Understanding Neat and Microsoft Pairing on Neat devices

Last updated on March 18, 2022

If you have set up a Neat device in your environment, you would have been asked to ‘pair’ it with another device or enter a Microsoft Teams device code during the installation phase. This article aims to answer some of the basic questions around pairing and more.

1.0 What is pairing?

In simple terms, pairing is a process that allows two devices to be aware of each other’s existence and perform a set of tasks.

When it comes to Neat devices, we have two types or ‘levels’ of pairing. But before that, we need to understand a bit more about the software that runs on Neat devices.

Neat has partnered with Microsoft to run Microsoft Teams Rooms for Android (MTRoA) software on top of Neat firmware. It is possible to update both ‘Neat’ firmware or ‘Microsoft Teams software’ separately on a Neat device.

Broadly speaking, there are two parts to the software package:

  • The Neat firmware, by the Neat team, controls all Neat specific features, settings and hardware elements of the device. Each Neat device runs its own type of Neat firmware (e.g. prefixed as ‘NFB1’ (Bar), ‘NFA1’ (Pad) and ‘NFC1’ (Board)).
  • The Microsoft Teams Room software, by Microsoft, controls all Teams specific features. The Neat Pad runs either the Center of Room (CoR) console or Teams panel software and the remainder of Neat devices run the Microsoft Teams Room for Android (MTRoA) software.

The two levels of pairing therefore are:

  • Neat level pairing: This occurs between two Neat devices’ during the initial out of box setup. This is currently done between a Neat Bar/Bar Pro and a Neat Pad.
  • Microsoft Teams Rooms pairing: This occurs between two Neat devices after launching the Teams software. The Neat Bar, Bar Pro, and Board will run as Microsoft Teams Room for Android (MTRoA) devices and the Neat Pad will run as the Center of Room (CoR) console or Teams panel.

2.0 Neat Bar/Bar Pro and Neat Pad

2.1 Neat level pairing: Neat Pad and Neat Bar/Bar Pro

Note: The Neat level pairing only happens between a Neat Bar/Bar Pro and a Neat Pad.

When you first set up a Neat Bar or Bar Pro, you need to drive the installation from a Neat Pad (e.g. ‘Choose setup’ -> Setup Neat Bar with a Controller). During this process, the Neat Pad will ask you to select and pair with your Neat Bar or Bar Pro. This is known as ‘Neat level pairing’ between the Bar/Bar Pro and the corresponding Pad. This allows you to control all Neat-level settings of the Bar/Bar Pro through your Neat Pad (e.g. network, video options, audio options, reset/restart etc.).

Successful Neat level pairing between Bar/Bar Pro and Pad will mean the following:

  • Pad and Bar/Bar Pro are able to discover each other (and maintain pairing) using the
    multicast DNS, mDNS, protocol. These multicast packets need to travel between the two devices at all times. You will need to make sure the Pad and Bar/Bar Pro are on the same subnet and mDNS is enabled on your network. For more information, visit our Network and Firewall requirements for Neat devices article.
  • During initial discovery/setup, Pad and Bar/Bar Pro will also communicate over IP address on TCP ports 46000 and 46001. Once setup is complete, the Neat firmware will send encrypted communication over TCP port 8443.
  • For proper operation, Pad and Bar/Bar Pro need to maintain Neat level pairing at all times. You can find the Pairing status at the top of your Neat Pad’s System Settings.

2.2 Teams level pairing: Neat Pad and Neat Bar/Bar Pro

Once you have successfully paired the Neat Bar or Bar Pro with a Neat Pad at the Neat level, the Bar/Bar Pro and Pad will launch their respective Teams Rooms software. In order to operate as a single Teams Room device, the two devices will now need to pair at the Teams level.

Successful Teams level pairing between a Bar/Bar Pro and Pad will mean the following:

  • The Teams software running on Pad and Bar are able to communicate over IP address on TCP port 9090.
  • The MTRoA software (running on Bar) and CoR console software (running on Pad) will both display a code to register each device to a Microsoft Teams account as shown below:
Figure 1: Microsoft Teams software running on Neat devices showing code to sign in to your Microsoft teams account.

