When Microsoft kicks you in the balls…

Sooner or later I would find me writing an article like this.
Many of you would say that this is about shamming MS, but ultimately this is my attempt to reach someone on MS that would listen and care with his customers and provide a better service.

Well,…. it an accumulate of small and medium issues that haunt Teams telephony administrators like me, this and escalated on last Friday.

On the 24th April 12:52 CET, MS started hiding the last 3 digits of all CDRs. Yes! on my GraphAPI based scripts that collect the Direct Routing CDRs
and also on the TAC PSTN usage reports

Above is the CDR that shows the exact moment that MS Teams started masking the last 3 digits. I changed the real numbers to protect privacy, but the MS ‘***’ are real.

Online you will not see the last 3 digits, and if you click on the export icon you will get the CSV files with the numbers masked.

I could not find any announcement of this action on the usual channels (just like on February that the data from the startDateTime was swapped with the inviteDateTime) and not even a reason to hide them now.

What is my (customers) problem with this ‘hidden number’ feature? Well, let think about some examples:

  • Troubleshooting: how can you track down the number that called or was called? let’s think about a company that has a 1000 number block. To exactly whom did the call came from?
  • Auditing/security: what exact number made that threatening call?
  • Billing: how to charge a client support based on the number of support hours on the phone? and would you pay your Telecom company if the detailed invoice was hiding the numbers?

Solution(?)

What now? The usual:

  • Open a tickets at MS we-almost-care Support. Still waiting for the office in India to reopen since there is no escalation/around the clock option. No feedback so far. Maybe because I could not send a recording (PSR) of the issue…
  • Report on the MS365 admin center. Right! the one that closes automatically after 2 hours?

Time to ‘think out-of-the-box’!
If Teams CDR hides the last 3 digits of the callerID:

  • let’s go to the SBC and add 3 extra digits to every inbound callerID before sending to MS…
  • …MS Teams servers will record on the CDR these extra-long number…
  • …and then we strip-it from the inbound call before it gets delivered to the users

Does it work? You still need to find a way to clean those extra ‘***’ from the CDRs,
but the numbers are back πŸ™‚

And this is how MS made me lost my weekend!

Final thoughts

Teams telephony is still on is early stages running still in hybrid supported by SfB back-end servers, but I was expecting much more after this time. Let’s hope that Azure Communications would provide a new approach and more stable services.

My advice to all companies whose business rely on Telecommunications and plan to move to Teams is:

  • Clearly identify all your critical needs and perform fully pilot tests
  • Find a specialized partner on Telephony that can manage this components and SBC for you.
    Years of experience in “Teams”, on-boarding and migration doesn’t mean that some know how to handle the VoIP part.
    This quick workaround for this issue was not possible without this premise.

Updates

27.04.2022 – Opened an Incident asking MS why this happened

02.05.2022 – MS just updated today the PSTN reports documentation with a number obfuscation section for several countries. There are no links for the countries legal enforcement. And it’s still a total mess:

  1. I am in Switzerland and I get 3 digits masked and not 4 as documented.
  2. If you make a call forward or get calls to Call Queues, it will mask the callee (your own number) and keep the callerID (the external number that the call is forward)

09.05.2022 – MS support sent me the link of the number obfuscation. I asked why I was getting 3 digits masked, when the document mentions that Switzerland is masked with 4 digits

2022-05-10T09:36:00.055Z – MS just started today to obfuscate the CDRs in CH to 4 digits making it consistent with the documentation published 8 days ago.

Still not feedback from support regarding when was this change decided,announced and the legal references of the countries explaining that… still didn’t asked why it gets done in PROD ‘on-the-fly’.

ucCSI case: The ‘unmanageable Team’

When doing today a very simple task of adding a user to a Team, I could not find it on TAC

And using Teams Powershell I could not also find it

Alert mode: did someone delete it ?! No because:

1. You could locate the corresponding MS365 group on Azure portal and actually add the required member

2. And the users could access on their Teams clients and work on it.

So what is happening here?!

Investigation the cause

The hint came from the Office Admin Portal. The Group Teams status was blank!

Back again to powershell, a quick comparison with another Teams enabled group revealed the ‘glitch’. All the information for sharepoint, exchange, and naming where there, but the MS365 group association with Teams was missing. The field ResourceProvisioningOptions was empty (?)

Cause

Unknown. And I was not going to open a support case at MS for the ‘we-all-know’ reason !!

The solution

Obviously the Admin Portal option to create a Team would not be a good idea as you would not be sure if it will not just mix-up all with a new content and create a bigger problem

So let’s see if you can fix this using MSgraph:
DISCLAIMER: Do not do this by your own if you are not experienced with the GraphAPI calls

  1. Using the graph explorer, set the method to PATCH and the URL of the MS365 group
    https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/groups/<groupID>/
  2. On the Request body, set the field with the missing value with the following JSON
    {“resourceProvisioningOptions”:Β [Β “Team”]}
  3. You should get a 204 response which means that you were able to set it

And after a few seconds everything is back to normal πŸ™‚


Teams resource accounts affected by MS back-end operations?

