April 22

The Importance of Direct Routing


The Importance of Direct Routing

Microsoft Teams does an awful lot, acting as the hub for communications and collaboration right out of the box. Meaning it is included in the cost of your Microsoft 365 license. Well, except for making and receiving voice calls to people outside your organization. That’s right, you can do chat, video calls internally, email and much more but to make or receive a ‘phone’ call, you need pay for additional licenses and plans. On its own, Microsoft Teams is essentially an internal communications system. To add external voice connectivity requires additional licenses and plans that can exceed the cost of a standalone, cloud-based phone system. If you do business all around the world, you may find the calling plans don’t cover some countries. What is the answer? Direct Routing.

Direct Routing

Microsoft introduced a capability called Direct Routing on June 28, 2018. The concept behind Direct Routing was to allow third party organizations to route or connect your Microsoft O365 instance, and therefore Teams, to the outside world – the PSTN. Microsoft no longer wanted to challenge the Telcos and spend time focusing on adding more value to Microsoft O365 and Teams and less time trying to become the worlds biggest Telco.

Microsoft requires that for a third party to bring PSTN connectivity to your Microsoft environment that it uses a Microsoft Certified Session Border Controller (SBC.) This doesn’t mean Microsoft provides the SBC but that it must have passed their rigorous testing.

SBCs and SIP Trunking

With a Session Border Controller in place SIP Trunks can be connected to your Microsoft Team. A lot of organizations are turning to SIP Trunking to displace their existing ‘physical’ analogue and digital trunks on their PBXs. They are less expensive, can be quickly scaled up (or down) and use your data network to connect – your Internet connection. [See our separate Blog article on SIP Trunking.]

SIP Trunks are generally priced per ‘channel’ and a customer can choose how many channels are needed to connect to their Microsoft Teams environment. Some providers will include an amount of Local and Long Distance (LD) calling. Ultimately you are paying for your PSTN connectivity on an organization level versus a user level – as in the case of Microsoft Teams Addon licenses, Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans.

Microsoft Teams as Your PBX

About the author

With experience leading engineering, product management, services, sales and marketing teams, Paul has a wealth of business knowledge that he applies in showing customer how to get the most out of their unified communications and contact centre solutions.

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