What is Microsoft Teams Direct Routing?
Direct Routing allows an organization to access the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) from Microsoft Teams so users to make and receive phone calls. In order to connect to the PSTN from teams, you must enable Microsoft Phone System, its native PBX functionality.
To ensure incoming and outgoing calls are passed through the Microsoft Teams client and delivered to your end-users, you’ll need a Microsoft-certified SBC (Session Border Controller) as well as a provider for both your SIP trunking.
Microsoft Calling Plans refer to the telephony services offered by Microsoft as part of its Microsoft 365 subscription. These plans allow organizations to make and receive phone calls using the Microsoft Teams application, turning it into a comprehensive communication solution. Key components of Microsoft Teams Calling Plans typically include:
- Voice calling
- Phone system
- Direct Routing
- International calling
- Audio conferencing
- Emergency calling
- Call analytics
Note, Teams Calling Plans may vary based on geographical location and the specific subscription plan. Organizations can choose the plan that best fits their communication needs, whether they prefer a complete cloud-based solution or a hybrid approach that integrates with existing telephony infrastructure.
Organizations tend to use Calling Plans or Direct Routing for their Microsoft Teams telephony needs. Calling Plans offer simplified telecom purchasing, easy-to-understand per-seat pricing and the ease of turning up new workstations. However, the trade-off for ease of deployment often results in a higher recurring cost with the per-seat model and limitations on domestic and international minutes.
On the other hand, Direct Routing is appealing to organizations seeking to maintain legacy routing and features/functionality of on-premises equipment while gaining more control, scalability and cost-efficiency. Microsoft Teams Direct Routing allows companies to pay for what they use. Additionally, there no need to port existing numbers over to Microsoft's Calling Plans, making it a favorable option for larger enterprises. It's important to note that Operator Connect is another option, allowing organizations to connect directly to the Microsoft Teams Phone System through certified SBCs offered by telecom operators.
One of the most attractive things about Direct Routing is the pay-for-what-you-use model that generally comes with SIP trunking. The cost of Direct Routing depends on your individual inputs, such as who your SIP trunking provider is, what usage model you’re set up for, who your E911 provider is, what E911 services you require, who your SBC vendor is, and what option (hosted, on-prem, etc) you choose.
When an organization decides to use Teams for PSTN access and obtains the proper license with Microsoft Phone System, they actually have two options: Direct Routing and Microsoft’s own Calling Plans. Microsoft Calling Plans is a seat-based model that comes with a list of line features.