This is a fast-pace writing post to help those having the same issue as me and others that already confirmed. Sorry for my sentence construction.

Issue and symptoms

PSTN inbound calls to some Call Queues, Auto attendants or Bots are failing with ‘number unreachable’ or busy signal. There is nothing wrong with them, but with their associated resource accounts. You check that they have the number correctly associated.

How to check if you are affected?

  • If you have access to the SBC, you can see for the call to your number a ‘404 Not Found’ response from MS Teams with the reason code ending in RNL.
  • (possible) an error when trying to assigned the numbers to the resource account ‘user not authorized to perform the operation for the user <sid> in AADGraph API’
  • But the most efficient way is to download the call CDRs from MS and look for the exact error. Check the sections ‘Actions and workarounds’

Possible cause

Some back-end action done by MS on the last two weeks has affected the BVD (Business Voice Directory) sync/association with the AAD (resource) accounts used by Teams .

On the CDR logs of an affected Call Queue that was not changed for the last months we could see different error messages until it stayed in ‘number not found’

Additionally some 3rd party providers that uses Bots (like Contact Center solutions) are instructing their partners and customers for urgent action and updates.

Actions and workarounds

Here’s what you can do. You need to download the CDRs from MS:

  1. On Teams Admin Center go to the Usage Reports
  2. Choose the report ‘PSTN and SMS (preview) usage’, and the timeline that cover the call that you know that failed
  3. Click on ‘Run report’
  4. Click on the ‘Export to Excel’ to download a zip file

5. Extract the 2 CSV files from the downloaded zip one is for Direct Routing and the other for Teams Calling records and open them on excel.

Now you can locate the call to your number and see the error details on the Field ‘Final SIP Phrase’

Known error messages and what you can do:
  • “Getting user info by number from BVD failed” or “Getting user info by number from RuntimeAPI failed”
    You are in luck. Assigned another number to the resource account, wait ~15 minutes and assign the right number back. In another 15 minutes you should get the incoming calls working again
  • “Getting user info by number from BVD failed – target id is empty Guid”
    Nothing to do. Open a case at Microsoft with the CDR message information
  • “call to bot is rejected due to null user settings or user app settings”
    Contact your 3rd party solution provider. He knows how to proceed (i hope)

Does a Teams Admin needs a Teams license?

Teams license (MS365 license) is a cost, so we usually try to minimize them. For Teams admin roles we assume that we don’t need them since we are managing it and not using it (maybe if we want to make some tests).

Well… there is at least this case that you will find out but only if you look under the hood.

ISSUE

As you know, you can distribute the meetings backgrounds centrally from the Teams Admin Center meeting policies page:

But for some of you, will might get an error “We can’t get your images. Try again. If you continue to have problems, contact Microsoft customer support” and “We can’t load any data. Try again?”

You can scratch your head, contact MS support or peak inside the HTTP request to find out the real reason of the generic error message:

SOLUTION/WORKAROUND

  1. Assign to your Teams Admin user a valid MS365 and/or Teams license (exploratory might work)
  2. Wait and you would be able to access the page and manage the backgrounds now
  3. (optional) free-up the license back from the Admin account

Additional note: If you read closely the documentation on ‘Use Microsoft Teams administrator roles to manage Teams‘ you will find a small remark below the table “2Microsoft Teams admin center3 Teams administrator account must have a valid Teams license”

Phishing with Teams: train your user’s awareness

Some colleagues and customers call me a security freak because I question all products and deployments on about their protected mechanism. Security is not on my role list, but I simply cannot ignore it. It’s my on my IT-DNA πŸ™‚

We all had training sessions and got tested at our companies for e-mail phishing, social engineering. It is required as it’s the most common attempt for network infiltration.

But what I’ve observed over my many years on the UCC area is the lack of security concerns regarding the other collaborations tools. They can be also used by to users … and more easier and quicker than an email phishing. It has the same attack vectors as e-mail phishing: Social engineering, sending instant messages with malicious links or attachments, …

Microsoft has done a impressive job and provides for MS365 customers several built-in protection mechanisms (for both identity and phishing) and many other security tools to keep your users protected as long as you have a well-trained security IT team to manage it. But what about the human-factor?

Using Teams to fish

The example is from Teams, but it can apply to other vendors. It’s simulated and not evolving any other persons than myself

The best way to explain my point is with an example and ‘hacker mindset’

  1. Create an Office365 demo tenant (it’s free)
  2. Go to LinkedIn, pick an IT company with Teams, look for some engineers with profile pictures
  3. Get the names of some of this company customer’s (usually the customer referrals, success stories
  4. Email addresses are easy to find or calculate (first name last name, company email domain name)
    and confirm that the person exists and her display name, just by searching with your Teams client

Skipping the details, we can create an user with the same display name on our ‘phishing tenant’. It’s now time to reach the victim.

Instant message method

Sending an internet link or an file might seem a suspicious approach, so let’s try social engineering by being the helpful support engineer (Luis Ramos AVENIQ) trying to help a customer’s user (RA):

The external user has remote control of the user desktop. From this point now it’s up to your imagination.

On the above case, an attentive user can get suspicious if he’s paying attention to the aveniq.ch address.

