Microsoft Teams Certified SBC Vendors – Defined
Microsoft partners with selected Session Border Controllers (SBC) vendors to certify that their SBCs work with Direct Routing. According to Microsoft, the purpose of having a relationship with a Microsoft Teams Certified SBC is to:
- Jointly work with the SIP interconnection protocols
- Perform intense tests using a third-party lab – only devices that pass the test are certified
- Run daily tests with all certified devices in production and pre-production environments. Validating the devices in pre-production environments guarantees that new versions of Direct Routing code in the cloud will work with certified SBCs.
- Establish a joint support process with the SBC vendors
Companies who want to utilize Microsoft Phone System Direct Routing to connect a supported, customer-provided SBC to Microsoft Phone System will be able to configure on-premises Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) connectivity with Microsoft Teams client. Direct Routing enables a direct connection between the supported SBC and the Microsoft Cloud.
The Value of Direct Routing
Direct Routing is an important feature, particularly in the coming months as Microsoft will be retiring Skype for Business Online. On-premise telephone networks will need Direct Routing to connect to Microsoft Teams as the preferred alternative. The SBC allows companies to connect almost any telephony trunk of interconnect with third-party PSTN equipment. Microsoft says Direct Routing will enable users to use virtually any PSTN trunk with Microsoft Phone System and configure interoperability between customer-owned telephony equipment, such as a third-party private branch exchange (PBX), analog devices, and Microsoft Phone System.
Being able to connect Microsoft Teams to your phone system is important because Microsoft Teams, on its own, is limited in its functionality. Many users, particularly businesses and schools, realize that after using Microsoft Teams for a while, it lacks some of the enterprise functionality they once had. Yes, it is great for video conferencing and team collaboration, but you may also need a phone system that includes queuing, telephony extensions, and advanced call routing, just to name a few enterprise calling features. Microsoft Teams doesn’t provide this functionality, but it can with Direct Routing.
How a Microsoft Teams Certified SBC Vendor Can Help
Deploying Direct Routing can be complicated, requiring thoughtful planning, infrastructure expertise, and knowledgeable licensing management. Partnering with a Microsoft Teams Certified SBC vendor can help lessen the burden and ensure your implementation goes smoothly. They will have team members skilled with Microsoft products and networks to take care of firewalls, routers, licensing and troubleshooting so you can focus on your organization instead of its networking requirements.
But perhaps the greatest benefit of working with the right Microsoft Teams Certified SBC vendor is that they should be able to provide not only the upgrade to Microsoft Teams but also enhance your instance of Microsoft Teams with enterprise-class voice features you, your employees, and your incoming callers are used to. With a more robust unified voice and collaboration platform, you have a completely integrated phone system that is governed by the robust security measures that support your IT infrastructure. This means your network is integrated, managed, monitored and supported the same way for greater efficiency, security and peace of mind.
Voice Enabled Microsoft Teams During a Pandemic
The push to transition to Microsoft Teams is, in part, due to the limited life expectancy of Skype for Business Online, but there is a reason for Microsoft retiring this version of Skype on July 31, 2021. Microsoft says that while Skype for Business Online has been a valuable tool for people around the world for years, newer and more advanced technologies deliver greater functionality and security. Instead of trying to retrofit Skype for Business Online with this new capacity, Microsoft decided it would be better to develop an entirely new platform, Microsoft Teams. “Teams isn’t just an upgrade for Skype for Business Online,” says Microsoft. “It’s a powerful tool that enables companies, schools, and organizations to become more agile and improve the efficiency of key workflows.”
Microsoft made this announcement back in July 2019. Perhaps it was prophetic, but since COVID-19 dominated our lives, we’ve needed that agility more than ever before. People are working and learning in new ways – ways we never could have foreseen. Microsoft Teams has been embraced as a useful necessity to virtually connect students to schools, employees to companies, companies to stakeholders and clients, and so on. Chat, video, calling, document collaboration, and application integration has proven critical to keep schools and businesses running as smoothly as possible, particularly as we are all so dispersed because of the pandemic.
Instead of being crippled by stay-at-home orders and device requirements, organizations have been able to push forward with Microsoft Teams on any connected device of their choosing – computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Direct Routing helps organizations save money as well. For instance, Microsoft calling plans are more expensive and limited. Direct Routing allows you to integrate your existing phone systems into the Teams platform, no matter which type of phone system you currently have. This allows you to keep your existing phone system instead of replacing it. By simply upgrading it with Microsoft Teams and other applications, you get a robust and consolidated communications and collaboration platform.
A Microsoft Teams Certified SBC vendor will help you with the integrations that turn your basic phone system into a powerful network that adapts to the new ways your people are working. Whether they are in a physical office, working from home, on the road, or in a coffee house, your employees can stay connected with each other, customers, partners, vendors, and management. For schools, administrators, teachers and staff have a streamlined way to work together to deliver the best quality instruction to students as possible – all in a secure environment.
This flexibility and mobility has proven to be essential in today’s uncertain world. Instead of businesses and schools shutting down for months on end, they have been able to leverage Microsoft Teams with their existing phone system for a more complete system.