Lync Phone Edition Devices Incompatible with Office 365 By November 2018

This post is written by Daryl Hunter, voice solution architect at AudioCodes. Daryl previously worked at Mirazon as a solutions architect focused on unified communications. Check out some of his previous blog posts!

Hello friends! I’m baaaaaaaaacccckk! Mirazon has been gracious enough to provide me the opportunity to guest blog about the AudioCodes replacement program for Microsoft LPE (Lync Phone Edition) devices. Did you know that LPE devices will stop working with Microsoft Office 365 services beginning on October 31, 2018? No? It’s true. Microsoft will be enforcing TLS 1.2 only with Office as of that date – you can read more on their blog. More information on the AudioCodes LPE upgrade program offer can be found and claimed on the AudioCodes website or drop Mirazon a line for more info.

What are LPE devices and why won’t they work?

That’s a great question. I’m glad you asked. Lync Phone Edition (LPE) devices are the IP Phones first launched alongside Lync 2010. The phones were produced by third-party certified vendors like Polycom, HP (via Snom) and Mitel (who purchased Aastra). All of them run an ancient version of Windows CE 6.0 and a Microsoft written Lync Phone client. Windows CE – and subsequently Lync Phone Edition – doesn’t support TLS 1.2. Therefore, when Microsoft enforces TLS 1.2 only on Office 365, these devices will no longer connect. This doesn’t just affect Skype for Business Online – it affects connections to ANY Office 365 property – think Azure AD, Exchange Online UM, etc.

The models of Lync Phone Edition (LPE) devices that are affected by this change are:

  • Polycom: CX500, CX600, CX3000
  • HP: 4110 and 4120
  • Mitel/Aastra: 6721ip and 6725ip

Why is this important?

Older TLS versions (1.0 and 1.1) are known to have vulnerabilities used by hackers. Security regulated markets (for example credit card processing) restrict services to modern TLS implementations.  Microsoft has stated that there are no known vulnerabilities in their own implementations of TLS 1.0 but it recognizes the potential for future vulnerabilities, thus making this change to more modern TLS. These newer regulations also encourage moving toward new security mechanisms, like the Modern Authentication that Microsoft implemented recently. As you would expect, these newer security mechanisms are fully supported by AudioCodes phones.

Why else is this important? Well, since Microsoft will enforce TLS 1.2 on the Office 365 Cloud on October 31, 2018, LPE phones just will stop working with Office 365 properties after that date. You may or may not know, but phones can utilize different services within Office 365. As mentioned above, basic calling may be facilitated by Skype for Business Online, so that is affected. Likewise, affected phones can utilize Exchange Online services for calendaring, voicemail services, Outlook contacts, call logs, and more. The fact that phones cannot access Exchange Online services will also impact on-premises/hybrid deployments using Exchange Online. This is a key point to consider, so, even if you are using Skype for Business on-premises you should consider researching more about whether this LPE change affects you.

Will this affect my existing non-LPE devices?

Maybe. It’s true that all Microsoft 3rd Party Interoperability Partner (3PIP) phones that are certified for Skype for Business Online will continue work after this Office 365 TLS 1.2 change and will work with and be supported by Microsoft Teams. There will be no change to 3PIP phones connected to Skype for Business Server on-premises as long as TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are supported in that deployment. They will be able to join Microsoft Teams scheduled meetings and place calls with the same user experience and features detailed above in the Microsoft blog. As much as I may sound like a broken record, Connectivity to Office 365 features like Exchange Online will not work after October 31, 2018.

Something that may be useful to bring up at this point is native Teams devices. At Enterprise Connect in March 2018, Microsoft announced a new line of native Teams phones that run a Microsoft Teams app directly on the phone itself. LPE phones will not work with Microsoft Teams. For more details check out the Microsoft Tech Community blog. The current Microsoft Office 365 roadmap shows this support coming in the third quarter of 2018.

How can AudioCodes help?

There is an AudioCodes replacement program for Microsoft LPE Phones offers big discounts off MSRP for AudioCodes devices purchased to replace LPE phones. More information about these offers is available on AudioCodes’s site. For every model of AudioCodes in this offer, we have a matching (or more advanced) set of features. On top of standard expected calling features, AudioCodes phones have modern features like advanced boss-admin, sidecar options, resiliency options, superior centralized management and more. A few charts detailing how AudioCodes phones compare – along with frequently asked questions – can be found on our LPE Upgrade Program FAQ page.

Lync Phone Edition Devices Incompatible

Lync Phone Edition Devices Incompatible

How can Mirazon help?

You’re in good hands! Mirazon is both an AudioCodes Gold partner and a Microsoft Gold partner.  Mirazon has many years of hands-on experience implementing Microsoft UC solutions including AudioCodes full-ecosystem deployments.

Send Mirazon an email or give them a call at 502-240-0404 if you have any questions about the TLS update, your phones, or this tradeup!