But on the other hand, there are companies where the user email address (SMTP) doesn’t need to match his Teams address (SIP).

What about if we just call the user?

The incoming call toast notification will not help the user here:

Is it the real Luis Ramos from Aveniq?

And neither the main window, so now it’s up to the caller to convince the user:

Can you share me your screen to see if I can solve the problem?

Now the user needs to leave the mouse on the caller name to check if it’s really him!

OMG! that's not the real Luis!


Another: the missed call phishing

You actually don’t need to try and wait for the user to answer. Teams will save a missed call with the name for the user be able to call you back πŸ™‚

Final comments

  • If by now you are thinking ‘I never thought of that, what should I do from now one?’
    Then my post hit his goal πŸ™‚
  • Exploit success factor? depends on how tired and overwhelmed people are with confcalls, unread IM’s, homeoffice ‘burn-out’.
  • Don’t get into the attitude: ‘never heard of such thing happening’ or “I will never fall for that!”
  • This is an example of a social exploit
    But hjust like any other software, Teams can also be vulnerable to technical exploits overtime. This one got out of the news radar: “We found a dangerous vulnerability in Microsoft Teams, but the company fixed it only after two months”

That’s it!
Have a Happy Christmas and don’t forget to write to Santa. He might have been watching you all year


ucCSI case: The unknown IVR with a random DTMF number

We all love Mondays, but in the middle of the morning we just got a freaky urgent call. Fortunately this was a 2 hour episode and can be quickly explained

Part 1: The issue

The customer has an hybrid Contact Center solution working with Teams. The call flow is the following:

(1) the customers call a 0800 tool free number that goes to our SBCs. If the number matches a customer support number it sends the call to the Contact Center system
(2) the call flow will ring the call to the agent(s) of the queue back throw the SBC (with the real number of the queue) to MS Teams and it rings the agent (on his Teams client) that picks the call

The working call flow

Suddenly, the customer reported that some of the support numbers were getting initial answered by the queue music on hold and then answered by an IVR asking to type one or two numbers. Even more strange:

  • The customer support number don’t have IVR with DTMF prompts
  • Every time you dialed the 0800, the IVR will ask for other random DTMF numbers (!?)

Part 2: analyzing the evidence and identifying the suspect

After analyzing the SBC call flow logs, we narrowed down the source of the problem and the primary suspect. The calls were all fine until they are delivered to MS Teams and never rang the agent(s)… just this IVR

>> Something inside MS Teams service was intercepting the call !

Part 3: Freeze ! on the ground! now!

I was about to get on my nerves having to open another case on MS nightmare support service, when my ‘partner investigator’ remembered a past case some weeks ago with another customer that started getting calls in Teams with a toast notification with ‘Spam likely’.

After some google-fu, we just went through our Call Policies ‘Get-CsTeamsCallingPolicy‘ and confirmed that we had the default setting ‘SpamFilteringEnabledType‘ to Enabled

What is this parameter for?

A couple of minutes after we ran the command Set-CsTeamsCallingPolicy -SpamFilteringEnabledType “Disabled” –Identity [your users assigned policy] the calls started ringing the agent and all went back to normal.

Epilogue: The confession

The Call Spam filtering was announced on August 13st and quickly went GA by Microsoft around September 2021 (see feature ID: 85386) but it’s not documented how it works and closest official description can be found on the Teams PS command Set-CsTeamsCallingPolicy where you find a mention to an ‘Captcha IVR bot’

Based of the description, parameters naming and some scattered information of other internet posts:

  • Microsoft has some internal score system based on the number of call a particular number makes to MS Teams per day / per hour
  • After reaching a particular score it will starts displaying a yellow sign with an exclamation mark plus a text label saying β€œSPAM LIKELY” along with the calls
  • When it reached a particular threshold it will start answering with IVR bot challenging the caller that ‘I am not a robot‘ and demands typing the number that it announces

On my customer case:

  • We have a significant number of customer calls reaching the Contact center that presents the same queue number to all agents. This will trigger MS score
  • The agent probably received the notification but ignore it and did not report to us
  • When the IVR kicked-in DTMF is not supported (call flows between PSTN>Contact Center > SBC > Teams so the customer could not get through it to ring an agents
  • RESULT: 2 hours without customer service 😠

I guess MS should have:

  • included on the announcement “This Spam Call protection capability should help users save time by declining calls that might disturb their workflow” + ‘Disrupt your custom IVR and Contact Center solutions’
  • and document how this works before releasing to GA !

ucCSI Case: The mysterious calls to the emergency services

Sometimes there are some SfB reported issues, involve understanding the human factor behind the logs. This case went throw several weekly episodes.

Episode One – The ‘issue’

Our customers SfB has a Contact Center integrated and one day he received a complain from an external associated partner that sometimes they received calls from the Agents and when the pickup the cal….l they were talking with a person from the national emergency services (Switzerland has several emergency numbers an in this case it was the Police).

