Ernst Basler & Partner

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Ernst Basler & Partner

Resilient Voice Connectivity for a Global Multi-site Lync Deployment

Background

Ernst Basler & Partner (EBP - www.ebp.ch) is an independent engineering, planning and consulting company with a successful track record dating back to 1981 in Switzerland, Germany and abroad. Some 320 employees engaged in a range of different professional disciplines work in the company’s offices in Switzerland, Germany, Chile and Brazil. EBP contributes to sustainable development in a number of fields, including the natural and built environment, technology, the economy and society.

EBP was assisted in this project by system integrator, Baggenstos. Founded in 1925, A. Baggenstos & Co. (www.baggenstos.ch) is a family-owned business based in Switzerland. As a system integrator focusing on Microsoft solutions, the company designs, implements and operates the IT infrastructure of its large customer base that ranges from medium-sized businesses up to large enterprises.

Baggenstos’ core competencies are:

  • Client, server and storage systems
  • Virtualization (Hyper-V and VMware)
  • Messaging (Exchange, Lync)
  • System management (System Center)
  • Network access and security
  • Cloud services with Office 365

Baggenstos is a multiple Microsoft Gold Partner and AudioCodes Silver Partner, as well as being an HP Gold Preferred Partner.

Challenges

With its business rapidly expanding beyond Europe and into South America, EBP was looking for an efficient way to manage its communications infrastructure and reduce expenditure. The existing communications setup included a mix of different technologies from a variety of vendors (including Avaya, Siemens and Cisco). EBP’s plan was to migrate to an IP-based unified communications (UC) solution across all of its offices which would increase work efficiency, enable centralized system management and reduce training and communications costs. The solution needed to offer high quality voice communication with built-in redundancy mechanisms to ensure minimal service interruptions.

Solution

With its information and communications technology (ICT) strategy firmly based around Microsoft products, EBP’s natural choice for a UC platform was Microsoft Lync Server 2010. Microsoft Lync Server is a software-powered communications platform that unifies email, instant messaging, conferencing and voice communications, resulting in streamlined and improved business communications. Lync also offered extensive integration with other Microsoft solutions already deployed by EBP, including Office, Exchange Server and Active Directory.

For its voice connectivity solution, Baggenstos recommend EBP to select the AudioCodes Mediant 1000 platform. The Mediant 1000 is fully certified for interoperability with Microsoft Lync and supports a range of different functionalities including

  • media gateway for interconnection with legacy PBX equipment and the PSTN
  • enterprise session border controller (E-SBC) for interconnection with IP-PBXs, Lync and SIP trunks
  • survivable branch appliance (SBA) to ensure uninterrupted Lync services at remote offices

Ernst Basler Diagram

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In addition to the technological benefits of AudioCodes’ solutions, the advantage of working with a global equipment vendor was also critical. As Othmar Frey, Sales Director at Baggenstos AG, explained, “As a local Swiss company, we knew we could fully rely on international support from AudioCodes. One of EBP’s requirements was that its voice infrastructure should be available 24x7. Thanks to AudioCodes’ global presence we can guarantee this level of service to the customer.”

EBP deployed one Mediant 1000 at each of its two data centers in Zurich in a redundant configuration. Through the Mediant 1000’s E-SBC functionality, EBP was able to connect its Lync platform securely and reliably to its global enterprise WAN to enable seamless interoffice calling. Each of the devices was also configured with E1 interfaces to connect to the legacy PBXs during the migration process and to the local PSTN. Analog devices (such as legacy phones and fax machines) were integrated into the system via analog ports on the Mediant 1000 devices and via MediaPack analog gateways.

In phase 2 of the deployment, EBP plans to install one Mediant 1000 SBA at each of the remote offices in Germany and South America. In addition to providing PSTN and SIP trunking connectivity, the SBA functionality will ensure that users at these remote offices continue to receive a subset of Lync services, including internal and external voice calls, when contact with the central Lync servers is lost.

The solution designed by Baggenstos laid particular emphasis on redundancy and resilience. In addition to the dual Mediant 1000 devices deployed in EBP’s data centers and the SBA functionality planned for the remote sites, a number of additional capabilities were built in to the network. As mentioned above, by default, calls between the different EBP offices worldwide are routed over the company’s international WAN. If the WAN link is unavailable, the Mediant 1000’s intelligent routing engine automatically redirects calls over the PSTN, thus ensuring no calls are lost in such circumstances. Furthermore, thanks to tight integration with Microsoft’s Active Directory, if the central Lync Servers are unavailable, AudioCodes devices are able to route calls automatically to EBP users’ mobile devices.

Results

With the assistance of Baggenstos, EBP was able to deploy its new Lync-based UC system and migrate its users smoothly and rapidly. The AudioCodes Mediant 1000 platforms deployed at its offices worldwide deliver reliable, secure and high quality voice connectivity for all of the company’s users.

With AudioCodes’ solution, EBP is benefitting from

  • A fully Lync-certified solution
  • Seamless connectivity and interoperability
  • Simplified management with the same platform deployed at all sites
  • Solution scalability and modularity
  • Resilience and redundancy at several different levels
  • Rapid and efficient support thanks to AudioCodes’ global presence

Commenting on the deployment, Hjalmar Heinrich, IT manager at EBP, said, “Our global communications capabilities have made huge advances since we deployed Microsoft Lync. Thanks to the AudioCodes hybrid gateways and SBCs, we have been able to ensure a high level of security and reliability for our internal and external voice communications with a solution that can meet our immediate and future needs.”