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Federation and Public IM Connectivity

Office 365

Applies to: Office 365, Skype for Business Online

Topic Last Modified: 2015-04-15

Skype for Business external connectivity (federation) enables a Skype for Business user to connect with users in other organizations that use Skype for Business as well as those that host their own Skype for Business Server on-premises. Federated contacts can see presence, communicate by using IM, and make Skype-to-Skype audio and video calls.

All federated communications are encrypted between the IM systems using access proxy servers. Microsoft does not control encryption after messages are passed to the federated partner’s network (if the partner is federated with an on-premises Skype for Business Server or third-party network).

Skype for Business external connectivity requires the consent and correct configuration of both parties of the federation relationship. After the federation is set up by the administrators of both sides, users in each company can see presence and communicate with users in the other company.

Federation in Office 365 is only supported between other Skype for Business/OCS/LCS environments, with appropriately configured Access Proxy or Edge servers. To learn more about Edge server configuration, see Components required for external user access in Skype for Business Server 2015.

The term “Skype for Business federation” is specific to Skype for Business and should not be confused with the requirements and capabilities of identity federation that are supported in Office 365.

Following are the federation relationships that are supported by Skype for Business and the available modalities:

  • Skype for Business Server 2015   IM, Presence, Audio, Video, Conferencing

  • Lync Server 2010   IM, Presence, Audio, Video, Conferencing

  • Office Communications Server 2007 R2   IM, Presence, Audio, Video, Conferencing

  • Federated connections are not covered by the SLAs provided as a part of Office 365 subscriptions.

  • Federated connections are not offered in service availability targets.

  • Federated connections are excluded from the service continuity management Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO).

  • Text-based chat is the default communication type allowed across federated connections. Audio, video, and content sharing may be possible if the federated partner’s environment is correctly configured with Skype for Business Server, which permits these types of communication.

  • File transfer is available with federated connections.

  • Skype for Business supports only federation traffic routed through the Internet.

Customer Responsibilities
  • Provide necessary information, using the change management process, so that Microsoft can configure the federation.

  • Federation requires DNS configurations by the customer and each connected partner organization.

  • Partner organizations are solely responsible for correct configuration of their environments to support federation.

  • Direct the federated business partner to correctly configure the access edge and the audio and video edge.

Organizations can set up a hybrid Skype for Business Server 2015 and Skype for Business Online environment in which all users share the same domain, but some users are homed on-premises and some users are homed online. You can also configure hybrid deployments for integration with other Microsoft Office 365 applications, including Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. Hybrid deployments are discussed in detail in the Skype for Business Server 2015 documentation at Skype for Business Server 2015 Hybrid.

To view feature availability across Office 365 plans, standalone options, and on-premise solutions, see Skype for Business Online Service Description.

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