Monday, November 8, 2010

Lync Conferencing Client Comparisons

Lync brings a much more seamless web conferencing experience to the user.  No longer does the user have to decide whether to create a Live Meeting or a Conference Call, there is now just an Online Meeting.  The join experience is very seamless to the user with an option for a no-download web client to attend the meeting.

Lync offers the user three options to attend an Online meeting.  Lync will check the local computer that is launching the Online Meeting for the best client available and use that to connect.  The order of checking the client follows:

  1. Lync client – this is the full client that is used by domain users and federated contacts for daily use
  2. Attendee client – a downloaded client (much like the Live Meeting client) that gives the user the ability to fully participate in an Online Meeting.  Download here: Admin or User version
  3. Lync Web App – web client that will allow users to connect to a meeting with no download required

So now you are asking: What is the difference between the clients and what is the user experience like?  Note: This table only describes the different functionality of each client within the conferencing experience.

Feature/Capability Lync Client Attendee Client Lync Web App
Computer Audio X X  
Video X X  
Use Presenter Controls X X X
Access detailed meeting roster X X X
Multiparty IM X X X
Share desktop X X X (plug-in)
Share application X X X (plug-in)
Add anonymous participants X X X
Use dial-in audio conf. X X X
Initiate a meeting X    
Add and present PowerPoint files X X  
Whiteboard X X X
Polling X X X
File Sharing X X X

The following are some screenshots of a meeting that has a user joined from each client.  Note the options available and “look and feel” of each client.

Lync Client

Sharing Options:

LyncConf - LyncOptions

PowerPoint presentation upload:

LyncConf - Lync-ppt

Attendee Client

Login Page:

LyncConf - AC-Launch

Sharing Options:

LyncConf - Attendee-Options

PowerPoint presentation upload:

LyncConf - Attendee-ppt

Lync Web App

Login Page:

LyncConf - LWA-Launch

Sharing Options:

LyncConf - LWA - Options

Phone Options

LyncConf - LWA-Callme-markup

PowerPoint presentation upload:

LyncConf - LWA-ppt

The new conferencing experience is a welcome improvement.  Hopefully less of our meetings will be troubleshooting connectivity problems as it was in the past!


  1. Nice article. Thanks.

  2. Hi Tim,

    I have a problem with anonymous users! They can't get AV enabled. it's grayed out.

    The ports are published on TMG 2010 with ENAT, and the same TMG is acting as RP.

    Would that be a static NAT issue?

  3. Do you have to provide your own phone number for dialing in, or does Microsoft provide a dial-in bridge for Lync Online calls?