This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: New blog articles in Microsoft Community Hub.
Earlier this year, we announced the general availability of Azure Communications Gateway (ACG), a native Azure service designed for telecom operators to seamlessly connect their fixed and mobile networks to Microsoft Teams Phone. Since then, we have been working hard at developing product enhancements to better meet the needs of the operators and their business customers.
We are excited to share some of the highlights of these enhancements with you. Our focus has been on delivering features that enable operators to offer a comprehensive and reliable solution for PSTN connectivity in Microsoft Teams, as well as expanding the range of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platforms that operators can connect to using ACG.
The hybrid work model has now solidified at most businesses, which is driving rapid innovation in communications and collaboration across both fixed and mobile modalities. This rapid innovation is being driven by leading cloud-based Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) providers, which in turn is fueling their growth in the business segment. Operators are evolving their network architecture and business models to support this changing landscape, recognizing this as a necessary evolution to remain competitive in the lucrative enterprise collaboration market.
However, integrating new services into the typical operator voice core architecture can result in long iteration cycles, network disruption, and expensive siloed solutions. ACG addresses this issue by providing a single gateway that isolates operator networks from the change and disruption caused by integrating with multiple cloud UCaaS platforms and other cloud services.
This is a crucial first step in realizing our vision of providing a platform that connects operator networks to leading UCaaS services, enabling operators to meet the needs of their business customers.
Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams
Direct Routing remains a popular PSTN connectivity option for Microsoft Teams, and we have observed a continued demand for this from operators. To meet this need, we are pleased to announce that ACG now supports Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams. This means that a single ACG deployment can be utilized to offer the complete suite of Teams PSTN connectivity, including Direct Routing, Operator Connect, and Teams Phone Mobile.
By using ACG for Direct Routing, operators can also take advantage of the other features and capabilities offered by ACG, enabling a more streamlined approach to Teams PSTN connectivity that reduces costs and complexity.
In addition to Microsoft Azure Peering Service (MAPS), ACG now also supports Azure ExpressRoute Microsoft peering, . We are also excited to share that we will soon be adding support for private peering, which will enable connections to a private IP address.
Support for ExpressRoute provides operators with even more options for connecting to Azure and helps them deliver the best possible experience for their business customers.
Mobile Control Point in Azure
Metaswitch Mobile Control Point (MCP) has provided a trusted on-premises solution for intelligent call routing to the Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile service, delivering an enhanced user experience.
MCP is now being made available as a feature of ACG – delivered from Azure as an alternative to an on-premises deployment. This move simplifies the integration of an operator’s mobile IMS core with the Microsoft Teams Phone System and minimizes disruption to the operator’s network. This approach offers several benefits – including a reduction in both CAPEX and OPEX, as there is no cost for hardware, or for operating and managing a new on-premises network element. Additionally, time to launch is also reduced as there is no need to roll out a new on-premises network element across multiple sites.
We understand that security is a top priority for operators when connecting their mobile IMS core to the Azure public cloud, and the architecture offers multiple layers of protection. Connectivity to Azure can use private connectivity with SIP secured using mutual TLS, and operators can also opt to deploy an ISC Gateway at the edge of their network for additional security. This element is defined in 3GPP IMS standards to provide border control, similar to border control provided by an IBCF.
By offering MCP as a feature of ACG delivered from Azure, we are providing operators with a more streamlined and cost-effective solution for intelligent call routing in the Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile service, while maintaining the highest standards of security.
We are not only focused on developing new product features, but also on building partnerships that will deliver additional business value for the operator community. By working together, we can jointly offer the best onboarding and back-end integration experience, making it easier for operators to deliver solutions that meet the needs of their business customers. We will be providing more details on these in the next iteration of this blog series. Stay tuned.
Learn more today
Azure Communications Gateway helps to optimize the existing communications investments and services of telco operators. The critical interworking functionality provided by the service enables operators to smoothly transition network components to the cloud, where Microsoft’s partnership delivers unrivaled support throughout each successive stage of the process.
To learn more about Azure Communications Gateway and how the service can transform your telecom network, please visit http://aka.ms/communications-gateway