CWA 2007 R2 and Normalization Rules

This post addresses inconsistencies with how Communicator Web Access 2007 R2 (CWA) implements normalization rules in relation to OC and other OCS clients.

Author: Jens Trier Rasmussen

Publication date: March 2009

Product version: Office Communications Server 2007 R2

OCS 2007 introduced the concept of location profiles and normalization rules to convert phone numbers from one format to another, typically to E.164 formatted numbers with a prefixed ‘+’. A set of normalization rules are assigned to a location profile and within the location profile the rules can be ordered to control which rule will be applied first in case multiple rules can be used for a given phone number.

The concept is shown on the following screenshot from Enterprise Voice Route Helper. The four rules are all configured to handle 4 digit numbers and the ordering defines the result of normalization to be 1111.

CWA allows users to enter phone numbers in a number of places including configuring call forward settings, re-directing audio calls and dialing out. CWA uses the normalization rules defined in the location profile configured on the pool (default location profile) of the user signing in to CWA.

In certain circumstances CWA will not produce the intended normalization of a phone number. The following screenshot illustrates the problem.


Using the normalization rules from earlier OC shows the intended normalization to 1111, but CWA normalizes to 3333. CWA produces 3333 because it is not honoring the defined ordering of the normalization rules in the location profile. Instead CWA will order the normalization rules according to creation time in Active Directory and it will use older rules before newer rules.  The creation times of the normalization rules are shown on the following screenshot from a LDP.


So based on when you created the normalization rules and which order you defined you might end up in this situation. What do to about it? Microsoft will change CWA to use the defined ordering in a future version of CWA, but until that is available you will have to use work-arounds.

One work-around is to avoid the normalization in the first place and always use E.164 formatted numbers with a prefixed ‘+’.

If this is not possible you will have to create new copies of the relevant normalization rules and you will have to do it in the intended order. You can do it in the current location profile and then just delete the unwanted rules.

To find out when exactly your normalization rules were created you can use LDP or ADSIedit, but if you are only interested in the sequence they were created in you can use Enterprise Voice Route Helper or the OCS 2007 R2 MMC snap-in.  The Copy Phone Number Normalization Rule dialogue box will list the rules by creation time, as can be seen in the following screenshot.


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