‘Presence Unknown’ Lync Online to Lync On Premise Users

I recently ran into this issue with a few customers. Clients running Lync Online were not able to add users from other companies that run Lync on Premise. When they would add the users to their Lync, they would see the user as ‘Presence Unknown’ and all communications to they would bounce back.

Logically you would think that they are not open to automatic federation. The problem is that they are and they are able to communicate to other OCS and Lync on premise users.

The problem is that because Lync Online (Office 365) is a true multitenant environment, they have to be added as a PIC provider like AOL, MSN and Yahoo! (the default three). One would assume that since this is Microsoft it would just work, but it doesn’t.

Lync Control Panel with the default three providers


You must Add Lync Online as a Provider, which is done simply through the Lync Control Panel or Lync Management Shell.

Lync Control Panel


Lync Management Shell command

New-CSHostingProvider –identity LyncOnline –ProxyFqdn sipfed.online.lync.com –Enabled $True


Lync Control Panel when complete

Once you give the CMS time to replicate the changes to the Edge server, you will notice the presence of the Lync user will change from ‘Presence Unknown’ to the current presence of the user.

Thanks for visiting and reading my posts. I am always looking for more ideas. Please comment or email me with what you would like to see.

Kelsey Epps

Office 365 MVP

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2 thoughts on “‘Presence Unknown’ Lync Online to Lync On Premise Users

  1. pinki

    Thanks for the great post. You have described the logic in a very friendly manner. I wanted to ask a basic question in relation to the Lync presence feature. Does the Lync onpremise server still continue to render the presence for the users who are migrated to Lync online?

    1. Kelsey EppsKelsey Epps Post author

      You will need to follow the process in the post so that Lync on-prem knows about Office 365. If it doesn’t know about Office 365, then all users from Office 365 will show up at ‘Presence Unknown’. This is true for all federated contacts that don’t use automatic federation.


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