The first step to be able to know where to search on the logs is to ask for reported situations: when (dates and times), who started (numbers), what happened next?. It was not easy since day one, because it involved at least 2 different calls (one inbound and another outbound), But I managed to identify the flow:
A client calls the SfB/CC number (1), an Agent picks the call (2), he calls the Partner support number (3) and he transfers the call of the client to that partner (4). Except that sometimes, the Agent of that partner instead of hearing the client get surprise by ‘Police ! what is your emergency?’

Episode 2 – Analyzing the facts and recreating the exact steps

The outermost challenge was to track the client call, which Agent picked the call and what did he do next to reach the Partner and transfer. Looking at the logs of several calls made to the partner number, I noticed that some Agents were using DTMF tones.

The Partner number is a Contact Center with an IVR! So now we have a more detailed call flow:
A client calls the SfB/CC number (1), an Agent picks the call (2), he calls the Partner number, goes throw the IVR (3) an Call Center Agent picks the call (4) and the customer Agent transfer the call (5) . Except that sometimes, the Agent of that partner instead of hearing the client get surprise by ‘Police ! what is your emergency?’

Time to include the Partner telephony provider for some potential issue on their side. But after some tests calls there was nothing on the call history the involved calling the authorities and the only active call was coming from our SfB Agent number. The other clue was that the Police that picked the calls is not from the same region as the partner but from our Customer. So the call is definitely triggered from SfB or our operator.

Episode 3 – The clue and the primary suspect

Looking now at the log history of all calls made to that IVR number, one call (that did not triggered the issue) caught my attention on the DTMF pattern. It was typing: 1,1,2. And 112 on a dialpad is…. the well-know emergency number!

Went back to the customer and the Partner and they confirmed that the affected Agents belong to a service that are behind the IVR menu: by dialing the IVR, listen the options and choose 1, then the sub-option 1 and finally the final option 2. There were no reported issues on other queues reached by other IVR menus.

Now we got a primary suspect: What if this DTMF ‘112’ sequence is triggering a call to the emergency services? but how does this is ‘accidentally’ transferred to them?

Episode 4 – Eliminating the suspects

There was still a loose end to clear out. The ‘DTMF 112’ theory issue could have two sources:
– The Customers Agent that we see on the previous logs.
– We noticed that some Agents will transfer the call to the Client before the IVR, and then you will only see the Client call trying to use DTMF.

Time to define a precise script of call testings to identify the one that is causing this mess. Using the minimum amount of variables (same client number to call, same customer agents queues, same partner IVR number:
1. Just to prove the theory: Calls to other IVR options 1,0 or 2,0 all working
2. If the agent transfer the Client that the IVR, we noticed that DTMF over this SfB call transfer doesn’t work (the IVR didn’t recognized the options): this one is excluded
3. Several call transfers using IVR menus 112 were also working until one particular agent call ended on the emergency services.

Time to look deeper to these last call logs and compare them. Nothing looked different, DTMF was ok, except… for the ones that worked, I could find the Client call transfer to the Partner, but the not for the mistery one.
So what happened? The answer involved looking back at all the calls on that time frame (this is a large company with a lot of calls….). And then one peculiar outbound call appear on the SBC log:
– from:<Partner IVR number>
– to :+41112 (+41 is the country prefix of Switzerland)
– referred-by: <Agent number>

Gotcha! the SfB client caused the call. But why and how?

Final episode 5 – The ‘crime scene’ and the perpetrator

We are still waiting for the ‘confession’ but, just by using a SfB Client we can present our delegations using any SfB Client:

  1. The customer Agent receives a call from the client and click on β€˜Consult’
  2. The Client call is put on hold. A transfer window will appear were the Agent can search for internal contacts or type the Partner IVR number and click β€˜Consult
  3. A new call window will appear. The Agent has now 2 calls on his SfB: the customer on hold (on the left) and and active call the the Partner IVR. The Agent might not notice this because SfB will open the second call window in exactly in front of the one that is on hold
    1. The agent is now navigating throw the DTMF voice system and picks (type): the options 1,1 and 2 that start appearing on the dialpad text (A)
    2. To transfer the IVR call to the CLient he needs to click on the transfer call on the top right side of the call window (B)    >> if you press this one, SfB will transfer the call of the Client to IVR active call and both windows will close
    3. If he clicks on the β€˜Transfer’ button above the dial pad, it will initiate a transfer of the IVR call to another new number (C)

      But it will still show the Search window with the numbers that were typed during the DTMF.
      You can clearly see the 112 as the default selected number. If he presses β€˜Transfer’ now it will transfer the IVR call to the … Emergency service (112).
    4. The IVR call window will close but the Client call window will still there on hold (because there was not transfer to him). But the Agent unaware of his mistake, hangs up the customer call

End of episode:

<playing credits>
….
Disclaimer: no servers or software were harmed or fixed during this investigation

CSI: Miami: A tribute to David Caruso, Horatio Caine's sunglasses, and cold  opens | EW.com


Are you really offline on Teams? (part 1)

I will start backwards by presenting the solution before the ‘glitches’.

Making sure that you are really offline for everyone

This is the traditional: ‘I’m off for today/this week, don’t contact me!’
This includes your colleagues and any external or federated contacts.

