Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 supports communications and collaboration with external users, including the following:

Edge Servers provide a way for internal and external users to communicate across corporate firewalls. If you deploy the appropriate Edge Server and reverse proxy in your perimeter network, internal users can communicate with external users, subject to the settings you configure. Edge Servers enable instant messaging (IM) and presence, as well as Web conferencing and audio/video (A/V) collaboration between internal users and users outside your internal network. To support this functionality, you need an Edge Server configured with one or more of the following services:

An Edge Server can be deployed on a single computer or on multiple load-balanced computers. If your deployment includes remote sites, the remote site can include an Edge Server with the Web Conferencing Edge service and the A/V Edge service.

If your organization has decided to enable external users to download meeting content, to enable remote users to expand distribution groups, or to enable remote users to download files from the Address Book Server, the internal Web server requires a reverse proxy to be deployed in the perimeter network, such as the reverse proxy provided by Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006.

The procedures in this section assume that the appropriate Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Edge Servers and a reverse proxy are already deployed in your perimeter network. For details about how to deploy these servers, including the reverse proxy, see Deploying Edge Servers for External User Accessin the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Deployment documentation.

Ongoing management of the servers and settings that are required to provide external connectivity includes the following:

Additionally, ongoing management requires configuration of user accounts, as required. For details about configuring user accounts, see Managing User Accounts.

To configure the servers and settings required to manage external connectivity for your organization, use the procedures in this section and the following tools:

For details about these tools, see Administrative Tools Overviewand Installing and Using Administrative Tools.