Exciting news this week for organisations using Teams Phone. In March, at Enterprise Connect, Microsoft announced adding support for a number of digital enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT) devices for Microsoft Teams, registering via Microsoft Teams SIP gateway.
Many customers in industries such as retail and manufacturing are still heavy users of DECT and currently need to keep a PBX running or would need a certified Session Border Controllers (SBCs) (such as AudioCodes or Ribbon) to register the DECT solution to the SBC, then the SBC to Teams via Direct Routing.
In this new certified model, the DECT solution registers directly to Microsoft Teams via the Teams SIP Gateway. On the Microsoft side, there is no additional licence is required on Teams beyond a typical user Teams Phone licence or Common Area Phone licence. The DECT endpoint is a SIP endpoint with the same single number as the User/CAP phone account on Teams.
Teams SIP gateway limits SIP sign-in to approved devices, hence any DECT solution will need to be certified for this model.
Ascom, Poly and Spectralink were announced and Spectralink are the first to be certified compatible and supported.
Spectralink goes way back in the Microsoft UC space. I first installed their solution on a customer with Lync 2010.
Why DECT Phones with Microsoft Teams?
Many customers are driving towards a fully cloud-based Phone solution and want to remove the existing on-premises PBX. Often the current DECT solution will be tied directly into the existing PBX.
Customers could consider moving to Wi-Fi handsets or straight to cellular/mobile solutions, but there are still some drivers for DECT
- The cost for reliable voice coverage is less than equivalent Wi-Fi infrastructure
- Cellular coverage is often poor in large warehouse scenarios because of wall construction, radio reflection from warehouse staging and heavy machinery, etc.
- Specialised DECT handset feature requirements: rugged, dustproof, and cleanable handsets for specific work environments, motion sensors for lone worker protection, advanced messaging and alarming capabilities
What is the Spectralink DECT for Microsoft Teams Architecture?
Spectralink architecture breaks down into the following components
Spectralink DECT for Microsoft Teams support is delivered by a firmware update to the Spectralink DECT Server. Current IP-DECT servers, IP-DECT base stations and handsets are compatible.
Spectralink icence costs are scaled based on users, much like Microsoft licences,.
Spectralink DECT server
- This is the brains of the solution
- It can be virtual or physical
- You can have a standby server for resiliency
- The largest single server supports up to 1024 base stations
- The Server can be hosted on a physical appliance or virtualised (VMware only right now). Servers are “single instance”. A service provider can choose to run the server as a service for customers.
- The Server can connect to existing 3rd party applications for DECT users for specific use cases in Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail
- The “radio access point” that the DECT phone talks to
- You may have multiple base stations for coverage or phone density if required
- Multiple base stations can connect to a single server
- One base station has a typical range is 50 meters indoors and 300 meters outdoors (heavily impacted by walls, equipment or anything else in the area)
- Various models available
- From Basic, voice-centric use case rugged phones to specialist phones with features such as motion detection (no user movement, user running in an area they should walk), alarming, other integrated systems, etc.
- Spectralink has the following range available 72 series, 75-series (general office and factory), 76 series and 77-series (high-end healthcare specific)
What is the media path for Spectralink DECT for Microsoft Teams?
Media is sent between the handset and base station over DECT, then over IP to the Server then onto the Teams service. All media always routes via the server. Connectivity to the server is required for the DECT solution to function.
Replacing an existing DECT system with a Teams certified DECT system
When replacing an existing DECT system, it is usually safe to do a 1:1 replacement in terms of existing handsets and base stations. You don’t usually need a site survey. A Spectralink channel partner can help with the installation and configuration of the solution. The partner would also be first and second-line support.
How do I buy Spectralink DECT solutions for Microsoft Teams?
Got a question about DECT with Teams or the Spectralink DECT solution? Let me know and I’ll do my best to find the answer.