Fellow Lync MVP Jeff Schertz has written some excellent blogs on Lync & Polycom which I recommend you read:
Polycom and other vendors are providing Room Video Conferencing systems as well as personal Video solutions. However, I would like to focus on the integration of the Room Video systems of Polycom and Lync. Polycom is one of the members of the Unified Communication Interoperability Forum (UCI Forum) (http://www.ucif.org/). The goal of all members of the UCI forum is: “To improve interoperability among UC products and services.” This will result in easy to use and transparent usage of video conferencing systems, either room- or person based.
This article will help you to understand the various terms/roles Polycom uses and how you can somewhat compare it to the roles in Microsoft Lync. The picture below provides a logical overview of these components:
Polycom calls their telepresence endpoints HDX systems.
Integration between Lync and Polycom HDX systems requires the following steps to be taken into account.
All Polycom HDX systems are required to have software version 184.108.40.206 to be able to integrate with Microsoft Lync.
How to update the systems is described in the release notes: http://downloads.polycom.com/video/hdx/ReleaseNotes/hdx_rel_notes_v3_0_0_2.pdf
- For each HDX system, a user object must be created in the Active Directory and have a mailbox to allow joining an online meeting;
Registration of Polycom devices in the Lync environment can be done following this guide:
Once the system is registered, the presence of the HDX system should be visible in any Lync client.
In both OCS releases (2007 and 2007 R2) Microsoft uses different versions of ICE between the Front End server (ICE v6) and the Edge server (ICE v19), whereas Lync Server 2010 uses ICE v19 throughout the entire product line. As the Polycom implementation of CCCP is only compatible with the current ICE v19 used in Lync server then an HDX will not be able to join conferences hosted on an OCS AVMCU, only conferences hosted on the Lync AVMCU.
Polycom calls their conferencing bridges RMX systems. A conference bridge is comparable with a (virtual) meeting room.
Integration between Lync and Polycom RMX systems requires the following steps to be taken into account.
All Polycom RMX systems are required to have software version 7.2.2 to be able to integrate with Microsoft Lync.
How to update the systems is described in the release notes: http://downloads.polycom.com/bridging_collab/rmx/relnotes/RMX_Release_Notes_V_7.2.2.pdf
- For each RMX system, a DNS entry must exist in the specific DNS domain;
- Within Lync, the Trusted Application Pool, must be expanded with the new RMX;
- Within Lync, a static route must be created for the just created RMX;
- Within the Active Directory, a user object must be created in the Active Directory;
Registration of Polycom bridges in the Lync environment can be done following this guide:
Once the system is registered, the presence of the RMX should be visible in any Lync client.
To allow seamless integration and high quality video sessions between Lync and Polycom, the following Polycom devices are supported:
RTV Compatible Models
Polycom HDX 4000 with Hardware Revision C
Polycom HDX 4500 – All Hardware is supported
Polycom HDX 6000 – All Hardware is supported
Polycom HDX 7000 with Hardware Revision C (shipping from early February 2010)
Polycom HDX 8000 with Hardware Revision B (shipping from January 2009)
Polycom HDX 9006 with Hardware Revision B (shipping from April 2010)
RMX1500 only with MPMx
RMX2000 only with MPMx
RMX4000 only with MPMx
Note: Minimal software version needed HDX v3.0.1 and RMX v7.2 or higher will support 720p video using RTV with OCS2007 and Lync.
Bridge (MCU) bandwidth demand
As Polycom offers multiple video streams instead of the Active Speaker configuration that Microsoft uses, bandwidth usage is highly impacted.
Key infrastructure components of the video conferencing system need special consideration. First consider the video conferencing bridge (or MCU). If six video conferencing endpoints are engaged in a conference call, all six endpoints have established a full duplex connection to the bridge. The bridge network connection must be able to sustain the maximum number of endpoints that will be in all simultaneous conference calls. Each client that connects to the bridge will have a traffic stream flowing from the client to the bridge at the bandwidth negotiated for that video conference. If each client has negotiated a 1.9 Mbps bandwidth call, and there are 6 clients, the bridge will be supporting 1.9 Mbps x 6 or 11.5 Mbps of traffic. When we add the 20% additional bandwidth required for IP packet overhead, this now comes to 13.8 Mbps.
Some video conferencing endpoints also support a built-in multipoint conferencing mode. If a video conferencing endpoint is acting as a bridge for a small conference, there will be a proportionate increase in the bandwidth to that client. A 4-person conference using one of the 4 clients as a bridge will generate three full duplex streams to the client acting as a bridge. The other three clients will see a single full-duplex stream.
Polycom’s integration with Microsoft Lync Server 2010 provides the following functionality:
- Enables point-to-point calls between Polycom HDX systems and Microsoft Lync clients.
- Provides real-time presence information between Polycom devices and Microsoft Lync clients.
- Enables support for remote and federated endpoints to participate in point-to-point calls and video conference calls.
- Supports high-quality video (720p) between Lync clients and Polycom endpoints.
- Allows Polycom endpoints to participate in Lync Server-hosted multi-point conferences.
- Allows Microsoft Lync clients to view the presence for Polycom RMX meeting rooms and start one-click conferences.
In the end, the overall picture might look like this: