Going wireless with Skype for Business WITHOUT a dongle?

Frequent Contributor

Our mobile workers are going for minimalism which means a Surface Pro/Laptop/Book. So we got rid of the USB dongle for the external mouse and use Bluetooth but our Skype for Business certified over-the-ear headsets (at the moment Jabra Evolve) still require a USB dongle (which looks awful, break and get lost). Looking at the certified SfB BT headsets - Jabra, Sennheiser, Logitech, Plantronics - all of them seem to have USB dongles.:

 

Image result for usb dongle plantronics

 

I suspect why - it’s probably required to control the SfB client from the headset and without the dongle and ”native Bluetooth” only, this is not possible. Is that really so and can we ever expect any certified SfB BT headsets without a dongle? Anyone with experience regarding this - maybe it works great ”anyway” with native BT? Otherwise, we might just go back to headsets with cable :)

5 Replies

If the Bluetooth headset is AVRCP capable and the computer is running windows 10 creators update (which I believe baked AVRCP into windows) then I believe it should work. I have certainly been able to answer SfB calls by pressing a button on my Bluetooth headset. Unfortunately I broke the headset so I don't have one to hand to double check but I am 95% certain that for answering an incoming call and controlling call volume it worked fine.  Anyway, your starting point is to look up AVRCP.

 

I agree with you re the benefit of using a Bluetooth device - less to get tangled up, snagged or broken (unless like me you sit on the headset). You may find that SfB reports poor audio quality. This is because Bluetooth uses a lower bit rate but if it is subjectively ok for you then just ignore the warning - I couldn't really tell the difference between Bluetooth and wired and the benefits of Bluetooth outweighed the (theoretical) audio quality issue.

As far as i know is the main reason that Bluetooth on a laptop is for data transfers and not for real time audio due to low bit rates.

You are correct that Bluetooth has a relatively low bit-rate for audio. However, that is not specific to lap-tops. The bit-rate will be the same whether the device is a lap top or a phone. There is an enhanced bit rate option but it requires a chip from a specific manufacturer and it is not particularly widely implemented. Some of these dongles may implement it or they may not use Bluetooth at all. Ultimately, if the audio quality is subjectively ok for your application it will work.  Given that a wired headset is a pretty cheap device, the best solution is probably using the computer's internal Bluetooth for convenience and general situations, with a wired headset for when there is a situation when the requirement for audio quality trumps convenience.  If I was settling down for a 2 hour teleconference with clients  I would use wired.  If I am going to make a few quick calls with colleagues while generally doing other stuff around the office I would use Bluetooth.  Unfortunately, I as i understand it, Bluetooth 5 does nothing to improve audio quality - but I am not 100 % certain about that. 

So what you guys are saying is that we should be able to pair the headset with the internal built-in BT and get almost the same audio quality but we might miss some functionality of the buttons (like volume/mute/answer/disconnect etc)?

Yes re the audio quality. - Re the functionality. If the specific headset you are using has AVRCP capability then you should be able to get the same (or at least most of) the functionality. - answer incoming call, hangup, volume control etc.  Mute - not so sure about.  Can you walk over to the other side of the room and pick up an incoming call without having to run back to your desk - absolutely.