How to IM People on Other Networks (AIM, Yahoo, MSN) from OCS

Everybody asks the question when they find out what Office Communicator does. “Oh, this is instant messaging too? Can I chat with my friend in San Francisco on AIM?”

And then Management”s hair goes white. Employees spending all day IMing! Nothing will get done!

Yes, there is a risk of this (though much less than what most people think). But there”s plenty of good reasons to IM people on other networks. Discussions with partners and vendors. A direct line to Tech Support. Telecommuters. Even conversations with clients!

So, how do you go about installing the capability? It turns out to be pretty easy, provided you have the right information. And the right license.

Prerequisites for Provisioning Adding the capability to connect to the public IM networks is called provisioning in OCS. This will require configuration changes on your side. Here”s what”s needed:

  • Public key infrastructure (PKI) support
  • OCS servers must support federation
  • Edge Servers must be configured to enable support for each public IM provider (MSN/Windows Live, AIM, Yahoo) you want
  • This information is needed as well:
    • Microsoft Agreement Number
    • Access Edge service fully qualified domain name (FQDN)
    • Primary Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) domain
    • Any additional SIP domains
    • Any additional Access Edge service FQDNs
    • Contact information

The provisioning process is determined based on your licensing. A standard CAL for OCS 2007 allows access to the MSN/Windows Live IM network. In order to provision servers to access AIM and Yahoo IM networks, you”ll need an OCS Public IM Connectivity License. (Contact Microsoft to see if you”re eligible.)

Today I”m going to list how to connect with a standard CAL to the MSN/Windows Live IM network. Next week I”ll detail how to connect to AIM and Yahoo.

Connecting to MSN/Windows Live It”s actually very easy to provision OCS for MSN/Windows Live. You simply:

  1. Contact your Microsoft account manager to request the provisioning.
  2. The account manager will send you a URL to a website. This URL initiates the process.
  3. Enter the requested information on the initiation website.  Submit.

Wasn”t so hard, was it? Provisioning can take up to 30 days to complete. But once it does, you”ll be able to talk with friends on MSN/Windows Live right from Office Communicator.

However, note: Windows Live may require a change to your existing IDs in order to work. You must change your ID if it matches a domain that”s the same as the domain you request be provisioned for public IM connectivity. (I would think this would make things easier, but who knows.)

Apparently submitting a domain for provisioning “reserves” that domain for use with your company”s IM setup. So the user ID must be changed. For instructions on how to do this,go here:

Part 2 next week!

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