UC clients: Lync vs CUPC

Since I already show you some UC clients, it’s time to start comparing them. You already noticed that I have a Cisco and Microsoft lab and managed to integrate them on a Windows (2008 R2) Domain environment. The funny thing is that is possible to run both CUPC and Lync clients at the same time on a Windows desktop, which is great to make a side-by-side comparison:
As you can see there are some significant differences: CUPC has a blue window, presence status icons on the left and pictures on  the right while Lync is a light grey with with presence status and contact photos on the left side. To initiate a communication in CUPC the user right click on a contact and make is choice, while on Lync you do … the same :).

These client comparison features must be made with the entire support infrastructure required by Cisco and Microsoft and their capabilities, and is for these reasons that these are the Magic Quadrant leaders for UC. On other posts I will expose some important differences and requirements of Microsoft and Cisco, but for now let’s just show what can you do with these clients.

I created a table to describe the features and capabilities, and evidence in green the important advantages (from my point of UC view). Note that the features mentioned are the ones that you find using only the client. You can include some of them by adding additional software / hardware from the vendors.


CUPC 8.5

Lync 2010

User interface Main interface: Personal contact list
Separate windows for:
– Instant messaging;
– Voice and Video calls;
Conversation history;
Dial pad;
Email integration (send mail).
Main interface: Personal contact list;
Integrated window for IM, voice, video and content sharing;
Conversation history;
Dial pad;
Email integration (send mail, schedule meeting).
Communication capabilities
Instant messaging;
Voice call;
Video call;
Group chat.
Instant messaging;
Voice call;
Video call;
File transfer;
Desktop sharing;
Web conference (videoconference + content sharing).
Contacts Can search for people on an AD/LDAP;
Can search for name or phone (reverse lookup).
Can search Lync server global address list and personal Outlook contacts.
Group Expansion Can search and add distribution lists to personal contacts;
You can initiate group chat with all members.
Can search and add distribution lists to personal contacts, view and initiate IM and calls with one or more members.
Presence 3 built-in states  + custom states;
Presence change with user computer activity;Manual ‘Out of Office’;
Exchange calendar integration (‘in a meeting’);
Manual user access (allow or deny).
6 built-in states + custom states;
Presence change with user computer activity;
Exchange calendar integration (‘Out-of-office’ with user reply message text, ‘in a meeting’ including next available hour);
Granular user access levels.
Instant messaging One or more participants;
Offline messaging.
One or more participants;
Can include rich text (ex: copy>paste a spreadsheet table).
Supported Protocols Communication – SIP (TCP/UDP/TLS);
Audio – G.711a, µ-law, G.722 (wide band), G.729a, G.729ab, iLBC, iSAC;
Video – H.264/AVC.
Communications – SIP (TLS/TCP);
Audio – Rtaudio, G.711a, G722, G722.1, Siren;
Video – RTvideo, H.263, H.264/SVC.
Video capabilities Point to point video support until 720p resolution;
Multipoint video with active speaker (with Cisco Unified MeetingPlace);
Multipoint video with HD continuous presence (using a cisco Cisco MCU).
Point to point video support until 720p resolution;
Multipoint video with active speaker viewing.
Distinguished features Create/customize contacts (without requiring outlook). Tag alerting for user status;
Conversation history by contact (using Outlook);
Contact activity history
Desktop Integration Call options – Microsoft Office 20xx, Sharepoint 20xx, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox;
Presence – Microsoft Office 2010 (availability and photos), Sharepoint 20xx;
IM– Microsoft Office 2007/2010, Sharepoint 2010;Full details here.
Call options – Microsoft Office 20xx, Sharepoint, Internet Explorer;
Presence – Microsoft Office 20xx, Sharepoint 20xx;
IM– Microsoft Office 20xx, Sharepoint 20xx.
… in general the integration is reacher than CUPC.
Client Virtualization Support VMware View 4.5;
Citrix XenDesktop 4.0.
Note: In a virtualized desktop environment, full audio and video capabilities are only available on CUPC when you are using the desk phone for phone calls. On your computer, only the voicemail features are supported.
Microsoft RDS,RDS-VDI, App-V;
Citrix XenDestkop 4.0, XenApp 6.0.
: Only Application Streaming is fully supported for audio video.Full details on the official documentation.

12 thoughts on “UC clients: Lync vs CUPC

  1. Thomas Bader 03/05/2011 / 14:00

    Hi Louis,
    this is a really cool comparison between the featuresets of the clients. As the presence status of both clients is equal I wonder wether the underlying CUCM and Lync servers are connected via a SIP trunk. If so, would it be possible to provide some details?
    All the best,

    • LuisR 03/05/2011 / 18:23

      Hi Thomas and thanks for your feedback,
      On this particular lab, both are using the same Active Directory accounts. Since Cisco and Microsoft doesn’t conflict on user information (specially the SIP address), the same logon user can authenticate on both Lync and CUPS.
      But regarding your question, a SIP trunk can be configured between CUPS and Lync and users (even sharing the same Active Directory) and users can exchange presence and IM and make voice calls between them (with a CUCMLync SIP trunk).
      I have it on a different, and it’s on my ‘to-do-posts’… Unfortunally my 90 days CUPS demo license expired so I have to reinstall a new VM so… keep on visiting for more updates 🙂

    • Joe 11/07/2012 / 14:52

      I can confirm, I have done this in a lab, Cisco calls it Intra-Domain Federation, Microsoft calls it a Lync trusted application.

      IM and presence will work over a SIP trunk between CUPS and Lync.

      • LuisR 11/07/2012 / 17:16

        I can also confirm this.
        It will be one of my next-to-release posts

  2. Tim B 03/05/2011 / 22:01

    Can CUPC also federate external parties such as other CUCM customers or XMPP users? (I know you can with Lync, Windows Messenger and the XMPP gateway.)

    Also what are the “toasts” like for CUPC- can you redirect for example?

    • LuisR 03/05/2011 / 23:34

      CUPS can federate with other CUPS, OCS/Lync and compatible XMPP servers. The last one I never had the chance to test.

      The toast picture is on my post ‘CUPC 8.5 review’ (the incoming call) and you cannot redirect 😦

      • Greg S (@GregSeeber) 30/01/2012 / 21:58

        my thing is that they can federate … but, if you have a federated partner … if they try and (for example) pc-to-pc call you (like, Lync-call) they will get a message stating that this is disabled due to policy. It makes federated partners just be chat partners from a native client standpoint. What are your thoughts on that Luis? I’m fighting that battle here with the jokesters that want to break Lync to use Cisco for whatever crazy reason.

      • LuisR 31/01/2012 / 08:41

        In Cisco Unified Presence, federation is always at the Presence and Chat (as most of the interoperability between diferent vendors).
        Since you require CUCM deployed, the voice and video is made and routed through there and as for voice you have to make sure that there is an interoperable gateway.
        I made a direct federation between Cisco and Lync. IM and Presence are made with a direct SIP Lync-Cups, but Voice is only possible as a dial SIP Lync-CUCM. As for video: could not get any interoperability between the clients.

        The answer is: if you deploy Lync as a corporate PBX, you will get the same result as a Cisco (i.e. same features and some specific limitations)

  3. Jason 27/07/2012 / 13:07

    Hi LuisR,

    do you have a howto for the Lync – Jabber Federation, what to configure on CUPs side and what on Lync side?
    Is it a big configuration effort?

    • LuisR 27/07/2012 / 20:40

      There is now good documentation at Cisco regarding OCS and Lync federation.
      It requires some troubleshooting knowledge and you might have beat with your head on the keyboard.
      But after you understand, you will reach your own howto ;).

  4. Johna479 14/07/2014 / 09:42

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