Just make sure that you choose ‘Sign out’ from all your Teams clients (Windows, Mobile, Linux, OSX, Browser)

The users on your Tenant will see you offline and also the federated persons:

Both Teams federated tenant (on the left) and a SfB on-premise federated users will see me Offline and (hopefully) will not contact me

“Duh! we all know that. So why blog about this?”
You will not say this if you already had another user complaining that he doesn’t actually see your status offline. Now it’s time for the real topic… Why am I not offline for others?!

#1 Quit or shutdown might not put you to Offline status

Shutting down, hibernate your computer or specially using the Quit option on Teams sometimes will not trigger the Offline status. This seems to be related to client version or simply delays between the client and servers on the HTTPS sessions over VPN connection and corporate firewalls. Example:

I have my status Online and I clicked on the Teams task bar icon and quit the application…

…but all internal and federated users that have your contact will still see me as Available and will try to contact me

‘Appear offline’ will not work for all

Microsoft recently made the appear offline status available for Teams, which might be useful as a desperate ‘do not disturb me!!’ (might work for some who ignore the standard ‘DnD’).

Let’s test it!
(1) I have my status Available and I switch to ‘Appear Offline’

(2) My colleagues see me offline on Teams, check!

(3) If you still have an Hybrid federation with SfB onpremises, all the SfB user will see you as ‘Available’ or the last presence status that you had before changing to ‘Appear Offline’

(4) Your federated partners that use Teams will (most probably) see you ‘Offline’ but any SfB federated partner will also see your last status before you changed to ‘Appear Offline’

A Teams federated contact will see offline, but a SfB user will not and it will normally try to call you

If you check the SfB client logs and ran a trace on the SfB Edge server you will notice that all presence change status are sent from Teams to SfB except the ‘Appear Offline’.

Final thoughts

Let’s see if MS will find out and solve these two cases soon.

So… Are you sure that you are appearing offline to everyone right now? πŸ™‚

“Skype for Business ends in July 2021. Migrate now to MS Teams!”… or not?

Some of my contacts and older customers have been coming to me because they were getting approached by some MS Partners that they must migrate their SfB infrastructure to Teams because ‘SfB is dead’ and ends in July 2021.

I will not finger-point no one here, but I want to clarify headers and speeches like this. I deliberate wrote my blog title like this but as friendly ‘click-bait’ πŸ˜‰

Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021

That is the correct heading. Only the SfB Online (SfBO) will be discontinued. SfB on-premises will continue to work and get support (much) after 31.07.2021

Where can read the retirement information from MS:
UPDATE: Skype for Business Online retirement on July 31, 2021
Skype for Business Online to Be Retired in 2021

If you have a plain and simple SfBO tenant your migration is simple (and probably automatically done by MS).

If you are still on SfBO and MS didn’t take any action, then it could mean that you have some an Hybrid SfB, PSTN or 3rd party connectivity:
“Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021 after which the service will no longer be accessible. In addition, PSTN connectivity between your on-premises environment whether through Skype for Business Server or Cloud Connector Edition and Skype for Business Online will no longer be supported” – source

In these cases, you really need to take action and plan to move to Teams …or to a SfB On-premises πŸ™‚

Skype for Business server 2015, 2019 are alive at least for 5 years

If you have a full SfB on-premises you can have support up to 14Oct2025. You can check that on the office MS Product Lifecycle

Current SfB lifecycle product support

Although SfB2015 mainstream support is now over, MS is still releasing updates. But to prevent MS to refuse support, either your extend (pay) it, or you should now upgrade to SfB 2019.

There will be a SfB vNext in 2021/22

Has announced by Microsoft there will be a next version of Skype for Business somewhere to be release in the second semester of 2021:
– (MS) The Next Version of Skype for Business Server
– (UC Today) Microsoft Reveals Fresh Details for Skype for Business Server 2022
– (Tom Talks) Skype for Business Server 2022 confirmed, only be available as a subscription

So, if you are comfortable with your reliable on-premises SfB infrastructure and you want to have full administration control as a critical business service, you know that you can have Skype for Business running until 2028 (?)

How to create Teams Live Events in Switzerland (and other regions)

About 3 weeks ago I posted the explanation why you could not schedule Teams live events in some regions like Switzerland and the options that you have to still use the Live Events: Can I make Teams Live Events in my country?

Now it’s time to show ‘option #3’: Unlock and schedule a Teams Live Event

Under the hood

Before explaining how, let’s give the technical explanation:

  1. The Teams clients builds are the same worldwide (the same version is available from Microsoft downloads) and therefore have the same capabilities.
  2. This means that for a specific Tenant or Region, the Teams client is being ‘instructed’ to block the ‘Live Event’ feature

After some days of detailed inspection on the traffic that the Client gets during the sign-in and loading, this setting caught my attention:

Since my Tenant region is ‘ch’ this could mean that the list membership triggers the client not to allow (better say ‘not show’) the scheduling of Live Events.
So…. let’s confirm the theory.

The setup

Here’s my automating cookbook.
(you could also use similar tools like Fiddler or Postman)

Step 1. Download Charles proxy, install and configure it to proxy and decode HTTPS. There are many tutorials on the internet. Here’s a detailed one.

