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This is a story about a technology solution that enabled two European industry leaders to play well with Microsoft Teams. In the world of ALL-IP communications, interoperability can be a major challenge. There is an endless number of market players in the IP-telephony field. Most business phone systems involve network elements from multiple vendors that may not naturally work together well, if at all. This case study involves three vendor technologies that need a little help being friends.
MS TEAMS LogoMicrosoft Teams
As everyone knows, Microsoft Teams is a powerful unified communications (UC) solution for enterprises. The product provides companies with integrated voice, video, chat, conferencing, email, and shared workspaces. MS-Office applications, including Outlook, Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, are all integrated, so users can get their teamwork done all without switching among applications. When it comes to working together with business phone systems from other vendors, however, Microsoft hasn’t won any awards for interoperability. Most SIP-based products, for example, employ UDP encapsulation, yet Microsoft applications use TCP encapsulation to deliver the RTP media stream within the SIP protocol. In order to deliver business-class telephony, Teams requires interconnections with a third-party IP PBX and an external SIP (or PSTN trunking) service. For the system integrator, getting at all the systems working together seamlessly can be a major headache
Based in Karlsruhe, Germany, STARFACE is a communications technology company specializing in IP telephony. Their ALL-IP business phone system is a LINUX-based IP PBX that can be delivered as a hardware CPE, a virtual machine (VM), or as a cloud-resident service. Because STARFACE and Microsoft have not implemented SIP in exactly the same way, some sort of intermediary is required to establish interoperability.
Located in Nürtingen, Germany, Fluxpunkt is a telecom software development company that makes software plug-ins for the STARFACE software PBX. One of their many products is a plug-in that provides user synchronization. The plug-in employs Active Directory Services to integrate the STARFACE PBX user interface with the phone services within Microsoft Teams. Fluxpunkt was keen to find an interop solution that would allow them to remotely monitor and troubleshoot network performance, voice quality, and call-transfer success rates.