Plan for regionally hosted meetings in Skype for Business Online



Skype for Business Online now supports regionally hosted meetings—the ability to have a single tenant that spans multiple geographic regions.

Regionally hosted meetings is available for limited release only. For more information about the limited release, please contact your Microsoft representative.

With regionally hosted meetings, you can take advantage of Microsoft Office 365 data centers located all over the world, and you can choose where your users are located in the Microsoft cloud. Your users log in to local data centers and therefore benefit from regional performance for meetings within the cloud.

For example, the following diagram compares users at two different companies, one of which has implemented regionally hosted meetings. Alice—in Sydney, Australia—has a preferred data location of Australia. Because she is physically homed in the same geographical region as the data and services she accesses in the Australia data centers, she can take full advantage of the numerous benefits that regionally hosted meetings provide, including improved network performance.

With all its benefits, there are still some scenarios that might not be conducive to regionally hosted meetings (more about this later). For example, Mario works for a company that needs to control access to the Internet. Thus, he is routed to the default tenant location for his organization, which is in North America.

說明 RHM 的路由優點

This topic contains the following sections:

With Office 365 data centers all over the world, regionally hosted meetings provide several benefits for your multi-national corporation, including:

  • Choosing where your users are located in the Microsoft cloud. Your users only need to connect to the Microsoft cloud locally. Once they connect, the Microsoft cloud connects, optimizes, and protects media from across regions and makes it available to your users.

  • Improved communications performance. Because local users no longer have to host meetings out of a tenant hosted in a far-off region, networking performance is greatly improved.

    (Without regionally hosted meetings, Skype for Business hosts conferences in the default tenant location—typically, where your billing address is—so remote users sometimes host meetings out of a tenant located in a far-off region. Users who are homed away from their physical location often must make additional network hops to participate in real-time communications like instant messaging and audio/video conferencing. This typically causes a degraded customer experience.)

  • Connectivity to regional services. Meetings are hosted within the organizer's geographic region. In addition to conferencing performance, other tasks, such as logging and searching, are also improved.

  • Support for regulatory entities (for example, the European Union) that require data generated by a user within a region to remain in the region. With Skype for Business Online, this typically applies to uploading meeting content.

Regionally hosted meetings are supported in the following locations:

  • Asia Pacific

  • Australia

  • Canada

  • Europe, Middle East, and Africa

  • Japan

  • North America

Regionally hosted meetings are not supported for the following:

  • The United States government community cloud (government requirements)

  • China operated by 21Vianet (government requirements)

  • Germany operated by T-systems (government requirements)

  • EDU tenants

Note that you can have Office 365 users in China and Germany (outside of 21Vianet and T-systems)—you would map them to the Asia Pacific and Europe regions, respectively.

To take advantage of regionally hosted meetings, the following are required or recommended:

  • An Office 365 tenant with Skype for Business Online deployed. (Required)

  • An Exchange mailbox. Either Exchange Online or an on-premises Exchange mailbox. The on-premises Exchange mailbox must be Exchange 2013 or later, and OAuth must be configured between Exchange and Office 365. (Required)

  • Azure Active Directory PowerShell version or later. (Required)

  • Azure Active Directory Connect version 1.1.524.0 or later to synchronize accounts from your on premises Active Directory to Azure Active Directory. (Required)

  • A local outbound connection to the Internet for each region. For more information, see Network routing benefits and considerations. (Required)

  • You need to verify that your firewall is configured for the required IP ranges and ports. For more information, see Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges. (Required)

  • If you want to monitor the impact of regionally hosted meetings on call quality, you need to ensure that Call Quality Dashboard is enabled. For more information, see Turning on and using Call Quality Dashboard in Skype for Business Online. (Recommended)

To understand the networking benefits and considerations of regionally hosted meetings, assume the following:

  • Contoso Corporation is headquartered in Los Angeles but has offices in multiple regions, including Sydney, Australia.

  • Contoso has purchased Office 365 services using the billing address of their headquarters in Los Angeles.

  • Because the billing address is in the USA, their tenant will be hosted in North America.

  • Alice is a Skype for Business Online user in the Sydney office. Currently, she logs into North America for meetings, which adds additional hops and potential latency to her connection.

The following diagram shows how Alice's network routing would look with and without regionally hosted meetings:


With regionally hosted meetings, you can define Alice's preferred data location as Australia. Her account will be hosted in Skype for Business services in her local region, and her meetings will be hosted in a local data center—so network hops and latency are greatly reduced, and her networking performance is improved.

There are exceptions, however. So, to determine whether you can take advantage of regionally hosted meetings, you need to be aware of how your organization routes network traffic to the Internet.

For example, the scenario above assumes that the local branch in Sydney has an outbound connection to the Internet that can go directly to the Australia data center. If so, Alice benefits from being moved to the Australia data centers.

Some companies, however, want to control access to the Internet. For example, assume Contoso has architected a single point of outbound Internet access via their headquarters location in Los Angeles. This means that Alice, your user in Sydney, is routed to Los Angeles before she is routed to the data centers. This is called a single point of Internet egress, and it is a traditional architecture in many companies.

