Since COVID-19 forced so many to work from home instead of remaining in the office, we’ve become accustomed to using video conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams to collaborate with coworkers, clients, and partners. With 25% of professional jobs set to be remote by the end of 2022, it’s easy to see how global downloads of video conferencing apps are 90% higher than they were before COVID-19 shut things down.
Many people jump onto a Teams conference call using VoIP from their mobile device or desktop computer audio system, but some need to call in from a landline. What then? Does Microsoft support PSTN calling in Teams? Take a look at how you can manage PSTN calling from Microsoft Teams, including your options for making the most of those calls.
What is PSTN?
PSTN stands for “Public Switched Telephone Network.” Chances are, this is what you imagine when you think of a traditional phone system: the same one that has been in use in homes and offices across the nation for approximately 100 years. A PSTN includes the physical telephone lines and cables that make up your local phone system as well as an extensive global network of satellites, switching centers, and cables that travel across the globe.
Related: Microsoft Teams SIP Trunk: The Glue That Connects Your Phone to Teams
Why You Need PSTN Calling for Microsoft Teams
In a Microsoft Teams call, the system defaults to allowing your invited guests the opportunity to click a link to join the meeting. That works great for people who are using cell phones or computer systems to connect the meeting, but around 37% of Americans still have landline phones at home, and an even higher percentage of businesses are still using landlines. Some of those business callers may simply not be able to click on a link, or they may prefer to be able to use their PSTN connection to join your meeting.
Your meeting attendees may also struggle with a number of problems that may make it difficult for them to connect to your Microsoft Teams meeting. They may struggle with:
- Poor cellular data connectivity
- Internet issues at the home office
- VoIP issues that prevent them from connecting
In order to provide attendees with multiple options for connecting to the meeting, and to avoid excluding invitees who may prefer to use PSTN options, you need to enable PSTN calling through Microsoft Teams.
Your Options for PSTN Calling in Teams
When you’re ready to enable PSTN calling in Teams, you may have several options that can make it easier for you to enable those vital calls and connect with other users with ease.
1. Use PSTN Connectivity Directly in Teams
Microsoft offers several options designed to make it as easy as possible to connect your Microsoft Teams phone system to your PSTN. You may choose to use a calling plan that uses Microsoft as your PSTN carrier or use operator connect to connect via your existing carrier to help manage your PSTN calling. Microsoft also notes that you can use a combination of options so that you can choose the one that works best for you in a given situation.
If you have purchased Office 365 E5, you may already have PSTN Audio Conferencing included as part of your package. You may also be able to add PSTN connectivity to your package. Pricing may depend on which plan you have with Microsoft and what features you already have.
Keep in mind that any attendees do not have to worry about Microsoft licensing for the meeting. However, the meeting host’s license may determine what level of connectivity you have.
2. Use Your Existing PSTN Carrier
Microsoft Teams encourages you to use your existing carrier through its Direct Connect program. Does your existing carrier participate in the Microsoft Direct Connect program? If so, they can manage both the PSTN calling services and Session Border Controllers, which can decrease your overall costs and make it easier for you to manage your platform.
3. Upgrade Your System for Better-Quality Calls
If you’re looking for the best possible option for connecting your Microsoft Teams calls to your PSTN lines, you may find that upgrading your system is the best option. A network provider can help boost your entire network, allowing you to accommodate all the users you want to bring in for your meetings.
Take a look at what an upgraded network provider may have to offer for your business. Your network provider can set up the Microsoft Teams licenses you need and the SIP trunks that will help enable cloud communications. As a result, you’ll have clearer, more reliable calls, no matter what type of network you use. Using a telecom network can offer a number of overall advantages to your calls.
- A cloud-based system can help enable your remote and hybrid workforce since your employees will be able to connect from wherever they are and take advantage of the full suite of calling features whether they’re in the office or out.
- You’ll get enterprise-grade voice capabilities that can keep your calls running smoothly from wherever you are. That may include call forwarding, the right messages to callers who try to call in during meetings, and streamlined communications, all in one place on your platform.
- You’ll get better overall uptime, including features that will help ensure that when you need your connectivity and services, they’re there for you to use.
- You can use a single source to manage all your locations around the world, which may make it easier to manage your phone system and ensure that every member of the team has access to the features they need at the same time.
Microsoft Teams was not designed to be an enterprise phone system. While it offers a number of communication options and controls, it may not offer the full suite of features you need to really upgrade your phone systems and maintain the highest possible level of customer satisfaction.
However, it is possible to connect an enterprise phone system with Teams so that your company can grow, keeping your people connected across devices and channels no matter where they work. As a result, you may feel much more confident about your overall communications, from meetings with vendors to conferences with customers who may need additional support.
Related: Microsoft Teams Calling Plans: Can You Do Better?
The Benefits an Enterprise Phone System can Bring to Teams
As great as Teams is for bringing people together virtually, the truth is, its functionality is often not enough. There are plenty of businesses that need both Microsoft Teams and traditional voice capabilities. PSTN calling is just one beneficial enterprise voice feature to add to Teams.
To avoid piecemealing various voice features onto the Microsoft Teams platform, many organizations are consolidating enterprise voice with Teams for a streamlined platform with greater flexibility and connectivity. By utilizing an enterprise phone system alongside your existing Teams platform, you can add a number of features that may help streamline communications, including:
- Advanced call routing and queues
- Intercom and paging capabilities
- Increased security
- SIP Trunk sharing and linking
- A contact center
- Messaging capabilities (SMS/MMS/IM)
- Telephony extensions
- And a whole host of other features that will make it easier to keep up with the ongoing demands of your business communications.
By upgrading to an enterprise phone system and connecting it with your Teams solution, you’ll get a better, more effective platform that will offer you comprehensive video, chat, and voice capability, all of which can quickly be scaled to meet the way your people work around the globe.
Ready to Upgrade Your System?
There are a number of solutions that can help you use PSTN calling in Teams. With BCM One, however, you’ll get an upgraded phone system with more features that will allow you to enhance all your business’s communications. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you upgrade all of your calling options and take advantage of full PSTN calling options in Teams.