Due to the distributed nature of our students and staff, in an effort to reduce inconvenience and our carbon footprint, the college has adopted a policy of online meetings using Microsoft Skype for Business (formerly called Lync). You don’t need to have a Skype for Business  account to join our meetings. 

This guide is intended to help first time users get started with the Skype for Business Online technology. The images shown are a guide and may vary depending on your system.

If you have regular Skype installed on your device, make sure you 'Quit Skype' before starting this process as two applications can't use the same audio and video devices.

If you are reading this document, you will probably have received an invitation to join one of our online meetings. That invitation will include a "Join Skype for Business  Meeting" URL, where you will click when you are ready to join the meeting. How you join will depend on the type of computing device you are using, and this guide will show you the steps involved.

As a minimum, you will need an Internet connected computer or tablet equipped with a microphone and earphones to join a Skype for Business meeting. A webcam would be useful but not essential.

In most cases, we expect people will be using a PC, Mac or laptop, in which case you will simply click on the URL to join through your web browser. Though the first time you do this, the system will need to install a browser plugin, which is perfectly safe to install and use.

If you are using a mobile device such as iPad, iPhone or Android device, you will need to download the free Microsoft Skype for Business App from your appropriate App store. This version of the App will allow you to join the meetings as a Guest user without the need for a Skype for Business account.

Before Joining a live meeting, it is worth reading our Problems with audio or video quality help article article to make sure your home network and PC are in good condition before you start. It is also worth noting that some computer screen savers can cause the connection to close in the middle of a session. Consequently, you may want to turn off your screen saver when using Skype for Business.

Joining the meeting via your web browser.

Click on the “Join Skype for Business Meeting” hyperlink in your invitation email, or Calendar entry if your email client has moved it.

invitation

If this is the first time you have joined a Skype for Business meeting on this computer, of if things have been updated, your browser should ask you how you want to join.  Click the link to Install and join with Skype Meetings App (web) as shown.

 Your browser should start the download process, as shown below. How this appears will depend on your browser and operating system. You will need to be an Administrator on your computer to install this. Click Run if prompted, otherwise locate the file in your downloads folder and run it from there.

If your browser downloads and doesn't run the installer, you will get a screen like this:

 

 Locate the file in your downloads and install it. Once the installer finishes, click the link at option 3 in the above screenshot. 


Your web browser may block the plugin from running. If so, it will prompt you and offer the option to allow or enable.


Depending on your operating system and configuration, you may get a Firewall warning. Here is a typical Windows firewall warning:

 Click the Allow access button to create a firewall rule to allow the app to connect.

Some browsers prompt you to use the newly installed App. Click the Remember my choice box and click open the link..


Once the App has installed and launched, you will get a Welcome screen where you can type your name and click the Join button as shown.

 

You need to have a microphone and speakers, or preferably ear/head phones connected to your device when you start the App. If not, you will get an error message 'You need to set up an audio device'.

  When you first login, your microphone will be muted and your webcam (if available) will be off. Consequently, the first thing you will want to do is turn on your Microphone and possibly start your video. In the bottom of your Skype for Business meeting window, you will find the icons shown here:

mic

 

Click the muted microphone icon, shown in the above graphic.

If you have a webcam and are happy to share your video with us, click the video camera icon as shown in this graphic

video

 

This will pop up a Video Preview window with a Start My Video button. Clicking on this button will start to transmit your webcam to the meeting.

The other icons around the screen are for instant messages, presenting, layout, Meeting options and call control.

To change your view of the meeting, you can use the button at the top right of the screen.

layout

 

If you need to change your audio / video device settings, these can be found under meeting options using the button at the bottom right of your screen.

options

 

Joining the meeting via the Skype for Business mobile device app

Install the free Microsoft Skype for Business  App from your appropriate App store. You do not need an account to join meetings arranged by others. Do not launch the App, as you will need a account to login. By clicking on your invitation hyperlink, the app will launch in a mode that allows Guest sign in. When the app launches, click on the Join Meeting button as shown here.

AppJoin 

 

Enter your name and click the button shown to join the meeting.

AppSignIn

 

When you first login, your microphone will be muted and your webcam will be off. Consequently, the first thing you will want to do is turn on your Microphone and possibly start your video.

audiovideo

 

Here you can see the button have changed colour and you can see your own webcam view in the bottom right of the screen.

video

 

The app will hide those buttons after a short period. If you ned to see/use them again, tap anywhere in the middle of the screen as shown here.

hidden

 

The other two buttons shown at the bottom are the red telephone button used to hang up the call when you want to leave the meeting, and the meeting options button.

options

 

Self-Help Tips in Case you have Problems with Skype for Business

While we will do everything in our power to help, the quality of your experience of Skype for Business could depend on factors outside of our control. These factors include the speed and contention ratio of your Internet connection and the health of your computer/device. Malware, memory, disk speed and wireless interference can all cause problems with Internet connectivity that could cause audio/video problems.

Things you can do to help make the experience of using any audio/video connection the best it can be are:

  • Ensure you (or anyone else in your home) aren’t busy downloading large files like Movies and Software at the same time as you are using your connection for audio and video sessions.
  • If you haven’t rebooted[1] your router recently, it is probably worth doing this before using online audio/video resources, to ensure the router is running at optimum speed.
  • If you regularly hibernate your computer rather than shutting it down, it would be worth a reboot prior to the session to free up any locked or fragmented memory pages.
  • If you are able to, connect your computer to your router/hub with a network cable rather than using a wireless connection. Ethernet is faster and more reliable.
  • If you do use wireless, and your equipment supports it, use the 5Ghz band, which is faster and has fewer interference issues.
  • Close all other apps and browser windows/tabs to reduce the memory and bandwidth being used.
  • Make sure you “Quit Skype” (if you have it installed) before starting a meeting.
  • If you use a bit torrent client (for example, Xunlei, Transmission, qBittorrent, Vuze, Deluge and BitComet) to download Movies etc. make sure it is shutdown when you are trying to use audio and video services.
  • Be aware that using bit torrent clients can result in your ISP “throttling back” your speed and possibly reporting illegal use to copyright enforcement agencies.
  • Always keep your computer protected by a good antivirus, preferably one that doesn’t slow your machine down.
  • Defragment your hard drive periodically, especially if you have deleted lots of files.

 


[1] To re-boot a device, turn it off, wait for a minute, and turn it on again. Use the shutdown or reboot command.  Don't just turn it off.