best UC headset on the market up until now 🙂

Advertisements

Headset review: Jabra Evolve 75 UC

After a long time without writing anything, I thought it would be nice with a review of a new headset I got to try out.

Previously, I’ve linked to Staale Hansen’s review of the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC headset. This headset is, in my opinion, one of the best UC headsets on the market.

My review this time will be of the Jabra Evolve 75 headset, which is Jabra’s alternative to Plantronics Voyager Focus UC and a step up from the Jabra Evolve 65 which I wrote about in an earlier post.

The headset comes in two different variants, one with just the headset and the other with a USB desk stand for charging the headset. The Jabra Evolve 75 is certified for Skype for Business and has passed Microsofts test regime for UC headsets(or should I say IC headset (intelligent Communications)). It has ha quite nice “pouch” to cary it around in, which is kind of a hard case which keeps the headset in place and has a little pocket in the lid for the USB cable. It also has a small slot for the USB dongle(which you would want to use together with your PC/LapTop/Mac as this is automatically paired with the headset to give you all the softphone features).

Using the headset is quite easy. The button for power on/off and bluetooth pairing is located on the same earpod as the microphone boom. The boom auto-mutes the headset when you raise it to an upright position and it’s beeing kept in place by a small magnet. The power switch can be somewhat difficult to locate when wearing the headset, as it is quite small. On the other earpod, the buttons for listening in(disabling the ANC) and ANC on/off are located.

The mute button on top of the right earpod also allows for interaction with Siri(on iPhones). Press once, and Siri pops up on your phone asking what she can do for you 🙂

Press volume up/down simultaneously will turn on and off the Busylight indicator located on each of the earpods. This is one of the features of this headset that I like and miss with other vendors.

The Jabra Evolve 75 has the possibility to connect to two different Bluetooth devices simultaneously, giving you the option to stream music and answer calls on your preferred device.

All in all, Jabra Evolve 75 is a very good UC headset. Compared to the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC, it has some limitations and some advantages. The clearly visible Busylight beeing the one feature which I miss with the Voyager Focus, but the lack of smartsensors that are a very nice feature with the Foucs puts it in a 2’nd place in my opinion.
One example: On the Jabra Evolve, The ANC has to be switched off manually in order to save battery power. If you leav it on, it will consume your battery even if the headset is not used.

When it comes to audio playback and noise cancellation, both headsets are quite good and my ears are not in a state to be able to separate one from the other 🙂

Skype for Business Event ID 1034.

After migrating to Skype for Business and removing Lync 2010/2013 pools, you may encounter an event ID 1034 stating that the LS File Transfer Agent encountered an error while accessing a file share.

The file share referenced will be the share on the removed Lync 2010/2013 pool. If you run the command Get-CsCentralManagementStoreReplicationStatus -CentralManagementStoreStatus, you will se an entry of DeletedReplicas that states the server FQDN of your deleted Lync pool/server. If the server is deleted from the topology not to be used again, you can proceed with deleting the server from the XDS database.

 

The easiest way to accomplish this, is to make sure that all Lync server components are removed from the Lync server in question. Simply go ahead and remove the Lync components from the server using Add/Remove programs. Make sure to reboot the server after the removal of the Lync components. The error message in the event log should disappear after this operation.

If this is not successfull, you will have to remove the replica ID’s from the SQL database(XDS).

This procedure from the UC Lobby blog by David Paulino should do the trick.

Skype for Business Online and PSTN Conferencing

As you all probably know, Microsoft has enabled the possibility of having Dial-in PSTN Conferencing in Skype for Business Online. In order to do this, you either have to have an E5 license plan in O365, or you can purchase the add-on for PSTN Conferencing in your excisting E1 or E3 plan.

PSTN Conferencing is a very valuable add-on to the O365 Skype for Business as it will enhance the possibilities of joining meetings without having to use a client.

To read more about PSTN Conferencing, visit this site on Microsoft.com:

Dial-in conferencing in Office 365

To se which countries have PSTN Conferencing available, check out the list here.

Skype for Business Server 2015 Updates and Build Numbers.

In this post I will try to keep you updated with the current releases and build numbers for Skype for Business 2015 Server.

As of now, there has been released five updates for Skype for Business Server 2015. The Microsoft download page is updated with the latest SkypeServerUpdateInstaller, so the link will always point to the most recent CU.

Server updates and Build Numbers:

May 2017 Update – Build number 6.0.9319.281(CU6)
Be adviced: CU6 has been reported to break Web Conferencing Edge service due to updates to the .Net Framework.
Check out this TechNet article if you experience problems.

February 2017 Update – Build number 6.0.9319.277(CU5)

November 2016 Update – Build number 6.0.9319.272(CU4)

June 2016 Update – Build number 6.0.9319.239(CU3)

March 2016 Update – Build number 6.0.9319.235(CU2)

November 2015 Update – Build number 6.0.9319.102 (CU1)

 

This post will update as new CU’s are released.

Upgrading to Skype4B, things to consider.

Wrote this blogpost in May when attending the Microsoft Ignite Conference in Chicago.
Should have been posted then, but I still think it’s relevant 🙂

As you all know, the Skype4B server upgrade can be done as an in-place upgrade from Lync 2013. However, there are things to consider.

If the server is a Lync 2010 server, there is no way to do an in-place upgrade. Migration is the only way.

Lync 2013 supports the in-place upgrade as long as you can schedule downtime because the services are removed during the process.

When it comes to the server OS, you would want to concider upgrading the server if you’re on WinSrv 2008 or 2008R2. The Skype4B server install will upgrade windows fabric to the latest version, but only on 2008R2.

Recommendation: Win2008 or 2008R2 should be upgraded to 2012R2.

Implication: The upgrade process to Skype4B will have to be done as a migration if your servers are on Win2008 or Win2008R2.

Skype for Business – Recover Your Deployment from a Deleted or Corrupt CMS

Incredibly useful post by Mark Vale(@unifiedvale) on how to recover from a corrupt CMS. Please do note the points in the article about making a backup of your Lync environment. You never know when you need it.

Source: Skype for Business – Recover Your Deployment from a Deleted or Corrupt CMS

Implementing backup of your Lync/Skype for Business environment can be accomplished in many ways. Please check out MVP Lasse Wedoe’s blog on how to as one of several resources.

Skype4B/Lync Edge Server not replicating.

In a short period of time I’ve encountered two different cases of the Edge server not replicating. Everything seems OK, but the changes simply won’t move to the Edge.

I found a great blogpost by Jaap Wesselius here that describes the exact problem and how to fix it.

Simply add the following to the registry of the Skype/Lync Edge server:

New REG_DWORD(32bit) ClientAuthenticationTrustMode with value “2” in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL

Restart the Edge server(not just the services) and toggle the Skype/Lync replication service on the FrontEnd server. Wait a few and the replication should be OK.