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Best Practices for Direct Routing and E911 for Microsoft Teams

At Enterprise Connect 2020, Lauren Brockman (Director of Product Management, Bandwidth) outlined Bandwidth’s best practices for direct routing and Enhanced 911 (E911) with Microsoft Teams. Since Microsoft’s move into the telephony space through Teams, organizations wanting to leverage their Microsoft 365 licenses are wondering how to best use Teams for all communications. Brockman recommends a four-step plan:

  1. Perform an infrastructure audit and plan for the migration.
  2. Configure your session border controller (SBC) for direct routing and E911.
  3. Test your session initiation protocol (SIP) and E911.
  4. Create migration cohorts and a rollback plan.

The infrastructure audit and checklist Bandwidth offers covers action items that are commonly missed, including:

  • Ensuring the organization has the appropriate licenses for Teams telephony (E5 or the audioconferencing add-on for E3/E1).
  • Establishing which fully qualified domain name(s) you wish to route traffic through. It’s important to check whether you have certificates for these domains as well.
  • Verifying that your SBC is certified by Microsoft.
  • Performing an inventory of your users and phone numbers.
  • Mapping your interactive voice response (IVR) call flows.
  • Mapping your network topology.

When this checklist is completed, the next step is to configure your SBC. An oft-overlooked aspect of this configuration is determining and adding a domain name system (DNS) provider. Adding your domain(s) before you add users will ensure you do not have to set them up twice.

Once the SBC is configured, test your SIP and E911 connectivity. This includes testing inbound and outbound calls, putting calls on hold, navigating IVR, and transferring calls. Testing 911 calls is trickier. Ask your SBC provider if they have an option to “trick” Teams into thinking it’s performing a 911 call to test it. Bandwidth, for instance, has a 933 test.

Finally, engage in a phased rollout and socialization of Teams telephony, leaving customer-facing and infrastructure-critical groups until last.

For further information, watch the session Pro Tips for Direct Routing and E911 for Teams: Accelerate Your Migration (available online through to December 31, 2020, at Enterprise Connect 2020).

Our Take

While Teams is not yet mature enough to be a market leader in the cloud-based telephony space, organizations should still determine whether Teams is a legitimate option to shortlist. If it is, not having to find and integrate a new UCaaS vendor may save the organization significant costs.

Info-Tech’s Microsoft Teams Cookbook offers an overview of how to implement Teams’ telephony solution and expands on the steps Brockman discussed in Bandwidth’s session. While Teams may be an option for saving costs on telephony, organizations should be wary about where other costs lie with using Teams. In particular, consider the costs of calling plan licenses, SBC installation, and setting up communications credits.

Source: Info-Tech's Microsoft Teams Cookbook. Accessed September 10, 2020.

The MicrosoftTeams Cookbook also expands on the kind of socialization and adoption plans needed for Teams. For determining strategies for this, schedule a call with an Info-Tech analyst to help guide you on which best practices will work for your organization.

Source: Info-Tech's Microsoft Teams Cookbook. Accessed September 10, 2020.

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