Skype for Business Licensing


Licensing is not an easy part for everyone but this post will help you a bit to understand the Skype for Business licensing. To design or implement any solution makes more sense if solution cost justify the ROI. Skype for Business has different types of licensing.

  • Server License: Skype for Business Server 2015 has same licensing concept as it was with Lync Server 2013. There is only one type of server license which means there is no separate license for Standard Edition or Enterprise edition. License only applicable to Front End Servers. If you have 4 Standard Edition Server, you need 4 server license or if you have 1 Enterprise Edition Front End pool with 4 Front End server then also you need only 4 server license. Apart from Front End server role, none of the Skype for Business Server roles need license.
  • Client License: Skype for Business 2015 has three different types of client licenses.
    • Skype for Business Standalone client
    • Skype for Business with Office pro plus
    • Skype for Business Basic client (free).
  • Client Access License (CALs): Skype for Business Server CALs are required to use Skype for Business Server. Skype for Business has three different types of CALs which provides different kind of functionalities. Standard CALs are basic requirement for other CALs.
    • Standard CALs: Standard CALs are basic client access license which enable users or devices to connect Skype for Business Server and provides basic features such as IM/Presence, peer-to-peer VOIP and HD Video, and skype connectivity.
    • Enterprise CALs: Enterprise CALs provide additional features to Standard CALs and Standard CALs are prerequisite for Enterprise CALs. It provides scheduled and impromptu meetings with audio and video calling, desktop and application sharing, and dial-in conferencing on mobile phones, tablets, PC and Mac.
    • Plus CALs: Plus CALs are additional CALs and required only for Enterprise Voice features, and Standard CALs are prerequisite for Plus CALs. It enables PSTN in/out, emergency calling, and other enterprise-grade phone features.
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10 thoughts on “Skype for Business Licensing

  1. Zev

    I have to agree with you, Licensing is not an easy part. I have been trying to read if a user that has a SKYPE for business license log into a conference being presented by someone with the enterprise license. Would they be able to present?

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    1. Ajay Kakkar Post author

      The Standard + Enterprise CAL license user can initiate conference and present in conference while the Standard CAL user can only join the conference. If Standard + Enterprise CAL license user promotes Standard CAL user as a presenter then Standard CAL user can also present in the conference.

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  2. Aljoscha

    Hello, i like your information. For which of the Server (for example: 2 Standard paired + 2 Edge + 1 Reverse Proxy) do i need Windows Server CAL ? Thanks

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    1. Ajay Kakkar Post author

      You need to buy two Lync/SfB server license and Edge will be taken care automatically. Reverse proxy doesn’t comes with SfB but you need it for external web services access.

      Windows Server CAL?

      I didn’t understand.

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      1. Aljoscha

        I mean the User/Device Client Access license (CAL). If a have installed Windows Server 2012 & Skype Server 2015, for the accessing device i need those User/Device Client license. I thought i need for each connecting device one Windows Server Device Acces License and one Skype for Business Device Client Access License (CAL).

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      2. Ajay Kakkar Post author

        Yes, You need User/Device CAL based on the requirement. As fas as I know you need only SfB CAL and Windows Server CAL are not required in this case.

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  3. steve

    hi Ajay, tell me. for a deployment with 1 FE std edition, 1 edge, 1web App, how many licenses do I need.(standard edition). i have Office 2013 ProPlus users licenses and Enterprice CALs, what functionalities does this give.

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  4. vladys

    I don’t understand it…why does user need some CAL license? The SfB Basic is for free so why buying license? I tried it and everything including IM, meeting, conferencing, sharing worked. Moreover, how will Microsoft know that some user has no license when using on-premise model?

    Thank you

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    1. Ajay Kakkar Post author

      First of all sorry for the delay.

      First you need to distinct between client license and CALs( client access license). In Microsoft world client access licenses are required for most of the applications/product that are based on server/client architecture. You need client (not CAL) such as Skype for Business client or MS outlook to connect the server application from the end user side. With the basic client you can’t do many things.

      Basic client limitations
      The features below are available using the Full client and are not available with the Basic client:
      Manage team call settings
      Manage delegates
      Make calls on behalf of another contact (manager/delegate scenario)
      Handle another’s calls if configured as a delegate
      Manage a high volume of calls
      Initiate a call to a Response Group
      Call park
      Group call pickup

      For more information you can go here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn933896.aspx

      Microsoft performs random audit and they can catch you if your organization is running pirated versions of MS software.

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