For regionally hosted meetings to work effectively, the local branch office needs to use a local network connection to the Internet and go directly to the Australia data center. Otherwise, Alice would be routed from Sydney to Los Angeles and back to Sydney, as shown in the following diagram. If your company requires a single point for routing outbound traffic to the Internet, users should remain hosted in the data center that is closest to the Internet egress point.

含 RHM 與網際網路輸出的網路路由

Understanding network requirements and considerations is critical for setting up effective regionally hosted meetings. For more information, see Network planning and performance tuning for Office 365 and Tune Skype for Business Online performance.

PSTN conferencing is supported with regionally hosted meetings by providing a PSTN conferencing bridge for each major region (North America, Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East, and Africa) to which your organization has expanded. Users in any other region will use the PSTN conferencing bridge that geographically corresponds to any of the major regions; for example, a user in Australia will use the PSTN conferencing bridge of Asia Pacific.

Each PSTN conferencing bridge will have its own set of shared and dedicated phone numbers. For example, if your organization expands from North America to Asia Pacific, an additional PSTN conferencing bridge will be assigned to your organization for the Asia Pacific region. The phone numbers of the PSTN conferencing bridge in Asia Pacific will be different from those of the North America region, as shown in the following diagram:

地區主辦的會議 PSTN 會議圖表

When users are moved from one region to another, they are automatically assigned to the PSTN conferencing bridge that corresponds to their new region. (A user can only be assigned to the PSTN conferencing bridge that corresponds to their region.) Additionally, their meetings will be automatically updated during their move by the meeting migration service, and they will be notified via email of their new PSTN conferencing information.

If you’ve acquired additional dedicated phone numbers for the original PSTN conferencing bridge of your organization, and you want users assigned to the PSTN conferencing bridge of a new region to have phone numbers from the same locations, you’ll need to acquire new numbers from those locations and assign them to the PSTN conferencing bridge of the new region. For additional information about searching and acquiring additional dedicated phone numbers, see Getting Skype for Business service phone numbers.

It is easy to configure regionally hosted meetings because, for many scenarios, most of the configuration and meeting migration is done automatically. Basically, you set up your tenant for multi-national support, specify the allowed locations for your tenant, and then move your users to the location of choice—all by using a few PowerShell commands.

After you specify the allowed locations for your tenant, Azure Active Directory synchronizes all tenant Active Directory information to the forest in the regional data center in preparation for regionally hosted meetings. After you set a user's preferred data location, the Meeting Migration Service is automatically triggered for users moving from on-premises environments to online or for Cloud PSTN conferencing users moving across regions, and the migration automatically happens as a result of the data location update. All you need to do is let your users know about the change, and that they will see calendar updates.

There are some scenarios, however, that require additional configuration, or that might prevent you from moving users to a region. As an administrator, you need to make informed choices before moving users to a new region. You must consider the following:

  • Are regionally hosted meetings supported in your geographic location? For more information, see Benefits.

  • Are the services your users require available with regionally hosted meetings? For more information, see Limitations.

  • Does your company have requirements for a single point of outbound Internet access? If so, regionally hosted meetings will not work efficiently in this scenario. For more information, see Network routing benefits and considerations.

  • Have you considered your DNS requirements? You need to ensure that your local DNS services are forwarded to local external DNS services. Local DNS queries will allow global load balancers to better determine the location of the users and get them directed to the nearest Edge and web services.

  • Do you have an existing, or do you plan to implement, a hybrid deployment with some of your users homed on premises and some homed in the cloud? Will you be migrating users from an on-premises environment to the cloud? For more information, see Set up and configure regionally hosted meetings in Skype for Business Online.

  • Will you be migrating users from a third party Audio Conferencing Provider to Microsoft cloud PSTN conferencing?

    Microsoft recommends that you migrate these users to Microsoft Cloud PSTN conferencing before they’re moved to a different region. For more information on how to migrate users to Cloud PSTN Conferencing, see Assign Microsoft as the dial-in conferencing provider and Migrate to Microsoft Cloud PSTN conferencing.

  • If you have an existing Audio Conferencing Provider, is it available in the new region? For more information, see Configure your ACP to support regionally hosted meetings.

  • If you use an existing third-party Audio Conferencing Provider, the meeting migration service is not automatically triggered, so you will need to use the Meeting Migration Tool. For more information, see Configure your ACP to support regionally hosted meetings.

Before you deploy regionally hosted meetings, you should be aware of its limitations to ensure that you are making the right decision for your organization. The following are currently not supported in regionally hosted meetings:

  • All users in a delegate relationship must share the same preferred data location (PDL). Microsoft recommends choosing the preferred data location for members of the delegate relationship based on the region most appropriate for the meeting organizer.

  • Creating and managing meeting rooms is not supported in remote regions.

  • Organizational Auto Attendant and Call Queues are not fully supported in remote regions. All Auto Attendants and Call Queues are automatically homed in the tenant's primary region by default. Administrators cannot change the default.

  • The Skype for Business admin center can be used to manage the original PSTN conferencing bridge of your organization (the only bridge your organization had before regional hosted meetings was enabled), but to manage the bridges of other regions or the PSTN conferencing settings of users in other regions, you must use PowerShell. For additional information, see Set up and configure regionally hosted meetings in Skype for Business Online.

  • If users are using host-level settings, these settings might behave differently depending on which region the user is located in. Tenant administrators will not have visibility to these differences.