Jabber vs Lync

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Jul 22nd, 2012

I am new to Jabber, can you help me identify the differences and the advantages over the Lync.

Thanks,
Ali

I have this problem too.
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bill.efthimiou Wed, 07/25/2012 - 04:54

Hi Ali,

I do not claim to know Lync very well at all. I spend a great deal of my time with video testing. My understanding is as follows (correct me if i am wrong):

Lync (Microsoft) places a greater emphasis on proprietary protocols, such as RT-audio and RT-video. There is a lack of support for the high fidelity "standards" based audio and video codecs. This is no problem if all you expect is to make a call to another Lync client. But it's a massive problem if you have a requirement for video beyond the enterprise, unless of course, it's yet another Lync environment.

Lync Wave 15 (or whatever the next release is called) is suppose to make available H.264-SVC. However, I'm afraid this too is not standards based, creating yet another island.

So if you expect to be able to call another standards based system (Cisco, Asterisk, Avaya, Polycom, pretty much any open-source platforms, etc), then you should expect to connecting with audio using G.711 and at best video using H.263 base, if your lucky enough for the endpoint to support such an old, poor performing codec.

Microsoft has licened it's RT-audio and RT-video codecs to Polycom. So you can buy an additional license to install a plug-in on Polycom MCUs (and I believe other endpoints). So you can use the MCU as a meeting point to connect to other systems. But that's hardly an efficient use of a very expensive hardware resource, when all you want to do is a point to point call.

There is a new video codec called H.265 going through the standards process at the moment, which is based H.264-SVC. Until then, it's a closed/proprietary protocol.

Jabber is standards compliant. We use it to call all sorts of multivendor equipment, including all the above.

I hope this helps.

Regards,

Bill.

Steven DiStefano Wed, 07/25/2012 - 05:25

Good post Bill and thanks for sharing with us all. I am in the same boat as you (not knowing much about Lync) and primarily put together Cisco UC solutions for my companies clients.

A fellow in our MSFT practice told me this about Lync 2010 Video. I noticed the suspicious lack of stating H.263.

"High-definition video (resolution 1270 x 720; aspect ratio 16:9) and VGA video (resolution 640 x 480; aspect ratio 4:3) are supported for peer-to-peer calls between users running Lync 2010 on high-end computers. The resolution viewed by each participant in a single conversation may differ, depending on the video capabilities of each user’s respective hardware. High-definition video is not supported for multiparty sessions"

So thats they way folks who sell MSFT would like it to be pitched. And anytime we try to compare the Lync and Jabber, it pulls in a larger scale discussion of Microsoft versus Cisco, and quickly get blurred by what each vendor 'plans to release' but has not committed to a current release.

So let me pass some plans for what I found on a public unbiased post about Lync 2013 plans :-)

http://www.zdnet.com/microsofts-lync-server-2013-skype-federation-hybrid-voice-and-more-7000001415/

Among the new Lync 2013 features that Lasko and other Customer Preview testers have discovered:

  • Full IPv6 support
  • VDI plugin, allowing full A/V support in virtual desktop environments
  • H.264 SVC codec support
  • Skype federation support
  • Persistent chat (or group chat) becomes a "full-fledged" Lync service, not just a bolted-on add-on
  • Audio and video added to Lync Web App
  • Consolidation of roles; no separate server role needed for monitoring and archiving
  • Hybrid deployments of on-premises and Lync Online cloud servers now supported (this capability is called "hybrid voice")
  • Support for M-N trunk routing, plus support for inter-trunk routing. Lasko explains: "This feature allows Lync to act as an intermediary between two or more different phone systems. For example, Lync can accept calls from one PBX, and pass the call through to another PBX. This can be very useful in larger environments and allows Lync to be the backbone of a corporate telephone network."
  • Support for a unified contact store, with information maintained in MIcrosoft Exchange Server 2013, enabling users to access/manage contacts from Lync 2013 Preview, Outlook or Outlook Web App

Lasko also noted a new feature that may or may not yet be in the Lync 2013 Customer Preview: A choice of ways to make audio/video calls using Lync from their mobile devices. Lasko explained:

