This post is part of the overall MS-700 Exam Study Guide. Links to each topic as they are posted can be found here.
Teams calling is becoming a very popular option for organizations who wish to consolidate their communication platforms into a single pane. It is also very flexible for how it voice can be integrated into an existing Teams deployment.
- Evaluate when to use Calling Plan versus Direct Routing
- Plan and configure emergency services calling policies
- Add, change, or remove an emergency address for your organization
Evaluate when to use Calling Plan versus Direct Routing
Calling Plans and Direct Routing are both valid ways to configure Teams calling. When to use each is based on your individual circumstances. Before delving into this decision, it’s important to understand the concepts associated with each solution.
Calling Plans allow organizations to completely retire any legacy PBX solution and leverage Microsoft for PSTN connectivity. Calling Plans are purchased from Microsoft and come in three forms: Domestic, International and Domestic & International. When calling plans are purchased, a pool of minutes are provided. For example, an organization purchasing 10 Calling Plan licenses, each providing 120 Domestic minutes (minutes vary depending on the Calling Plan SKU) are provisioned in the tenant. This provides a total of 1,200 domestic minutes and these minutes are shared by each user within the same region assigned a calling plan license.
The benefits of Calling Plans are:
- No requirement for third-party provider or hardware
- Quick to set up
- Easy management via the Teams Admin Center
- Existing phone numbers can be ported to Microsoft
The drawbacks of Calling Plans are:
- Configuration and reporting is limited to only what is supported in Teams
- Prepaid minute bundles may not suit all organizations
- Can end up costing more than Direct Routing
- The countries supported by calling plans are limited
A Direct Routing configuration allows you to leverage your own telephony provider. In this scenario you only require Phone System licenses from Microsoft and calling is billed through your own carrier. To connect to Microsoft Teams at least one Session Border Controller (SBC) is required. This can be a virtual or physical appliance hosted either in your environment or by a provider.
The benefits of Direct Routing are:
- Configuration and Reporting are flexible and extendible with third-party providers
- Changes on your own SBC can be quicker and easier
- Can often be cheaper
- No requirement to port numbers to Microsoft
- Not bound by Microsoft supported countries for calling plans
The drawbacks of Direct Routing are:
- More complex to configure
- Another provider to pay / manage
- You need to maintain or pay for SBC appliances which can be complex
- Requires PowerShell knowledge for many configurations
For many organizations with simple requirements, Calling Policies will do the job just fine and simplify management. Where more flexibility and integration upstream is required though, Direct Routing can facilitate a lot more use cases, albeit with more complexity in the setup and management.
Plan and configure emergency services calling policies
Depending on your location, there are various regulations to comply with when configuring emergency calling in Microsoft Teams. To help with this, there are a number of components available in Teams:
- Emergency Services Calling Policies
- Emergency Services Call Routing Policies
- Dynamic Emergency Calling
- Emergency Locations
The scope of this exam only covers Emergency Services Calling Policies but it’s worth knowing the function of each component.
Emergency Services Calling Policies allow admins to define what happens when someone in the organization needs to make an emergency call. For instance, if a user calls emergency services from one of the corporate offices, we may want to notify the local security contact so they can assist.
Emergency Services Call Routing Policies allow admins to configure call routing for emergency calls when Direct Routing is in place. If you have multiple locations, you want to ensure an emergency call is routed to the correct SBC by linking to a PSTN Usage Record.
Dynamic Emergency Calling allows for the transmission of location information to provide the Teams client location for emergency service calls.
Emergency Services Calling Policies are configured from the Teams Admin Center (TAC) under Voice -> Emergency Policies. From here, click Add to create a new Emergency Services Calling Policy. There aren’t too many configuration options to consider when creating an Emergency Services Calling Policy, the details of the options are detailed in Table 1.
|Name||A name for the emergency services calling policy|
|Description||A description for the emergency services calling policy|
|External location lookup mode||Enable this setting to allow users to configure their own emergency address when outside of corporate networks|
|Notification mode||Controls how people in the organization are notified in the event an emergency call is made, the options are:|
– Send notification only: Emergency notification users / groups will get a Teams message when an emergency call is made
– Conferenced in muted and unable to unmute: Users / Groups will get a Teams message and can listen to the call but are not able to participate
– Conferenced in muted but are able to unmute: Users / Groups will get a Teams message and can listen to the call and unmute to participate if required
|Emergency service disclaimer||A custom disclaimer to display to users|
|Numbers to dial for emergency calls notifications||Add numbers which should be notified of emergency calls. not applicable when the notification mode is set to Send Notification Only|
|Users and groups for emergency calls notifications||Select users / groups which should be notified of emergency calls|
Add, change, or remove an emergency address for your organization
Emergency addresses are passed by phone systems to emergency responders (depending on country regulations) to provide a location for the caller. Emergency Addresses are found under Locations -> Emergency Addresses. From here, select Add to add your first emergency address. Each emergency address requires a name, country / region, address, organization name and optionally an Emergency Location Identification Number (ELIN) for the location as shown in Figure 2. The address can be looked up on Bing Maps or entered manually if not found.
Emergency addresses are linked to numbers (Figure 3) ordered to provide a base location for that number (which may be influenced if Dynamic Emergency Services Calling is enabled).
Emergency Addresses can be viewed, modified or deleted from the Emergency Addresses page as shown in Figure 4.
In this article We got started with Phone Numbers and Calling in Microsoft Teams. In Part 2 we will diver deeper into provisioning, managing and assigning numbers.