Limitations of Lync Online in Office 365

Enterprise E4 licence needed to unlock most features.  

While Lync Online provides SMBs with functionality usually only afforded by larger organisations, there is still a long list of features that remain out of reach due to technical and licensing limitations.

While most of these limitations are around the lack of the Enterprise Voice licence in Lync Online (known as Plan 3, or part of the E4 suite) there are a few other limitations when it comes to integration with SharePoint and Exchange. While these functions would be possible with an on-premise deployment, they are simply not available due to various technical reasons.

The features not available are:

  • Searching for employees by their skillset in an on-premise SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online
  • Persistent group chat
  • Connect (federate) to IBM Sametime unified communications platform
  • IM/presence federation with XMPP networks such as Jabber  and Google Talk
  • IM/presence with AOL and Yahoo
  • Authenticated experience in Lync Web App
  • Outlook delegation for scheduling online meetings
  • Generate a link to schedule a meeting via web page
  • Schedule an online meeting in Outlook Web App
  • Dial-in audio conferencing on Lync Server
  • Multimedia content upload
  • Screen shot capture (including annotation)
  • Interoperability with on-premise video conferencing systems
  • Make incoming/outgoing calls over the phone network (PSTN dialling)
  • Call hold/retrieve
  • Dial-out over the phone network (PSTN) for meetings
  • Advanced call controls including transfer, forward and simultaneous ring
  • Access to Exchange Online voice mail
  • Team calling
  • Delegation for voice, for example, boss delegates to secretary
  • Call park
  • Outgoing Direct Inward Dialing (DID) manipulation
  • Enhanced 9-1-1 for location by emergency services
  • Dial plans and policies
  • IP desk phone support
  • Survivable Branch Appliances for branch office resiliency
  • Call admissions control
  • Support for analog devices such as a fax
  • Response groups
  • Private line (secondary DID for executives)
  • Interoperation with third-party private branch exchange (PBX)
  • Presence interoperation with third-party PBX
  • Remote call control (RCC) (also known as “click-to-call”) with on-premises PBX
  • Malicious call trace
  • Unassigned number
  • Network Quality of Service (QoS) and Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP)
  • Media path optimisation
  • Phone number management
  • Call detail recording (CDR) and billing reporting
  • Integration with call centre solutions (Aspect)
  • Connect to IP phones (Lync 2010 Phone Edition)
  • Advanced interface for receptionists (Lync 2010 Attendant client)
  • Legacy clients (eg. Office Communication for Mac, 2007 R2, Mobile for Windows Mobile 6.x)
  • Anti-malware scanning for meeting content and file transfers
  • Instant message archiving (server-side only)
  • Exchange Unified Messaging (UM) interoperation with Exchange Online
  • Exchange UM interoperation with Exchange on-premise
  • Use the same domain for Lync on-premise and Lync Online users
  • Splitting workloads (for example, running IM/presence/voice on-premises, and conferencing in the cloud)
  • Attendee/user reporting
  • Reporting (using call recording and Quality of Experience)
  • Server side APIs to connect to other programs


Some of these may become available at some point when Microsoft releases the voice functionality of Lync Online (currently in beta testing with telecommunications companies). However, many more will remain unavailable until at least the next major service release of Office 365.


Loryan Strant is a Microsoft Office 365 MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Follow him on Twitter @TheCloudMouth.

About Loryan Strant

Loryan Strant is the managing director of Paradyne, a leading Cloud Engineering company. He is also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Office 365. You can follow him on Twitter @TheCloudMouth

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