"Mobile clients will finally get the featureset people have been asking for. Now, mobile clients will be able to make audio and video calls from their mobile device using either a mobile data connection or wi-fi. Not sure if this will be available at launch or sometime after. I saw an early demo of Lync 2013 on a tablet running Windows 8, and it pretty much guaranteed I'll be buying a Windows 8 tablet when it comes out."

peter.huboi@pol... Wed, 07/25/2012 - 11:12

Your decision should be based on how a UC client is used in context. A recent IDC study showed that 75% of technology companies were considering Social Software in the workplace by the end of  2012 based on a "sales enablement" ROI. One workflow is Social-> UC client -> chat/voice/video (after seeing presence indicating availability). If users are in Microsoft Office and Sharepoint environments, Lync is the better choice. Why? Because you can easily search email or sharepoint to "find the expert" you need. You see their presence indicator and know whether you can initiate a real time chat, call or video from Lync (or if not present, do an email our meeting appt). Why would you need 2 presence servers (Lync and Jabber)? You don't need 2. Use the UC client that is closer to where you spend most of your time. If you use Microsoft, the better choice is Lync.

Steven DiStefano Wed, 07/25/2012 - 11:29

Thanks for articulating what 'find an expert' is (+5 for your first post).  I have seen that checked YES for Lync and NO for jabber but never understood what it was. 

So the user who is looking for the expert must be in the same domian as the expert, or federated with the company who has the expert?  I am thinking it is used in a company who has a question from a customer and internally searches for an expert in their own company, right?

Sorry for the dumb question.

Steve

peter.huboi@pol... Wed, 07/25/2012 - 13:32

My use case was "internal search for expert" i.e. sales needing help with a tough question needed to close a sale. Typically external customers would go to a support page or forum or even use the "Contact us" chat or 800 number found on most web sites.

jonathanwalton Wed, 07/25/2012 - 12:34

Hi Peter, I don't follow you.  I see the jabber presence bubble in outlook, so when I'm searching my e-mails, I can use Jabber presence bubble to contact the expert through outlook.  I'm not trying to argue one is better, but I'd like to know how Lync's integration into office\sharepoint is better than Jabber.  I ask because I just got off the phone with our Microsoft Rep and he showed me his Lync integration into outlook, and IMO it looks exactly the same as jabber's integration to outlook. 

Perhaps I don't understand the social side of sharepoint.

I would think Lync would have better office integration, so I'm assuming I'm missing something.

That said, one clear-cut advantage of Lync is the ability to place a peer-to-peer video call without each person needing a softphone tied to their jabber client.  Oh, another advantage is Lync can not just share the desktop, it can share control over the desktop. 

If I'm mistaken, please let me know.  I'm trying to determine that best fit for our organization as well.

peter.huboi@pol... Wed, 07/25/2012 - 13:29

Do you see Jabber bubble in  Sharepoint when you search internal documents or discussions? I'd alsolike to see what Microsoft has plans for with respect to Office 2013 and federation with Skype. It will also be interesting to see what Microsoft has planned for Yammer.

alialjamri2008 Thu, 07/26/2012 - 04:03

Thanks very much guys for sharing your expertise with me.

Initially I went by logic: Microsoft Lync nicely integrated into applications like MS office, SharePoint and Jabber nicely integrated into voice UC CUCM/CUC.

After long research I came with following points it is really depend on what we have and what we need.

It was like a gift came to me when I came across following post on Cisco Communities that I would like to share it with you and have your point of view, it is about CUCIMOC which I found it the best solution that fit our environment and the solution that combine the best of both Lync & Jabber; in addition to exploiting our existing and uses of CUCM/CUC, MS Office and SharePoint:

https://communities.cisco.com/message/58117#58117

Please have a look on above post, and let me know your point of view, I am assuming no drawbacks on this integration option.


Thanks,
Ali

Steven DiStefano Thu, 07/26/2012 - 05:46

Srini is one of the most recognized experts and VIP in many commiunities in Cisco, and at Cisco Live 2012 was specifically recognized for his expertise in Cisco and given an award on stage!   You can take whatever he says to the bank.  I always do.

But do realize the thread is from 2010, so understand that Cisco offers CUCI-Lync today, which continues to support MOC environments, and CUCIMOC is now EOS/EOL:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/voicesw/ps6789/ps6836/ps10317/end_of_life_notice_c51-660249.html.

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps10317/index.html

CUCI allows a perfect fit for integrating the two envioronments, where you want to maintain the best in both worlds.  It includes Office Ribbons, which dont exist yet in jabber just as an example.  Its pretty mature, and that would be where I would not want to speculate about its future and roadmap, now that Cisco has a replacement product.  But Cisco is so genererous when it announces EOS/EOL in terms of continued years of support, so there your would not have to worry.

As long as you purchased what you needed up front as EOS comes as the first date to recon with.

This uses the Cisco Service Framework (CSF) device, so it does have to be licensed so will count as a device (UCL Adjunct) or one of your CUWL devices. (STD or PRO).  I dont think you will find this on a mobile device, just enterprise connected machines.

I would speak to your dedicated account team and let them explain the focus and emphasis you could expect from Cisco on this product line going forward.  Cisco is a business and has limited resources and will have priorities.  It is just my opinion that Jabber would be the priority.  But this is where I will mind my own business and let Cisco discusee that.

Steve

sk8mastercate Fri, 07/27/2012 - 07:36

How much does Jabber for Mac Software cost? And not to be a critic, but don't you think the product- Cloud, is too similar to the Apple Product named, "iCloud?" Is Cloud the same type of program as iCloud? I can't afford a new software price for Jabber if it's over 20 dollars. However, My iChat Help is indicating that to communicate with persons' owning a Jabber account, must be communicated with a Jabber account. My brother has Jabber. I have just about every other IM, and Skype for Video Calls. I don't have Jabber.  The help article goes on to state that if one has Google Talk, which is Jabber-based, then one can use Google Talk to IM with Jabber accounts, and set up Video calling.

       

Message was edited by: Catherine Hayes

Steven DiStefano Fri, 07/27/2012 - 07:52

Do you know that the term "iPhone" belonged to Cisco before Apple started using it? True story. I heard John Chambers tell the story of how he and the late/great Steve Jobs negotiated that years ago. CLOUD is more of a topology rather than a trademarked product name I think.

But you are right, XMPP is the protocol of these others bulleted below and the feature which integrates them is called Federation, so all these can interoperate.

  • Jabber
  • AOL AIM
  • Google Talk
  • IBM Lotus Sametime
  • WebEx Connect
  • CUPC
  • Other Cisco Jabber organizations

Even Intra-Domain federation to OCS and Lync I am told are possible, but have never seen that

Jabber for Everyone is a FREE offer for anyone who is served by a Cisco UC premise based infrastructure to get basic IM/P. The full soft client for calling and VM integration is the client licence you pay for inside the Cisco UC bundle. Its difficukt to call out, since the workspace bundling gives a user access to a whole lot for complete UC, among that the use of a Jabber client.

CHRIS KALETH Fri, 11/02/2012 - 18:20

Peter, I hear the "expert/skill search" feature mentioned often from the MS folks but what I don't understand is how Lync contains the only search interface for experts in the whole suite of MS products.  Correct me if I'm wrong but the search is done based on skill sets entered by employees in Sharepoint.  This tells me that from Sharepoint ("My Site"?) would allow you to search for experts as well, no?  Wouldn't it make sense to be able to search for experts from Lync, Sharepoint and Outlook (to me the widely used app).  To this point why is Lync so critical for this feature?

Do most companies have 2 accounting, CRM, HR systems?  If the answer is yes, then maybe they are inline to have 2 PBXs as well.  Don't get me wrong I think Lync could work fine for small or possibly medium size business that are willing to accept whatever MS and Polycom agree to next but in no means does it make sense to enable Lync as a second phone system.  I will accept my already proven "PBX" and let Jabber enable the "option" of  a soft or hard phone and not a replacement of the hard phone (many many many folks demand this!).  Yes, I know you can buy Polycom phones, but why? 

Chris

peter.huboi@pol... Mon, 11/05/2012 - 11:29

In Sharepoint, you can indeed search on "people" with a keyword for expertise and come up with the right people if they've filled in their "mysite" profiles.

A more typical search is for "a document". In this case the search for expert workflow is Sharepoint -> Lync - IM/Call . So for example if I'm on my Sharepoint I search in sharepoint for a document and find a page with numerous documents listed ... lets say I open one of the documents and have an additional question. In sharepoint, I can see who uploaded the document and their presence status in MS Lync, the R-click on them to chat or call them about my question. So rather than seeing numerous people from a "directory search" on a keyword, I'm seeing the author of a specific document who is an expert on that document's content.

You are right about "Do most companies have 2 accounting, CRM, HR systems? " Most don't. However, many companies have  more than one vendors' PBX (for various reasons) and many have legacy TDM PBX they've not yet upgraded to an IP PBX. So, while in your case you're happy with Communications Manager, when you upgrade the PBX you're happy with replacing the old PBX with Communicaitons Manager. So in your case, "adding a Polycom phone" makes no sense. Another customer with an older PBX may find their experience with Lync initiated calls suitable and like that workflow already (i.e. often making calls from Micrsoft Lync instead of their old PBX phone), an looking forward, find that only 25 % of their employees actually need a deskphone. Or they may wish to additionally deploy video solutions without having to go through the complexity of a Cisco/Lync integrations. Other customers are starting to "skip the PBX to IP PBX upgrade" and going directly to UC. In these circumstances, Polycom adds additional options to choose from, like adding Polycom IP phones and Polycom video solutions with Microsoft being the centralized communications hub with presence if the customer chooses Microsoft.  It's just another option. For those who would prefer Lync over Jabber (like Muransky Compaines Nov 4 thread in this discussion), Polycom's multi-vendor interoperability makes their choice easier to support while still protecting your existing investements in Cisco and Microsoft. All can meet in a Virtual Meeting Room conference powered by the Polycom RealPresence Platform supporting video, voice, and Lync UC clients all in the same call.

bjames@snetworks.com Mon, 07/30/2012 - 15:52

As far as the Integration into Microsoft products, the Jabber clients do a very close job of the Lync ones so most of that is a wash. There are a lot of strange things in Lync that put me off as not intuitive such as search for a contact before you can add them.

The big issues are RT video as mentioned, if you have large deployment and need/want video plan on re-doing your QoS due to non-standard Lync video. As well depending on your size and requirements I have seen many server sprawl environments with Lync and it can get silly if you want it to. As far as federation, you may have to redesign your perimeter to support Microsoft's requirements for Public IP's on your Edge Servers and multiple DMZ's. Also plan to buy hardware load balancers to support the larger deployments.

I think the only real head to head bake off with Lync and Jabber that makes sense is in the Cloud; Webex Connect/Jabber versus 365 Lync (only if you don't need voice)

On the negative Jabber side I have heard a lot of complaints with CUCI Lync and trying to work Lync with Call Manager.

And the fact the if the client's partners don't enable the XMPP gateway in Lync you can't IM them from Jabber.

On another note Lifesize can now also support HD Video Lync from the desktop to conference room with UVC Engine for Lync.

Bob James

muranskycotech Sun, 11/04/2012 - 17:45

I'm not sure what product you were testing, but I feel exactly the opposite as you.

I find Jabber and previous Personal Communicator releases to be infuriating. They're slower than Lync. Their integration to Outlook (and other parts of Windows and Office) is frustrating at best ... assuming they even work at all. Cisco is also painfully slow to develop and release bug fixes.

When Lync is released, it is guaranteed to be a solid release that works regardless of Windows or Office version, or else you can expect an updated release in time for an OS launch. Microsoft is, of course, also quick to release versions that are specific to their new OS releases (for example Lync RT for Windows 8/RT).

I use Jabber and Communicator only because I got sucked into the hype when I rolled out Communications Manager a couple years ago, and now moving to Lync would be an expensive investment. If I had known then what I know now, I would have implemented Lync instead of Presence and integrated it with Communications Manager. In fact, next year, Lync is on my list of projects unless Jabber is significantly improved by spring.

My advice to anyone considering the two options is that you ask yourself one question... above and beyond features/functionality... what are you end-user experiences going to be? Mostly Office-centric with Outlook and SharePoint... or mostly non-Microsoft? IF you're mostly Microsoft or need it to "just work", go with Lync instead of Presence/Jabber.

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Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:46 AM
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