Find a more detailed explanation of Voice for Teams by reading our Brochure.  

Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular business collaboration tools in the world with more than 300 million monthly active users.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what Direct Routing in Microsoft Teams is, how it works, its benefits, and whether it is the right solution for your business.

What Is Teams Direct Routing? 

Teams Direct Routing refers to the process of routing Microsoft Teams to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). This enables organisations to connect their existing telephony infrastructure to Microsoft Teams, avoiding the need for costly replacements.

Using Microsoft Teams as a business telephony solution provides full PBX voice calling capabilities inside and outside your business. However, to enable this, businesses need a connection to and from the Phone System to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). This can be achieved via Microsoft Calling Plans or Direct Routing.

When you choose Direct Routing, you get Teams access to unique functionality that a Session Border Controller (SBC) enables, including traditional PBX features that aren’t available on a Microsoft Calling Plan deployment.

What Is An Example of Direct Routing In Teams?

If a business has a well-established relationship with a specific telephony provider and wants to continue using their services alongside Microsoft Teams, by implementing Direct Routing, they can seamlessly integrate their existing phone system with Teams, enabling employees to make and receive calls through the Teams application. This integration ensures a consistent and familiar calling experience while leveraging the collaboration features of Teams.

How Does It Work?

Direct Routing works by establishing a connection between your on-premises telephony infrastructure and Microsoft Teams. This connection is facilitated through Session Border Controllers (SBCs), which act as intermediaries between your telephony infrastructure and the Teams network. SBCs ensure the secure transmission of voice traffic between the two environments, enabling seamless communication.

When a user initiates a call using Microsoft Teams, the call is routed to the SBC, which then forwards it to the telephony provider. The provider processes the call and establishes the necessary connections, enabling the call to reach its destination. Similarly, incoming calls are routed through the telephony provider and directed to the user’s Teams client via the SBC.

SIP Trunks are another key component for connecting any PBX to the PSTN. However, some providers only offer an SBC without SIP Trunks. This means that businesses will have to source a separate supplier to provide SIP Trunks, increasing the complexity and cost. Fortunately, ARO’s Direct Routing service is designed with geographically resilient certified Microsoft Session Border Controllers and SIP Trunks in 2 ARO data centres.

What Are The Benefits Of Direct Routing?

Direct Routing offers several benefits for businesses using Microsoft Teams:

  • True Unified Communications: Through Direct Routing, Microsoft Teams is converted into a comprehensive business phone system with true unified communications capability. Not only can business’ make and receive calls from Teams to landlines and mobile but they also gain access to PBX features and traditional call features such as queues, call transfer, holding, and more.
  • Flexibility: With Direct Routing, businesses can choose their preferred telephony provider and continue existing contracts or take advantage of favorable rates. Businesses can continue to leverage advanced telephony features offered by their chosen provider, such as call center functionality or international calling options.
  • Cost Savings: By having everything on one system, businesses can avoid investing in other systems like a business PBX, file sharing system, and instant messaging platform.
  • Integration: Direct Routing allows for the seamless integration of Teams with existing phone systems, providing a unified communication experience for users.
  • Collaboration: With Direct Routing, Teams makes hybrid/remote working easier and means employees can communicate and collaborate seamlessly, no matter where they are located.

For organisations that already have a well-established telephony infrastructure, Direct Routing can be the ideal solution to enhance their communication capabilities using Microsoft Teams.

Is This The Right Solution For Your Business?

Before implementing Direct Routing, it’s important to evaluate whether it is the right solution for your business. Here are a few criteria to consider:

  • Telephony Provider Relationship: If your business already has an established relationship with a telephony provider and wants to continue using their services, Direct Routing allows you to do so.
  • Cost Analysis: Compare the costs of Microsoft’s Calling Plan with the licensing fees, maintenance, and integration expenses associated with Direct Routing to determine the most cost-effective option for your organisation.
  • Required Features: Assess your organisation’s specific telephony needs and make sure that your chosen telephony provider supports the required features and functionality.

