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External User Access

Communications Server 2007 R2

Topic Last Modified: 2009-04-24

You may want to enable external users to access Office Communications Server features for these reasons:

  • To enable your organization’s users to use Office Communications Server features while working remotely, outside your firewalls (and without any need for a VPN connection).
  • To enable users from other organizations to collaborate with your internal users.

To enable external user access, deploy one or more Edge Servers in a perimeter network (also known as a DMZ, demilitarized zone, or screened subnet). Edge Server is a server role in Office Communications Server.

Including Edge Servers in your deployment provides the following benefits:

  • Secure access for your organization’s remote users. Your organization’s users can use Office Communications Server features—including secure instant messaging (IM), presence, conferencing, and audio/video (A/V) features—even while they are working outside of your organization’s firewalls.
  • Federation with other organizations. You can establish a federation with another organization that runs Office Communications Server; thereafter, users of the federated organization who have been validated by Office Communications Server in that organization are recognized by your deployment as well.
  • External user conference participation. External users—even those who are not part of your organization or a federated organization (anonymous users)—can be invited to join your organization’s conferences. If the conference includes audio and video, these media can be shared with anonymous users as well.
  • Public IM connectivity. Your organization’s users can use IM to communicate with users of IM services provided by the MSN network of Internet services, Yahoo!, and AOL. (Public IM connectivity requires a separate license.)
  • Desktop sharing with external users. Your users can use the desktop sharing feature to transmit a view of their desktops while collaborating with external users. For details about desktop sharing, see New Desktop Sharing Feature in New Server Features in the Getting Started documentation.
  • Mobile access. Cellular phone users who run a supported version of a unified communications client on their mobile devices can send and receive calls as though the telephones on their mobile devices were unified communications clients in the enterprise network. These mobile users also have IM and presence functionality on their mobile devices.
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