Skype4B interoperability: Cisco Expressway

Cisco Expressway “offer users outside your firewall simple, highly secure access to all collaboration workloads, including video, voice, content, IM, and presence. Collaborate with people who are on third-party systems and endpoints or in other companies. Help teleworkers and Cisco Jabber mobile users work more effectively on their device of choice. Cisco Expressway allows you to do all this and more.” (source)

Using Skype for Business terminology, this is the “Edge Server” of Cisco. But it besides the described functions, it has one that allows you the integrate Cisco Video endpoints (desktop client, video conference rooms up to telepresence system) with Lync/Skype for Business clients that allows SIP dialling from both sides with audio and HD video: search for the contact and press the call button.

 

The infrastructure configuration is based on a ‘dedicated expressway’ configured as a Skype for Business ‘trusted application’. The rest is all about SIP domain ‘static routing’.

CiscoExpressway-Interoperability
Expressway topology for on-premises Skype for Business and Cisco video endpoints 

Great features of this integration:

  • IM & presence is possible between systems;
  • Desktop sharing is supported;
  • Both Cisco and Microsoft can share a single SIP domain;
  • Skype for Business remote clients can use the Expressway on the DMZ (TURN server) for audio traffic with Cisco endpoints;
  • Skype for Business clients can make and receive audio/video calls with external parties whom the Cisco has federation with.

There are also some limitations:

  • Presence is based on SIP simple. Only can have the status ‘Available’ and ‘Busy’;
  • Skype for Business clients can join a multipoint conference in Cisco, but Cisco endpoints cannot join Skype meetings.

 

In conclusion, although it’s not a better solution than Polycom, the Expressway leverages the existing investment  already done on Cisco infrastructure and can be extended to a complete 3rd interoperable federation solution:

CiscoExpressway-Federation

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