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Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Mediation Server Role
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Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Mediation Server Role

To enable Microsoft Lync server 2010 for Enterprise voice scenarios, you need to implement a Mediation server. This server role has one purpose, which is transcoding known signaling and codecs to Microsoft’s own RT Audio codec (Real time Audio). This codec is developed by Microsoft, and is a very flexible codec. It allows data loss for up to 10% without further noticing. To be able to do this, Microsoft uses a feature called forward error correction or FEC, which is used to maintain quality of the line when packets are dropped.

So if I want to Enterprise Voice enable my user, that is making the user able to do normal phone calls, I then would implement the Mediation server.

In OCS 2007 R2, you had to do a 1 to 1 Mediation server installation for every gateway you implemented. Now having a huge installation with several gateways would take a lot of servers in the racks as well. At the same time Virtualization were not supported, which made the solutions hungry for hardware. So one of the big questions from my customers was, why do I have to use so many servers?

Well that was how OCS 2007 R2 worked, but that is no longer needed in Microsoft Lync Server 2010. You can now have several gateway peers on your mediation servers and you can virtualize them.

The Mediation server comes in 2 versions. You can either make a standalone installation or you can “collocate” it on the front-end server(s). Depending on the solution you choose, I normally use this rule of thumb. Connecting to a SIP provider, go for the Stand alone solution of the Mediation server setup. Also make sure that your SIP provider supports traffic over TLS, which encrypt all the data using certificates.

There is a discussion going weather to virtualize the Mediation server, or placing the role on a physical server. And it really depends on the amount of calls or the “Busy hour traffic” on the gateways. I can only talk from my own experience, and having done a lot of Lync installations, I have never had the need to install the Mediation pool on a separate physical server to get better performance. However moving the Mediation pool away from the Front-End server could make sense to separate the different assignments that the Front-End server has. If you have a lot of gateway peers, that is a lot of gateways configured to use the same mediation server, I would probably consider making another Mediation server and move some of the peers before moving the server role to a physical server. Some would argument for always installing the Mediation server on a standalone physical server. Based on my experience and real life scenarios, I would say it is overkill.

Another consideration when installing the Mediation server is if you want to use Media Bypass. Now this feature basically makes the clients able to communicate directly with a gateway instead of using the Mediation server for media transcoding. When using Media Bypass the clients uses the codec G.711 over secure RTP, or STRP. This solution does have a few benefits. One of them is the elimination of hops when doing outward dialing. Another is saving bandwidth and removing some of the transcoding’s away from the Mediation server. Also the voice quality gets enhanced with the use of the G.711 codec.

I hope this article answers your questions, and if not feel free to leave a message, and I will answer it as soon as possible.


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