Direct Routing for SMBs’

With Direct Routing, small businesses can avoid additional subscription fees and only pay for the actual usage by leveraging existing SIP trunks and infrastructure. It also supports scaling up or down based on user numbers and call volume, accommodating business growth without major infrastructure changes.

Direct Routing for Enterprise Organisations

For businesses with multiple locations, Direct Routing ensures seamless connectivity and consistent communication standards across all sites and allows businesses to manage telephony expenses effectively by using existing SIP trunks, negotiating better carrier rates, and avoiding high traditional calling plan costs.

Microsoft Calling Plan Vs Direct Routing With Teams

A connection to and from the Phone System to the PSTN can be achieved via Microsoft Calling Plans or Direct Routing. However, there are benefits and limitations to both.

Microsoft Calling Plans

Microsoft’s own cloud-based calling plans offer simplicity and requires minimal setup, making it an attractive option for businesses without complex telephony requirements. With this method, Microsoft is the PSTN carrier for all external and internal calls. However, Microsoft Calling Plans can lack support and certain advanced telephony features, restrict choice in telephony providers, and could be more costly in the long run depending on call volumes.

For example, international coverage is limited with support for only 16 countries currently and businesses operating in multiple countries would need separate calling plans for each country they operate in. Also, each plan offers a fixed bundle of calls, which can be expensive and limit flexibility.

Direct Routing

Direct Routing is for organisations that want to use Teams as a PBX but need greater flexibility than what is offered by Microsoft’s calling plans. With Direct Routing, businesses can choose their own provider, whereas Microsoft’s Calling Plans has strict limitations on carriers and locations. For any business that makes a considerable number of outbound/international calls, Direct Routing becomes the obvious choice.

In addition to internal communications, Direct Routing provides the necessary cloud infrastructure to route incoming and outgoing external calls to Microsoft Teams. This means there is less need for a separate PBX (and all associated costs) together with better integration between systems. Other benefits include broader geographic coverage, seamless integration with existing telephony infrastructure, and compatibility with advanced telephony features.

However, implementing Direct Routing may require more technical expertise and dedicated resources for setup and maintenance. Fortunately, we have our own in-house Microsoft accredited Direct Routing Platform to build dedicated, bespoke Teams solutions that will address the unique requirements of even the most complex enterprises. 

How To Set Up Direct Routing In Microsoft Teams

Setting up Direct Routing in Microsoft Teams involves several steps:

  1. Telephony Provider Configuration: Coordinate with your chosen telephony provider to ensure they support Teams Direct Routing and configure the necessary connections.
  2. Session Border Controller Deployment: Deploy Session Border Controllers to facilitate the secure transmission of voice traffic between your telephony infrastructure and Teams.
  3. Teams Configuration: Configure Teams with the necessary settings and policies to enable Direct Routing and associate it with your telephony provider.
  4. Testing & Validation: Conduct thorough testing and validation to ensure proper call routing, quality, and reliability.
  5. Ongoing Maintenance: Regularly monitor and maintain the Direct Routing setup to address any potential issues and ensure seamless communication.

Partnering with a reputable technology provider, such as ARO, can simplify and expedite the setup process by offering expert guidance and comprehensive support.

Microsoft Teams Voice Solutions With ARO

Microsoft accredited Direct Routing Platform, we can tailor Microsoft’s voice solutions to meet the unique requirements of even the most complex enterprises – along with ongoing maintenance, monitoring, and support. Beyond Direct Routing, we can also provide organisations with a full Microsoft Teams environment, connecting with all business applications for a unified user experience.

With Direct Routing, businesses can enjoy flexibility, cost savings, seamless integration, and compatibility with advanced telephony features. Plus, with proper planning and partnering with an experienced technology provider like ARO, you can successfully set up and take advantage of Direct Routing within Microsoft Teams to enhance your communication capabilities.

Contact ARO today to learn more about our services and how we can elevate your Microsoft Teams Voice Solutions.

Tel: 0333 240 9880