A common question these days in the various Lync forums – As an admin, how do I configure Lync Web App for my external users and how can they access it?
The answer is that experience is different with Lync 2010. In the OCS 2007 R2 world, users could use Communicator Web Access (CWA) and get a list of their contacts & initiate IMs. In Lync 2010, the feature is still there, but is integrated with Exchange 2010 Outlook Web App (OWA).
In short, if you are looking for the same experience as CWA in Lync, you need to integrate Lync with OWA 2010. Read my article on how to implement that here. There is no way for your external users to access a website, put their domain credentials in and be presented with their contact list.
Now, as an admin, how do you configure Lync Web App? It is enabled by default. There is nothing that you need to do as an admin to “publish” the feature. While configuring a Lync server, one of the simple urls that get published is https://meet.domain.com. This url is Lync Web App. If you access the url, you will be given a Lync splash page. That is the default behaviour and it is normal.
Lync Web App only comes into action when you schedule an online meeting. In that case, you will be given a url of the format https://meet.domain.com/username/xxxxxx. This url will provide most of the Lync features in a meeting – like file distribution, application & desktop sharing, viewing & presenting powerpoint slides, meeting wide IM etc.
So, if you are after Lync Web App for external users (similar to CWA in OCS), go integrate your Lync with Exchange 2010 OWA. There is no “CWA like” app in Lync 2010.