James O'Neill's Blog

March 12, 2009

My enduring love for OCS .. and a Nice windows 7 feature

My job as an evangelist focuses on Windows platform (client and Server OS), including management (i.e. PowerShell) and Virtualization. But there are other Microsoft products which from my day to day use of them I feel evangelical about. One is Windows Live Writer which is the best tool for composing blog posts that I’ve found. Word can do blog posts, but somehow writer feels better suited to the task.

I used to do a lot with office Communications server (and I’ve written sections for both of its resource kits), but it’s a long time since I wrote about it here. I’ve been using the voice parts of it for well over  a year. I use it from home (and it’s spooky making calls from communicator to communicator with, for example , Eileen – because you hear the background sounds and acoustics). But I’ve never used it from outside the UK…

I started putting this post together at the end of a scuba holiday: one of the best value live-aboard boats I know sails from the Bahamas and I used up my air miles for the flight – the family stayed at home and left me to it. Orange don’t even list the Bahamas on their roaming page and, although my phone can see the Cell phone provider for the islands It won’t join the network. Yes, I call home from abroad using my company issued phone – the idea being the old one of work/life balance: each intrudes on each other but not unreasonably so. A couple of quid on a short phone call to say the sharks didn’t eat me in exchange for giving up holiday/family time to clear the backlog of mail is part of that balance. Still. I had no phone here, just free internet access. “OK…” I though lets give communicator a try. It works as well as phoning from inside the office; which was a surprise given that the internet connection was none too fantastic.

This gave me a chance to fire up the new Windows 7 resource monitor and have a look at exactly what communicator was doing. The 131 network address is Redmond and handles all the SIP traffic (call set up, and Instant Messaging) and the 213 address is in Dublin and carrying voice, although decent call quality is supposed to need latency of less than 100ms I was finding 200ms on a transatlantic call pretty darn good. And the bandwidth , averaged over a minute it’s about 2KB per second send and receive. I did a double take at that, but that’s bytes, so 16 Kbits per sec, which doesn’t require top notch broad band.



This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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