VoIP connectivity for a large Lync deployment in the public sector
The customer is a large public sector organization in Mexico with 80 offices throughout the country. With almost half of the company’s 4,000 employees based in 80 remote offices, regular communication and collaboration had been difficult for employees and customers because their e-mail messaging and telephony environments were not integrated. As a result, productivity suffered.
To overcome these problems, in late 2007, the company began the deployment of Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007, a unified communications solution offering integrated instant messaging, presence, and VoIP capabilities along with audio and video conferencing functionality.
By January 2009, the company had deployed the solution’s voice features to more than 2,000 employees, allowing the company to offer their workers streamlined communications and collaboration tools which they could use to reach colleagues faster and easier. As a result, employees and IT administrators became more productive and more efficient. The new solution also integrated well with the organization’s existing IT environment for easy deployment and management.
In 2011, the company took the decision to migrate its entire telecommunications infrastructure to Microsoft Lync. This meant upgrading the sites that already had OCS 2007 installed and replacing existing PBX equipment throughout the company’s offices. In addition to the software based Lync solution, a critical element of the new infrastructure was VoIP gateways that would provide interconnectivity with existing legacy telephony equipment as well as with the PSTN. Even though the company had deployed VoIP gateways in the initial OCS deployment, those devices were not compatible with the Lync environment and therefore needed to be replaced.
With a move to Lync and a fully centralized UC solution, it was very important that the many remote offices could be guaranteed to continue receiving service even if the connection with the servers at the company’s headquarters was interrupted. This required the deployment of Lync compliant Survivable Branch Appliances (SBAs) at each of the remote offices. The SBA application enables users to continue to benefit from most Lync services, including placing and receiving voice calls, in a remote branch during a Wide Area Network (WAN) failure.
The company worked with Unika, a leading Microsoft VSP in Mexico, to achieve the optimal solution for its needs. Unika recommended using AudioCodes products to provide the necessary VoIP interconnectivity, since they could be integrated with the previous versions of Office Communicator Server (OCS), and also with Lync Server. The wide range of AudioCodes’ gateways enabled Unika to create an ideal architecture to meet the different configuration needs of each of the customer’s sites.
Commenting on Unika’s selection of AudioCodes’ solutions for the project, the company’s CEO, Oscar Novoa, said, “AudioCodes’ innovative solutions for Lync are being used to deploy unified communications for enterprises and governmental institutions. The flexibility and simplicity offered by AudioCodes’ solutions are helping to expedite Lync’s adoption.”
The company deployed the AudioCodes Mediant 1000 media gateway in order to provide interconnectivity between the Lync environment and the PSTN. The Mediant 1000 is a modular media gateway device, fully certified by Microsoft, that supports a combination of analog and digital telephony interfaces, with a maximum capacity of 120 ports per unit. It resides in a compact 1U chassis and offers redundancy via dual Ethernet ports and dual power supplies.
In a Lync environment, the Mediant 1000 also functions as a SBA. In addition to the standard media gateway functionality, AudioCodes’ fully certified SBAs offer branch-office resiliency for up to 1000 users, in cases where the WAN connection with the main sites’ Lync servers is interrupted. With an SBA in place, branch office employees are still able to benefit from most Lync services when disconnected from the main site, including internal and external voice calls.
The AudioCodes solution provided modularity and redundancy at an affordable price for branch offices in a Microsoft UC environment. The modularity on TDM boards and redundant power supply found on the Mediant 1000 SBA were key factors in selecting AudioCodes over its competitors during the public bid process.
In 2011 the company acquired 10 AudioCodes’ gateways, which serve approximately 1000 users. In the coming months the company plans to grow this figure to 45 AudioCodes gateways, to serve 8,000 users.
By the beginning of 2012 the company had deployed Microsoft Lync at 10 of its offices, replacing the existing TDM PBX infrastructure. The company expects to deploy 45 more offices by the end of 2012, including the migration to Lync of its Headquarters and 12 initial branches where OCS 2007 (with Nortel Secure Router) had been installed.
After the deployment of these 10 offices, the company will be ready to develop its Microsoft Lync infrastructure and begin the deployment of SBAs at the remote branches.