Step 2. Now that we have a proxy inspector, lets intercept and rewrite those settings for the Teams Client:

On the tools menu, select Rewrite
(1) Enable Rewrite, (2) Add a rule and (3) name it.
(4) Add a Location. This is the URL request that we want to intercept.
Since the client version changes over time you might need to adjust the query
(example for versions released on year 2021: 1.0.0.2021??????)
(5) Add a rewrite rule. We want to change the Body of the Response, by replacing the “broadcastSettings.supportedQuickStartRegions”:[ and add the region ‘ch’

That’s it ! Let’s go for the Proof-of-concept

Unlocking the Teams Live Event

With Charles Proxy running (how will see HTTP traffic running), start your browser with the Teams Web Client (https://teams.microsoft.com) and sign-in. It should also work if you just re-launch your Windows client too as long as it uses the cached credentials.

When the client has loaded, you can look at Charles proxy to confirm that the interception has made is job

Hey Teams client! ‘ch’ is a supported Broadcast Region

Go to the Teams calendar and… schedule a Live Event πŸ˜‰

Once you have schedule the meeting you don’t need the Charles Proxy. Once it’s schedule you can click it on the calendar and make the adjustments.

Now Producers, Presenters and participant can participate on a Live Event from the Teams client.

Live Event Producer Teams Client

Teams meeting recording button became unavailable

ISSUE

  • Some day ago, users started reporting that they could not record a meeting. The record option was unavailable:
Start recording button dimmed?
  • The meeting policy for the users allow them to record meetings:
… Houston! we have a problem!

CAUSE

Sooooo… what happened?
Time to investigate what has MS changed recently πŸ™‚

Clue #1: Checking the Microsoft 365 message center
You can find MC222640 ‘Microsoft Teams: meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and SharePoint’ is in progress.
October 19, 2020 (Complete) β€“ You can enable the Teams Meeting policy to have meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and SharePoint instead of Microsoft Stream (Classic)”
But the rest of the info is not clear about what changes and if you need to take a specific action other than opt in/out to MS to change the recordings to OdB (OneDrive for Business) in 2021.

Clue #2: check the client settings received from the servers for new parameters.
Found a new one inside the callRecording: supportedOdbRegions with a list of countries, with “ch” is where my tenants are

"callingConstants.callRecording": {
    "downloadRecordingExpirationDays": 20,
    "supportedOdbRegions": [
        "ae",
        "ch",
        "de",
        "no",
        "sa",
        "br",
        "sg"
    ]
},

Clue #3: Let’s have a closer look at the meeting policies
Nothing has seem to have changed. Recordings are allowed (AllowCloudRecording) and using MS Stream (RecordingStorageMode), but…

… what will that parameter AllowRecordingStorageOutsideRegion=false do?

SOLUTION

As you know, Stream is not available in all regions like CH, so if AllowRecordingStorageOutsideRegion is getting honored, you cannot record if you are not allowed to save on the region that your account is? Solution(s):

  1. RecordingStorageMode=OneDriveForBusiness
    and/or
  2. AllowRecordingStorageOutsideRegion=true

My preference goes to #1 using the PS command

Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy ‘Global’ -RecordingStorageMode OneDriveForBusiness

Problem solved! you got your recording button back and your recordings are now available on OdB

Final notes and references

Looking at that client settings list, the Tenants on the regions United Arab Emirates (ae), Switzerland (ch), Germany (de), Norway (no), South Africa (sa), Brasil (br) and Singapore (sg) could also experience the same issue.

Teams ‘Busy on Busy’ causes missed call storm notifications

Recently in my company we decided to rollout the ‘Busy on Busy’ feature for all users, to suppress the annoying ring sound that comes on your headsets when you are on a call (or a meeting) and this makes it difficult to hear others.
But after a few days, some users started reporting a new symptom.

ISSUE

Scenario:
– Teams Tenant using Direct Routing
– User enabled for ‘Busy on Busy’
– User is on the busy state ‘in a call’ (PSTN, Teams-to-Teams or meet/confcall)

When a PSTN number calls that user, he will hear the busy tone. But the user will get a storm of missed calls notifications from the same number:

Storm of missed calls notification from a single call

Cause

When checking the SBC (Audiocodes) logs I could confirm several calls from the PSTN provider for every Busy answer of Teams:

The caller seems to be dialing every second when it gets a busy

Knowing that the user and his phone do not redial that fast, I decided to open an inquiry on the Telecom Provider.
But when I was collecting the SIP call logs, something came up when I was checking the Q.850 reason cause code:

All busy fields seems OK, but what’s that code=34 ?!

The ITU-T Q.850 codes specifies that 34 is ‘NORMAL_CIRCUIT_CONGESTION‘. The SBC sends this SIP ‘Busy Here’ to the Telecom providers and depending on the Telecom provider of the caller, it will retry the connections several times until it hangs-up.
Know you know why you get so many missed calls in a few seconds.

