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3 Scenarios for Your Journey to Microsoft Teams Direct Routing

3 Scenarios for Your Journey to Microsoft Teams Direct Routing

With all the hype around Microsoft Teams and your Enterprise Voice (EV) strategy, it can be difficult to determine the right steps to ensure a seamless transition to Microsoft Teams for your Skype for Business users. In this article I aim to clear up some of the unknowns to help you on your journey to Microsoft Teams Direct Routing, giving you alternatives to complement or replace Microsoft calling plans.

Of course, every journey is unique as every organization starts from a different place and has different requirements. You may currently have an on-premises deployment of Skype for Business Server 2015/2019, use Office 365 Skype for Business Online or a mix of both (Hybrid). You may also have deployments of cloud connector edition (CCE) or use Microsoft calling plans. All these possibilities can be very confusing.

Let’s try to simplify by breaking it down into 3 main scenarios:

  1. Users are all homed on Skype for Business 2015/2019 server (on-premises) and use enterprise voice (EV) via on-premises PSTN connectivity.
  1. Users are using Skype for Business 2015/2019 server in a hybrid configuration with Skype for Business Online using On-Premise Call Handling (OPCH) or Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) via on-premises PSTN connectivity.
  1. Users are using Skype for Business Online only with Enterprise Voice using Microsoft calling plans.

That may seem straightforward but what if in the above three scenarios you also need to retain a connection to the local PBX estate or add support for Contact center or analog endpoints?  To answer these questions, you first need to ensure that the Session Border Controllers (SBCs) are qualified to be used for Microsoft Teams Direct Routing. You can find these here. You also need to ensure the necessary Office 365 licensing is in place for E1, E3 or E5 with Phone system to use Microsoft Teams Direct Routing.

Let’s look at each scenario in more detail and go through the steps necessary to move to Microsoft Teams Direct Routing.

 

Scenario 1: Skype for Business Server On-Premises

 

Moving to Microsoft Teams Direct Routing from Skype for Business Server On-Premises

 

If you are currently in scenario 1 as described above and have qualified SBCs, then it’s a case of pairing up the existing on-premises SBCs with Microsoft Teams and moving users online, then assigning the correct Teams coexistence mode and policy.

High-level steps:

  • Move to Hybrid with Skype for Business online and move users.
  • Pair existing on-premises SBCs with Microsoft Teams.
  • Assign Teams coexistence and upgrade modes
  • Create Microsoft Teams Voice Routing and route calls for Microsoft Teams users. All other calls go to/from Skype for Business on-premise remaining users.
  • Use SBCs to support interop between contact center, analog devices and the legacy PBX estate during the migration to Microsoft Teams.
  • Decommission the on-premises Skype for Business servers.

 

Scenario 2: Skype for Business Hybrid OPCH/CCE

 

Moving to Microsoft Teams Direct Routing from Skype for Business Hybrid OPCH, CCE

 

For scenario 2, users are already on Skype for Business Online but are using on-premises PSTN connectivity via On Premises Call handling (OPCH) or CCE.

High-level steps:

  • Pair existing on-premises qualified SBCs with Microsoft Teams.
  • Assign Teams coexistence and upgrade modes
  • Create Microsoft Teams Voice Routing, and route calls for Teams users. All other calls go to/from remaining Skype for Business on-premise/CCE users.
  • Use SBCs to support interop between contact center, analog devices and the legacy PBX estate during the migration to Microsoft Teams.
  • Decommission the on-premises Skype for Business servers/CCE.

*Note CCE cannot be deployed alongside Skype for Business on-premises so this is not a supported scenario to consider.

 

Scenario 3: Skype for Business Online with Calling Plan

For scenario 3, users are already using Skype for Business Online with Microsoft Calling Plans for PSTN connectivity.  Bring your own (BYO) PSTN connectivity does currently not exist. Hence, there is no calling flexibility in countries currently not supported by Microsoft.

 

Moving to Microsoft Teams Direct Routing from Skype for Business Online with Calling Plan

 

High-level steps:

  • Introduce on premises qualified SBCs with Microsoft Teams for calling plan flexibility in countries Microsoft does not support or may be regulated, i.e. India
  • Assign Teams coexistence and upgrade modes
  • Create Microsoft Teams Voice Routing, and route calls for Teams users.
  • Skype for Business Online users can still use calling plan.
  • Use SBCs to support interop between contact center, analog devices and the legacy PBX estate during the migration to Microsoft Teams.
  • Teams users can use a combination of Microsoft Calling Plan and BYO PSTN connectivity (can be used together as NOT mutually exclusive).

 

Options for SBCs, PSTN Connectivity Locations, and Coexistence modes

Of course, the options for where to locate the SBCs can be a difficult decision depending on your specific requirements. There may be compelling reasons to keep them on your environment due to supporting legacy PBX estates, regulated countries, analog endpoints or contractual PSTN connectivity.

Assuming that none of this is the case, the SBCs and PSTN connectivity can be anywhere these days, especially when using SIP trunks. This opens up the world of hosted direct routing where SBCs are located in Arkadin datacenters with Arkadin calling plans.  Another popular option now is hosting virtual qualified SBCs in Azure and Amazon Web services (AWS) public clouds with SIP trunking again this means no equipment is needed on-premises at all.

Coexistence modes currently include Islands mode, Skype for Business with Teams collaboration, Skype for Business with Teams collaboration and meetings, Teams only mode and Skype for Business only mode.

Media Bypass will soon be supported for internal and external users to allow media traffic to flow directly to SBCs rather than via O365 datacenters.’

 

Prerequisites

The above-listed steps will help you with the technical deployment of Microsoft Teams Direct Routing. It is, however, essential to note that there are a number of planning, design and configuration steps you need to complete as prerequisites before starting to implement these steps.

These prerequisites include infrastructure requirements, licensing, network and firewall configuration, tenant level administration, quality of service and media flow design to name a few.  They are essential elements you must consider when moving to Microsoft Teams Direct RoutingMicrosoft Teams Direct Routing. And then there’s, of course, the whole non-technical side of the deployment which is all about ensuring that your users properly adopt and use the new technology and all its new features correctly. For more information on this, check our blog on Microsoft Teams Deployment – Tips, Tricks and Lessons Learned.

If you need help with any of these steps before or during the deployment, contact our expert teams.

 

Do you have any questions or would like to get a full overview of our Microsoft Teams Direct Routing offer? Then join us for our upcoming webinar on Microsoft Teams Cloud Voice:

Webinar: Unleash Microsoft Teams with Cloud Voice

About the author

Darren Ellis is a Microsoft UC Solutions Architect at Arkadin with focus on global Skype for Business, Office365, and Microsoft Teams voice solutions. He has worked for several Microsoft gold partners over the past 20 years and has a keen eye and passion for technology. Darren is based in Shropshire, UK.

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