If you've been sitting around your office wondering which Microsoft Lync Server feature is the most misunderstood, well, you can stop wondering: we've already solved that riddle for you. The most misunderstood Lync Server feature? That's easy: conferencing policies.
Why do we think conferencing policies are the most misunderstood Lync Server feature? Two reasons. To begin with, Lync Server policies are designed to affect only the users that the policy is assigned to. Suppose we create a new archiving policy, one that ensures that all internal and external messages are archived. We then assign that archiving policy to Pilar Ackerman. Does that policy affect Ken Myer in any way? Of course not; after all, Lync Server policies only affect users who have been assigned that policy.
Well, except for conferencing policies. As it turns out, conferencing policies can – at least in some cases – affect not only the user that the policy is assigned to, but also other users that person is communicating with. Are we going to explain what that means in this article? Nope; that's because we already did that in the article No Conferencing Policy is an Island: Per-Organizer Settings vs. Per-User Settings.
Another reason that conferencing policies can be misunderstood is because of the name: conferencing policies. In Lync Server, a distinction is drawn between conferences (which are essentially communication sessions involving three of more people) and peer-to-peer sessions (which involved just two people). It makes sense that conferencing policies can be used to help manage conferences, but which cmdlets do you use to help manage peer-to-peer sessions? Interestingly enough, peer-to-peer sessions are also managed by using conferencing policies. Except that sometimes a single policy setting is used to govern both conferences and peer-to-peer sessions, and other times there are separate settings for conferences and for peer-to-peer sessions.
Like what, for example? Well, suppose you don't want users being able to conduct polls in any meetings that they organize. In that case, there's a single setting – AllowPolls – that applies to both conferences and peer-to-peer sessions.
Now let's say that you want to restrict the ability of a user to transfer files. In that case, there are two settings you need to concern yourself with: EnableFileTransfer, which is used to govern file transfers in conferences; and EnableP2PFileTransfer, which is used to govern file transfers in peer-to-peer sessions.
Note. And yes, just to make things even more fun, we also have meeting configuration settings, which can be used to manage both meetings and peer-to-peer sessions. But that's another story for another day.
Oh, and there's also the fact that some of our policy settings might have names that are a bit cryptic. For example, what do you suppose the EnableDataCollaboration setting is for? To tell you the truth, when we first saw that we had no idea. Which is exactly why we decided to put together this series of articles.
What we have for you is a set of articles that look at individual conferencing policy settings in detail, explaining what the setting does, how that setting affects a conference or a peer-to-peer session, and what – if anything – that setting does to the Microsoft Lync user interface. Due to a few limitations in our test equipment we haven't been able to fully explore all the policy settings; we'll get to those as soon as we can. In the meantime, here's a comprehensive look at the following Lync Server conferencing policy settings:
· AllowAnnotations Per-organizer setting that determines whether or not whiteboards can be used in a meeting.
· AllowAnonymousParticipantsInMeetings Per-organizer setting that determines whether or not anonymous (that is, unauthenticated) users will be allowed to join a meeting.
· AllowConferenceRecording Per-organizer setting that determines whether or not users logged on to the internal network will be allowed to record a conference (a communication session involving three or more people).
· AllowExternalUsersToSaveContentPer-organizer setting that determines whether external users (users not logged on to the internal network) can save whiteboards, polls, annotations, and other content presented during a meeting.
· AllowIPAudio Per-organizer setting that determines whether or not IP audio (essentially audio that uses the sound capabilities built into a computer) can be used in a meeting.
· AllowIPVideo Per-organizer setting that determines whether or not video can be used in a conference (a communication session involving three or more people).
· AllowParticipantControl Per-user setting that determines whether a user can take or cede control of a shared desktop or shared application.
· AllowPolls Per-organizer setting that determines whether polls can be used in a meeting.
· AllowUserToScheduleMeetingsWithAppSharing Per-organizer setting that determines whether application sharing will be allowed in a meeting.
· EnableAppDesktopSharing Per-user setting that determines whether the user will be allowed to share his or her desktop, a single application, or neither their desktop or an application while participating in a meeting.
· EnableDataCollaboration Per-organizer setting that determines whether whiteboards, polls, and PowerPoint presentations can be used in a meeting.
· EnableDialInConferencing Per-organizer setting that determines whether users will be able to use a telephone to join the audio portion of a meeting.
· EnableFileTransfer Per-organizer setting that determines whether or not users can transfer files in a conference (an online session with three or more participants).
· EnableP2PFileTransfer Per-user setting that determines whether or not the user can transfer files in a peer-to-peer communication session.
· EnableP2PRecording Per-user setting that determines whether or not the user can record a peer-to-peer communication setting.
· EnableP2PVideo Per-user setting that determines whether or not the user can use video in a peer-to-peer communication session.
· MaxMeetingSize Per-organizer setting that determines the maximum number of people who can take part in a meeting.