Note: All Neat devices will show the following screen pictured above to register the device with a Microsoft teams account. The option to sign in directly on the device instead of using an activation code is available on all devices except Bar/Bar Pro. Only 3rd party touch screen external monitors attached to the Bar will have this option available to sign in directly on the Bar.

  • Once both devices have been successfully registered to a Microsoft Teams account via the device login page, the Pad will ask to you to select a device to begin the Teams level pairing process:
Figure 2: Neat Pad select device to pair with
  • Once the correct Neat Bar/Bar Pro has been selected a code will appear on the Neat Bar to enter on the Pad and complete Microsoft Teams level pairing between the Neat Pad and the Neat Bar:
Figure 3: Code displayed on Neat Bar (left) and enter code on Neat Pad (right)

2.3 Note: Additional Neat Pad(s) as Controller or Scheduling Display

Important Note: At the time of writing adding additional Neat Pads as extra Teams consoles is still in development and will be available in the near future.

You can add additional Neat Pad as an extra Teams Console (or Teams Panel) to your existing Neat Bar/Bar Pro and Pad combo. You will need to choose the ‘Add Neat Pad for room availability (or ‘Add Neat Pad for meeting control’) option when setting up this extra Pad and manually enter the pairing code/activation code.

Figure 4: Choosing Neat Pad setup Microsoft Teams panel for room availability (left) and Microsoft Teams console for meeting control (right)

This additional Neat Pad will ONLY pair at the Microsoft Teams level with your Neat Bar (unlike the first Neat Pad, which will need to have pairing intact at both Neat-level and Teams-level). Therefore, the additional Neat Pad will ONLY control the Teams Room options of your Neat Bar/Bar Pro (e.g. join/start meeting, mute/unmute, etc.) will have no access to the Neat firmware settings of the Bar/Bar Pro. You will not be able to change any Neat firmware level options for the Bar using this additional Neat Pad (e.g. auto-framing, remote access etc.). You will need to use the first Neat Pad paired.

Please see the following articles for more information:

3.0 Neat Board and Neat Pad

3.1 Neat level pairing: Neat Pad and Neat Board

No Neat level pairing happens between a Neat Board and a Neat Pad.

The Neat Board is a self-sufficient Microsoft Teams Room for Android (MTRoA) device with a touch screen and does not require a Neat Pad to be configured or operated. As a result, no Neat level pairing needs to occur between a Neat Pad and Neat Board.

3.2 Teams level pairing: Neat Pad and Neat Board

Important: At the time of writing Microsoft Teams pairing between Neat Pad and Neat Board is not currently supported. This feature will become available in the near future.

  • Often Neat Bar/Bar Pro or Board may be on wired/Ethernet network and Pad on Wi-Fi network. If both of these networks advertise the same subnet allowing mDNS and unrestricted IP routing, all should work fine. But often the wired and Wi-Fi network may be on different subnets or mDNS may be blocked (even for same subnet). This can lead to unsuccessful pairing at Neat and/or Teams levels.
  • If Neat-level pairing is lost between Neat Bar/Bar Pro and Neat Pad (but Teams-level pairing is intact), you will not get any error notification on the Microsoft Teams Room app running on your Neat Pad. However, if you enter Neat’s System Settings on your Pad, you will see an error message saying ‘Neat Bar: not connected’. In addition, you will notice some options (e.g. Audio/Video, Remote access) are either missing or not possible to turn on. The common solution is to factory reset both devices. However, if this doesn’t restore Neat-level pairing, you may need to factory reset both Bar/Bar Pro and Pad.
  • If Teams-level pairing is broken, you will get an error on your Neat Pad. It is wise to check the Neat-level pairing status by going into Neat’s System settings. If Neat-level pairing is intact, then usually a reboot should be sufficient to resolve the Teams Room pairing issues.

If you are unable to resolve your pairing issues, please reach out to Neat’s technical support team over email at support@neat.no.