[This is pre-release documentation and subject to change in future releases. This topic's current status is: Milestone-Ready]

Topic Last Modified: 2010-07-15

The updated infrastructure in Microsoft Communications Server 2010 includes new features and capabilities that can potentially reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO) and improve your experience and the experience of your users. When using devices, you’ll notice support for new devices and new and improved management and troubleshooting tools.

New Line of IP Phones

Communications Server 2010 introduces support for five new IP phones. Compared to the previously released IP phones, the new phones are:

  • More versatile. For the first time, unified communication (UC) phones designed for common-area use and IP phones for conference rooms are available.

  • Less expensive. The new IP phones can be sold at a lower price point because they do not include fingerprint readers and touch screens, and the new conferencing device does not include cameras.

  • Easier to use. Features that contribute to improved ease of use include faster Internet speeds; sharper resolution; PIN authentication so that users do not need to enter domain credentials for basic usage; and UI improvements, such as a calendar from which you can join a LiveMeeting with one click.

The new phones are built by Aastra and Polycom and include two desk phones, two common area phones, and a conferencing device.

For details about the new IP phones, see Choosing New Devices.

Support for Analog Devices

For the first time, Communications Server 2010 provides support for analog devices. Specifically, the supported analog devices are analog audio phone and analog fax machines. In order to support other types of analog devices such as a pager, modem, or Teletypewriting Device for the Deaf/Teletypewriter (TTD/TTY), the customer needs to contact the qualified Gateway vendor to ensure that the specific device is supported on the Gateway.

Now you can configure the analog gateways and devices in your organization to use Communications Server 2010. After you do this, analog devices use Communications Server to make and receive calls, and Communications Server makes routing decisions and log calls in Call Detail Records (CDR) for analog devices, just as it does for any device.

Analog phones that use Communications Server 2010 can make and receive calls like IP and USB phones that use Communications Server with one exception: They cannot park calls using by the Call Park Service. They can, however, retrieve parked calls by dialing a call-retrieve number.

For information about how to configure analog gateways and devices, see Appendix B: Configuring Analog Gateways and Devices.

New Peripherals

Multiple vendors are working on providing new peripherals for use with Communications Server 2010. All supported devices, including peripherals, are listed at Phones and Devices Optimized for Microsoft Office Communicator, at the TechNet website. This list is updated as new devices are approved.

Improved Management Experience

In this release, your deployment and management tasks should be more consistent, efficient, and simple, because of the following changes:

  • The Communications Server Control Panel is now Web-based and has a consistent and streamlined UI. For more information, see Tools and Services for Managing and Troubleshooting Devices.

  • The Communications Server Management Shell is now the primary scripting interface and allows you to do everything you can do in the Control Panel, as well as some unique tasks, at the command prompt. For more information, see Tools and Services for Managing and Troubleshooting Devices.

  • Central Management database is the new configuration data store, replacing WMI and providing a schematized, simpler way of storing and sending configuration and topography.

Improved Monitoring Capability

Communications Server 2010 provides a simple mechanism for tracking and reporting on the IP phones that are currently deployed in your organization. The new IP Phone Inventory Report tool is provided with the Monitoring Server Reports, as show in figure 1 (<Figure 1 to come.>), for device asset tracking and monitoring. CDR captures device information—manufacturer, hardware version, MAC address, user alias, and software version—based on registration activities. The IP Phone Inventory tool lets you use CDR information to track:

  • Manufacturing and hardware versions so that you can see what devices are in deployment.

  • Software versions, which is useful to look at after deploying a new update, as it lets you identify which devices have been successfully updated and which devices are still running older builds. You can use this information to identify devices that may be having issues with upgrading.

  • Misplaced devices, by running a report based on the user alias and MAC address of the misplaced device so that you can find out if the device is being used on the network.

  • Usage, to find out when a user last logged in to a device.

  • General device inventory, to determine the number of devices currently deployed and identify all device owners.

In addition, the improved UI gives end users more information about issues and possible solutions.

Improved Troubleshooting Tools

This release includes new troubleshooting tools and improvements to logging. Device logs now include more information, and the logging level can be adjusted—to low, medium, or high—to allow you to get the right level of information when troubleshooting. The new troubleshooting tools are Synthetic Transitions, power-on self test (POST), and Factory and Hard Reset.

For more information, see Tools and Services for Managing and Troubleshooting Devices and Monitoring and Troubleshooting Devices.