Feb 24 2023 12:06 AM
Feb 24 2023 12:06 AM
I am looking for a comparison (pros and cons) between Teams Direct Routing and Operator Connect.
Main question is: Why should customers opt for Teams Direct Routing over Operator Connect?
Context: I am working for an operator in India. Currently, we are starting with Teams DR. However, there are few other operators which have been selected by Microsoft for Operator Connect. I am trying to understand if there is an advantage which can be showcased to the customer for Teams DR.
Feb 24 2023 12:45 AM
Operator Connect is a program from Microsoft with requirements of the carrier, so a carrier must be approved first and follow Microsoft requirements. It is a tighter connection with APIs available form Microsoft for the carrier to connect to customer tenant, to read information and provision phone numbers into customer Teams Admin Center.
Microsoft do not select carriers to be included in Operator Connect, carriers decide this themselves if they want to apply for the OC program or not. You can read more about that in the Operator Connect Accelerator program. There is also third-party solutions helping carriers with their OC setup.
For a customer I would say that the advantage of Operator Connect is that OC is a direct connection between the carrier network and Microsoft network, it is using Microsoft Azure Peering Service, so no traffic will go via Internet as with Direct Routing. There is also a SLA between carrier and Microsoft, so if there are any issues the carrier will get support from Microsoft and the connection is monitored.
Customers get an easier management with OC since all phone numbers can be managed in Teams Admin Center, much easier than Direct Routing. There is also an advantage for customers with multiple carriers, the admin interface (TAC) is the same for all carriers and the process of assigning phone numbers to users is the same.
Disadvantages with OC would be that it is not available in all countries, countries with telecom regulations might require a local SBC in the office of the user. You write that you are located in India, there are no OC carriers in India today and I guess that is due to local regulations.
There might also be cases when the office where users are located have a poor internet connection and Local Media Optimization is needed, then a local SBC and Direct Routing is the only option.
With Operator Connect many carriers charge per number, so if a customer have a number range with 100 numbers but only have 20 users they still have to pay for all 100 numbers. But carriers can solve this with own portals or another contract with customers.
There is also an issue for customers using third party contact centers that uses the Connect model, these are connected to Teams with Direct Routing and then you can't use Operator Connect. But if the customer selects a contact center using Extend model or Power model direct they will get support for Direct Routing, Operator Connnect and Calling Plan numbers. Contact center integrations for Microsoft Teams
Feb 24 2023 12:59 AM
@vikramh24288 In most scenarios OC is simpler for a customer than a carrier hosted DRaaS option. The customers admin experience is far simpler.
To answer you question why to choose DRaaS maybe if the carrier offered services to connect to other SIP trunks through the hosted SBCs, e.g. to an on prem PBX or other voice services, or perhaps if the customer wanted to be able to route calls to different carriers based on the destination.
At a technical level for a carrier, if you have a DR solution of SBCs then you can use that as well for Operator Connect, it's really just an additional layer of software to integrate with the Microsoft APIs for OC and a validation process. Operator Connect Accelerators will help you with that software.
Feb 28 2023 10:04 PM
Feb 28 2023 11:00 PM - edited Feb 28 2023 11:02 PM
@Linus Cansby In India, there is a regulatory requirement to do media bypass and the connectivity between customer site and carrier DC should be over MPLS. Hence, I feel there won't be major impact on the SLA between Teams DR & OC in India.
Jul 28 2023 10:45 PM - edited Jul 28 2023 10:49 PM
Looks like Microsoft just announced at Inspire last week what you were eluding to about a couple of other operators launching OC soon in India ( Airtel, Tata Communications Limited, and Tata Tele Business Services)
As per your comparison between offering DRaaS vs Operator Connect, the company I work for ( ZIRO Technologies) went through a similar exercise in identifying the pros/cons of the types of PSTN connectivity (Calling Plans vs OC vs Direct Routing).
Although there's no connectivity with MAPS as you correctly mentioned, our team developed an extremely reliable calling solutions through DRaaS via hosted/managed geo-redundant SBCs.
As for the perceived advantage of managing your numbers/carriers from a single place (TAC) - We were able to build and provide our customers with a Portal with Role Based Access Control so that they can manage all their numbers and policies (across any carrier and any type of number including Direct Routing). This removes the need for having to go into TAC or needing Powershell.
Ultimately, we found that our customers may have much more to consider than just PSTN connectivity when moving their calling to teams and choosing their providers. How will the number porting experience be? What do they do with / how to migrate off an existing PBX with features that teams don't support? What will they lose/gain? What kind of support will they receive? What kind of contact center needs do they have? What about compliance recording? The list goes on...
There's often a lot more to the convo than just Direct Routing vs Operator Connect. By looking at our customer's calling needs more holistically, the conversation quickly moves away from "Where do you want to buy your numbers from" and more into "What kind of provider do you want to partner with".