SOLUTION

From the ITU-T Q.850 codes table, the reason code for Busy should be 17.
Let’s fix this Teams Busy here ‘hiccup’.
Since I am using an Audiocodes this is my solution:

  • Create a Message manipulation rule that will detect if the ‘SIP 486 Busy here’ has the incorrect reason code. If so change it to ’17’.
Busy code not ’17’ ? let’s change it
  • Add or assign this message manipulation to the Teams inbound routing

Now when Teams send the Busy here, your SBC will send to the Telecom provider SIP message with the correct busy code, and they will not call again πŸ˜‰

Hi real Telecom providers, the called number is busy here

Final notes and references

After the troubleshooting and solution I ‘googled’ for the right keywords and looks like that there are other blogs with the same and similar situations with different reason codes numbers:

SfB Online portal is gone: how do I manage user phones now?

For the last 28 hours I confirmed reports that the SfB Legacy portal disappeared from the Teams Admin Center (TAC). Probably as part of the retirement plan or just a temporary bug because today is back πŸ™‚

This new article explains where to find the Skype for Business settings on the TAC, but…
…what about managing Enterprise Voice users on Tenants with Direct Routing (DR)? Would could do this on the SfBO portal, but there is currently no UI on TAC to do this.

Workarounds

  1. Use powershell (very user-unfriendly for 1st line support agents) to manage the users for voice
Import-Module MicrosoftTeams
# this will prompt for the login modern authentication
$sfbOnline=New-CsOnlineSession
Import-PsSession $sfbOnline
  
#User to configure $theUser=@{'SipAddress'='sip:first.last@company.ch';'LineURI'='tel:+41333444555'}
#ex: enable the user for enterprise voice and/or set the number
Set-CsUser -Identity $theUser.SipAddress -OnPremLineURI $theUser.LineUri -EnterpriseVoiceEnabled $true
#ex: disable the user for enterprise voice 
Set-CsUser -Identity $theUser.SipAddress -OnPremLineURI $null -EnterpriseVoiceEnabled $false

2. Locate and use the SfBO legacy portal
The tab item is gone, but the portal is still there ;). Use this powershell script to find the right one for your Tenant

# tenant base url (when it was created)
$tenantBaseUrl = "<customID>.onmicrosoft.com"
$sfbOnline=New-CsOnlineSession -OverrideAdminDomain $tenantBaseUrl Import-PsSession $sfbOnline
(Get-CsOnlinePowerShellEndpoint -TargetDomain $tenantBaseUrl).host

It will return the admin URL where your Tenant is hosted. So, for example if the return value is https://admined4.online.lync.com/, your SfBOnline admin center is https://admined4.online.lync.com/lscp

Open it on a browser and you got your SfBO admin center back πŸ™‚

NOTES
– to use the powershell, make sure that you have installed the Teams Powershell Module
– Don’t forget to assign new users Phone System licenses (or E5) or you will get an error like: Cannot modify the parameter: “OnPremLineURI” because it is restricted for the user service plan: MCOMEETADD, MCOProfessional.

Can I make Teams Live Events in my country?

As I work with Swiss customers, this topic would sooner or later end on my ‘homedesk’. As a simple question became a challenge, it’s time to share it.

The customer has a MS365 Tenant in Switzerland and with these ‘COVID-19 age’ it asked: ‘I have Office E3+E5 licenses and I want to create a Teams Live Event for my 550 employees, but I cannot find the button’ (?!)

Traditionally you use Teams for interactive meetings up to 300 participants, but for more participants (up to 20’000) and also more professional presentations, Microsoft provides to his customers Live Events.

If you follow the official documentation, you find the instructions on how to do it using Teams. But if your tenant is based on Switzerland, Germany or France you will get stuck on ‘Step 1. Schedule a live event

You call your Teams admin and he confirms that your user has been granted Live Event permission policy … but the ‘Live Event’ option is still not available.

You will scratch your head and try on the Windows, web, Mac client until you ask Microsoft support or google until you find my blog or the official Microsoft link:

Regional availability

You can use Teams live events in multiple regions across the world. The following information shows availability for event team members and attendees.

These countries/regions and clouds aren’t supported
Germany, France, Norway. South Africa, South Korea
Switzerland, UAE, Government Community Cloud (GCC)-H, DOD

Case closed! You cannot make Teams Live Events if your tenant is on one of these countries/regions.

There are no technical limitations or GDPR reasons as other EU countries have (like Portugal or Italy). I believe it’s more a political/legal concerns involving companies,governments, CISO’s and where sensitive data is stored like a Live Event recording.

And now what?

‘But I don’t share that concern and I am paying for a subscription that includes that!’

In that case you can still schedule Live Events…. They are documented πŸ™‚ Here’s 2 of the my 3 ‘workarounds’:

Yammer

Use or create a Yammer group, grant admin permission to the organizers, switch to the classic Yammer style… there it is! πŸ™‚

how to create a Live Event from Yammer

To organize and conduct the event you can google for some videos or follow Microsoft documentation: Organize a live event in classic Yammer

The main advantage of conducting throw Yammer is that users can interact throw the Q&A channel (I am not a particular fan of this UI method) and it will stay organized for future view on a yammer channel.

