Microsoft Lync Web App communications software is a new client in Microsoft Lync Server 2010. Microsoft Lync Web App provides access to instant messaging (IM), audio access controls, and desktop sharing capabilities during online meetings. This article describes the functionality, features, and configuration in Lync Web App.
Author: Tommy Clarke
Publication date: August 2011
Product version: Lync Web App, Lync Server 2010, Lync 2010
With the release of Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Microsoft made some changes to the web experience. Microsoft Lync Web App is a browser-based application that provides access to instant messaging (IM), audio access controls, and desktop sharing capabilities during online meetings. Lync Web App is installed with Lync Server 2010 and is enabled by default.
Lync Web App evolved from Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access (2007 R2 release). Lync Web App is a Silverlight 4.0 browser plug-in–based meeting client rather than only an instant messaging client like Office Communicator Web Access (2007 R2 release) was.
When you, the Lync Server 2010 administrator, configure your Lync Server 2010 environment, there are three simple URLs to set. That is basically all you have to do—no more extra servers that require a separate computer that is running Windows Server. One of these URLs is meet.<domainName>.com, which is Lync Web App itself.
What are your options if you as the administrator want to allow your users to send instant messages from a computer that doesn’t have Microsoft Lync 2010 installed, from, let’s say, an Internet coffee shop? You have the following options:
1. Configure Microsoft Outlook Web App in Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 so that you can send instant messages directly from Outlook Web App.
2. Use a Communicator Web Access (2007 R2 release) server that is connected to Lync Server.
Note. Solution 2 is still required for the users of some mobile third-party applications. For set-up details, see Using OCS 2007 R2 CWA with Lync Server 2010.
3. Build your own client.
No matter which option you go with, your users can access Lync Web App if they’re using a computer that doesn’t have Lync 2010 installed.
Access Lync Web App
Lync Web App can be accessed by using Microsoft Outlook or Lync 2010.
Create a meeting in Microsoft Outlook, and then click Online Meeting as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Lync Online Meeting Icon
Outlook adds the meeting information and the full Lync Web App URL to the meeting invitation. Click the URL to open Lync Web App.
1. From Lync 2010, click the Show menu arrow in the Lync 2010 main window, and then click Meet Now as shown in Figure 2. This creates a new conference call.
Figure 2. Meet Now menu
2. Click Join Information and Meeting Options in the Group Conversation window (Figure 3). The Lync Web App URL appears.
Figure 3. Group conversation (1 Participant)
3. Paste the meeting’s URL to a web browser, email, and so on. The URL looks like this: https://meet.<domainName>.com/<userName>/<NCSHH64.
Join a Meeting from Lync 2010
When a user clicks a URL in Outlook to join a meeting, the Meeting Join page detects if there is a compatible Lync Server 2010 client installed on their computer as follows:
- If the Meeting Join page finds a client, the default client opens and joins the meeting. If you want to try Lync Web App, you can close the default client, and then click Try Lync Web App.
- If a client isn’t installed, the Meeting Join page displays options for joining the meeting by using other clients.
Note. The Meeting Join page always shows the option to use Lync Web App to join the meeting.
The meeting join scenarios are as follows:
- If either Lync 2010 or Microsoft Lync 2010 Attendant is installed, the default client starts and joins the meeting. If Lync 2010 is installed, it is the default.
- If neither Lync 2010 nor Lync 2010 Attendant is installed and Microsoft Lync 2010 Attendee is installed, Lync 2010 Attendee starts and joins the meeting.
- If no Lync client is installed, the Meeting Join page opens. It can be configured to give the user the following options:
- Try Lync Web App.
- Download Lync 2010 Attendee. (This link is hidden by default.)
- Use a previous version of Microsoft Office Communicator. (This link is hidden by default.)
You can configure the Meeting Join page by using the Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Control Panel to add or remove options for the end users to join meetings. (The Web Service page in the Security group). You can also configure the same settings by using the New-CsWebServiceConfiguration or Set-CsWebServiceConfiguration Lync Server Management Shell cmdlets with the ShowDownloadCommunicatorAttendeeLink and ShowJoinUsingLegacyClientLink parameters. For details, see Configure the Meeting Join Page.
Lync Web App UI for Meeting Join
The following figures show you the progression in the Lync Web App UI when you join a meeting.
The Meeting Join page always contains the option to use Lync Web App as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4. Try Lync Web App
Clicking Try Lync Web App (Figure 4) opens it in a new window, giving you two options for joining a meeting—join as a guest or join by using corporate credentials as shown in Figure 5.
Note. Pop-up blockers need to be disabled for the URL. Most browsers provide a reminder when the pop-up blocker is active.
Figure 5. Join as a guest; join using corporate credentials
Joining as a guest (Figure 6) puts the user on hold in the meeting lobby.
Figure 6. Join as a guest
Guests are welcomed and placed in the lobby (Figure 7).
