Microsoft Teams – A Masergy Guide

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration and communication platform created by Microsoft. It serves as just one component in the broader set of Microsoft 365 products. With the ability to chat, meet, call, and collaborate, users are able to stay connected and productive no matter where they are or what device they are using. Key features include:

How does Microsoft Teams work?

Microsoft Teams works by bringing together all the disparate tools employees use to communicate into one application experience. This is beneficial because work doesn’t have to be spread across a plethora of applications, with each individual tool designed by a different provider and none of them working in sync. Take for instance the different applications that can be used for your phone, email, instant messaging, and video conferencing. All those tools work together in one place, making it easier and faster for users to connect with people and find the information they need to do business.

But this tool consolidation reaches even farther.

Companies that consider themselves a “Microsoft shop,” enjoy the simplicity of how Microsoft Teams works. The solution is a built-in capability that sits together with all Office 365 apps (including Office and Groups) into one place for quick and easy access.

This is an efficiency that equates to avoiding hours of integration and configuration for clients and their IT teams. This holistic system of business services is precisely what Microsoft considers one of its biggest selling points, and the developers continue to expand integration, widening the scope of the solution. This helps explain why over 100 million people use Microsoft Teams for enterprise collaboration.

What are the network requirements for Microsoft Teams?

When it comes to the real-time communication tools, the IT network must deliver extremely high performance in order to keep VoIP calls and video conferences from turning into digital mush. Microsoft Teams is sensitive to network latency and jitter. Thus, the network is arguably the single most important supporting system behind a solution like Microsoft Teams. Without reliable connectivity, calls and video conferencing are of no practical value.

Consider these requirements for your network service supporting Microsoft Teams:

What is the advantage of pairing SD-WAN
with Microsoft Teams?

Unfortunately, many companies and their enterprise networks are not optimized to deliver the performance and reliability required to support Microsoft Teams. This is where Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SD-WAN) comes in. It can help solve that problem. Learn more about SD-WAN.

IT leaders are rapidly adopting SD-WAN technologies, because of its ability to virtualize underlying network services and to build enterprise-grade WANs using both public (Internet) connectivity and private WAN connectivity. In fact, Nemertes’ research shows that SD-WAN use correlates with successful unified communications deployments, giving investors improved network resilience and reduced network operating costs.

Taking an integrated approach offers these unique advantages:

What is a Microsoft Teams Calling Plan?

As a robust collaboration platform, Microsoft Teams can act as your corporate phone service, replacing your company’s existing private branch exchange (PBX) telephone system. A calling plan for Microsoft Teams empowers users to take and make calls from a desk phone or internet-connected device all within the Microsoft Teams application.

When IT leaders want to leverage Microsoft Teams as their telephony service, it requires a PSTN (public switched telephone network) service. Clients have two choices for connecting to the PSTN:

  1. Microsoft Teams Calling Plan which provides blocks of local and long-distance calling minutes for a fixed price, with Microsoft provisioning phone numbers. PSTN is considered an add-on to each individual user with a per person, per month pricing structure.
  2. Direct Routing in which customers (and/or their partners) bring their own SIP trunking services to connect Teams to the PSTN, with the customer/partner maintaining control over their phone numbers.
    Originally released in June 2018, Direct Routing features enable customers to use their existing telephony infrastructure with Teams, creating a “full voice service” when combined with Microsoft’s Phone System for Office 365.

According to studies from Nemertes Research, “larger organizations, as well as those planning deployments in 2021, are more likely to be using or evaluating Direct Routing thanks to its ability to support existing SIP trunking contracts, and to provide lower PSTN access costs compared to the Calling Plan.”

How does Masergy integrate with Microsoft Teams?

For those interested in using Microsoft Teams as their corporate phone system, Masergy offers a seamlessly integrated PSTN solution for Microsoft Teams. Clients prefer Masergy’s Calling for Microsoft Teams solution because it not only saves them money when compared to purchasing the service directly from Microsoft, it also helps them widen the voice service availability to more countries across the globe.

Clients have two choices for connecting to the PSTN–purchase a calling plan direct from Microsoft, called a “Microsoft Teams Calling Plan” or bring their own SIP trunking services, called a “Direct Routing” option. (These two options are explained in depth in the question above.)

Masergy is a Microsoft Teams Direct Routing provider, meaning we help companies use the “Direct Routing” option, putting everything they need in one seamless solution.

Why clients choose Masergy solution over the Microsoft Teams Calling Plan

  • Pay-for-Use Model: Clients pay for what they use, which can help right-size the calling plan. SIP Trunking allows your business to deploy and pay for only the concurrent call paths you need. No new on-premise hardware is required. With the Teams Calling Plan, licenses are sold by DID and international service is an additional per person/per month fee. These facts alone push some customers to opt for the Direct Routing alternative.
  • Global Service: Masergy’s service offers PSTN, SIP trunking, and in-country calling in 25+ countries. Clients enjoy private, encrypted connectivity with local dialing in all 25 countries. It’s a wide-reaching service designed to make international, long-distance calls cost effective. Global enterprises needing service all across the globe will need to ensure all their needs can be met. Some IT leaders may find the Teams Calling Plan simply can’t go where they need it to.
  • Security: Security is a built-in feature with encrypted SIP trunks. Masergy’s encrypted SIP trunks into Microsoft provide call paths for all inbound/outbound calls over the PSTN.
  • Quality Control: Service is delivered through Masergy’s software-defined network, which was purpose-built for VoIP and video communications. Moreover, deep performance analytics are available in Masergy’s UCaaS Analyst dashboard. This helps IT leaders:
    • Gain valuable insight and drive strategic business planning with detailed analytics
    • Optimize viewing, controlling, and reporting with highly customized dashboard
    • Get visibility into diagnostics that demonstrate service level quality and performance
    • Manage, filter, and analyze data into actionable insights to reduce time to resolution for support teams

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