Live event in Yammer

Microsoft Stream

Microsoft Stream is the back-end of Teams and Yammer Live Events. When you schedule them, it will be used to Broadcast and record the Live Event video produced by you to the audience.

Has long as your account has Live Events permissions (it’s allowed by default to all Tenant users) it’s a ‘one-click’ way from https://web.microsoftstream.com

How to create a Live Event from Stream

Live Events created from Stream are broadcasts mainly but it the easiest tool to create. You compose the event information, set access permissions, send a nice looking email to the participants and you can record it make adaptations and include captions to share it later :). People receive and click link, it opens the browser and… voila.

Again use Google or just the Microsoft documentation ‘Create a live event in Microsoft Stream‘ to prepare yourself and the presenters.

About the options

Depending on the final audience (employees only, guests, anyone) please check the tables on the ‘features breakdown by service and event type‘. Depending on the Production setup choice, there are limitations to know on how can people watch, interact or even produce

About other Microsoft Options

While you are still Teams-limited here’s some additional information regarding Microsoft additional solution:

  • Moving your tenant to another region is not possible
  • In August/2020 MS launched a Team add-on “Advanced communications
    After a contact with MS support, this feature just increases the number of participants and allows logo upload of a Live Event.
    It will not remove your regional restrictions, so don’t waist your money
  • On December CY2020 Microsoft is rolling out Large Meeting support for Teams (up to 1’000 interactive participants)
  • As a plan C you can always create a small dedicated tenant on a ‘supported’ region and create a Teams Live Event and invite your employees πŸ˜‰

Producing the content

All looks simple, right? Well… Live Events are not meetings. It’s much more than a ‘create meeting’ click and send invites to the participant.

They are similar to a TV show. You need to plan in advance the content, the audience communication, invites to send train in advance your participants and … Produce it. You are going to need a producer tool (and a person with know-how) that will aggregate all the audio and video sources and send them to Microsoft Stream to broadcast to your audience.

Creating and scheduling from Teams

This is the big advantage of Teams. You schedule the Live Event with all details, select the audience, presenters and the producers and send the invite. For the producers, the Teams client will turn into a Producer software. Presenter will join the meeting you place the content to share and start the event from there and change the content and video throw the event.

Teams client in Live Event Producer mode

Creating and scheduling from Yammer

When scheduling live events from Yammer it will ask you for the producer to use: An external/3rd party (same as Stream) or Teams (it will not be electable if you are on an ‘unsupported’ zone)

Creating and scheduling from Stream

When scheduling live events from Stream you can only use a 3rd party solution to send the content to Stream for broadcasting. You will get a list of support hardware/software solution providers or use another compatible solution

There is this great free software solutions OBS Studio, that grab so many sources (cameras, mobile phones, capture desktop, web browser, applications and event Teams -with the NDI option ON-) and so easy to use that the only limit is your imagination and skills.

Composing this post while filming with the laptop and mobile cameras. (I should have shaved for this ocassion…)

There you go my Swiss friends! You can now Produce and Stream live events.

Let’s see if this post will gets 1’000 likes/shares to publish an ‘eastern egg’ regarding just Teams Live Events πŸ˜‰

Polycom CCX family experience

Just had the pleasure to have the newest Microsoft family models of Poly on my lab: CCX400, CCX500 and the CCX600 for a short time.

This generation of phones are android-based, touch-screen only and have two hardware versions: with or without an handset (except CCX400). The audio quality is simply… Poly at is finest :): HD Voice, Acoustic Clarity technology providing full-duplex conversations, acoustic echo cancellation and background noise suppression.

The black design is stylish, high-resolution crystal clear screens and an optimal user interface.
Apologize for my low photography skills that don’t make justice with my review.

CCX400 (on the left) with the big brother CCX600
CCX400: with 5-inch color LCD (720 x 1280 pixel)
9:16 aspect ratio
CCX600 with 7” color LCD (1024 x 600 pixel), 16:9 aspect ratio
The larger screen of the CCX600 allows you to view more details like a Meeting appointment

Just like all the other models, you have can:

  • Activate a management Web interface were you can remotely manage the phones on all details
  • Remote capture a live screen (and even remote control the phone)
  • Centrally manage and provision them (Poly RPRM, ZTE, …)

The phones are OpenSIP, Skype for Business and also support, off course, MS Teams.

But you don’t get much control of the phone throw its Webadmin UI, since it’s basically now running a Microsoft cloud based client managed by the Team admin center:

On the age of softphones, Poly continues to provide a great set of solutions where a deskphone companion still helps: a reception, a meeting room, a secretary or common area phones.

You can get all the details on theses phone family on the official Poly CCX site, but here’s some brief differences:

CCX400CCX500CCX600
5” color LCD (720 x 1280 pixel)
9:16 aspect ratio
5” color LCD (720 x 1280 pixel)
9:16 aspect ratio
7” color LCD (1024 x 600 pixel)
16:9 aspect ratio
One USB type-A port1 USB type-A port
1 USB Type-C port
1 USB type-A port
1 USB Type-C port
Bluetooth 4.2Bluetooth 4.2
Wifi
full comparison details here

NOTE: there is also a CCX700 not mentioned here because it supports the OpenSIP firmware only