Figure 7. Guest in the lobby
Online meeting options—settings for guests—can be configured on the Lync Server or in Outlook to enable them to join the meeting without having to wait in the lobby (Figure 8).
Figure 8. Online meeting options
If you want to change access rights to the meeting, you can do so directly in the meeting invitation in Outlook. Click Meeting Options to see the options that are available for the meeting.
If you are the leader or an internal user, click Join using your corporate credentials (Figure 9).
Figure 9. Join using your corporate credentials
The conversation window (shown in Figure 10) appears when you join the meeting.
Figure 10. Conversation window
Lync Web App Troubleshooting Tips
Reverse proxy misconfiguration is a common error that appears on the TechNet forums. If this error occurs, Lync Web App fails when it’s being connected to from the Internet and shows internal URLs after starting Lync Web App. If this happens, try either of the following:
- Check the port redirection. By default, the Lync Internet Information Services (IIS) server uses port 443 for internal clients and port 4443 for external clients.
- Add ?sl= to the end of the URL—this can be helpful when you troubleshoot Lync Web App. The URL will look something like this: https://meet.<domainName>.com/<userName>/NCSHH64?sl=. This change bypasses the Lync 2010 client check, letting you choose how to access Lync Web App (Figure 11).
Figure 11. Bypass Lync 2010 client check
Lync Web App Features that are Available During Meetings
The following features are available during Lync Web App meetings:
- Dial-in and dial-out (“Call me”) audio conferencing (requires that the Lync Server 2010 has public switched telephone PSTN gateway connectivity)
- Detailed meeting roster
- Multiparty IM
- Desktop and program sharing, including giving control to participants (available only for Windows operating systems
- Collaboration features, including whiteboards, polls, file sharing, and navigating Microsoft PowerPoint presentations that have been uploaded by others
Desktop Sharing in Lync Web App
If you want to share your desktop, you need to install the Lync Web App plug-in, which is a Microsoft ActiveX control. The first time that a user initiates a sharing session, they are prompted to download the required ActiveX control (Figure 12).
Figure 12. Lync Web App plug-in installation
When the plug-in is installed, the group conversation window appears (Figure 12). Here, the sharing window and sharing options are shown (Figure 13).
Figure 13. Group conversation window
Figure 14 shows two desktop sharing menus—on the left is Lync Web App; on the right is the full Lync 2010 client experience.
Figure 14. Two desktop sharing menus—Lync Web App (left); full Lync 2010 client experience (right)
The Lync Web App menu (on the left) in Figure 14 doesn’t have the option to share a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation and audio/video.
To show a PowerPoint presentation, you can share your desktop or share PowerPoint itself (Figure 15). If you are the presenter, you probably use Lync 2010 or Microsoft Lync 2010 Attendee instead of Lync Web App.
Figure 15. Phone Options in Lync Web App
Three audio options are available for joining a call (a meeting) if you have enabled Enterprise Voice; clicking Phone shows these options (Figure 16):
- Option 1: The conference calls you Lync Web App calls your phone or a phone number that you type. (These settings can be changed in the Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Control Panel conferencing.)
- Option 2: Join audio using Communicator Available only if you have a client installed.
- Option 3: Dial in to the conference Dial in to the conference by using the phone number and ID supplied.
Figure 16. Three audio options for joining the call
Lync 2010 Experience by using Outlook Web App 2010
Microsoft Outlook Web App provides basic IM functionality and has presence controls (Figure 17).
Figure 17. Outlook Web App
Outlook Web App has a full contact list (Figure 18). There’s an option to add contacts from within the Outlook Web Access. To start an IM session, double-click a contact’s name. This works when using the most popular browsers.
Figure 18. Outlook Web App contact list
Figure 19 shows the conversation window for an instant message in Outlook Web Access.
Figure 19. Outlook Web App conversation window
Lync Web App is great to use for ad hoc meetings with external users who don’t have Lync Server deployed in their organization. But there is no support for audio/video in Lync Web App; so to be able to fully use it, you need to have some sort of audio conferencing connected as well. The best experience is when Lync Server is connected to a PBX or SIP trunk in some way. You could also use a third-party phone conferencing service, just showing content in Lync Web App. Or just make a regular phone call.
To learn more, check out the following articles:
- Client Comparison Tables
- Configure Outlook Web App and Lync Server 2010 Integration
- Configure the Meeting Join Page
- Configuring Lync RC and Exchange 2010 SP1 to Enable OWA as a Lync Endpoint
- Deploying Lync Web App
- Lync Web App Features
- Lync Web App Supported Platforms
- Managing Outlook Web App and Instant Messaging Integration
- Understanding Outlook Web App and Instant Messaging Integration
Lync Server Resources
- Lync Server 2010 documentation in the TechNet Library
- DrRez blog
- Lync Server and Communications Server resources
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Keywords: Lync Web App, LWA, Lync Server 2010, Lync 2010, Lync Web Client, meeting, Outlook Web App