Lync Phone Edition (LPE)

Lync Phone Edition (LPE) – AudioCodes offer Teams Ready device upgrade

Summary

AudioCodes is introducing a replacement program for Microsoft LPE (Lync Phone Edition) devices that will stop working with Microsoft Office 365 services beginning on October 31, 2018 when only TLS 1.2 compliant devices will be supported. The offer can be found and claimed on the AudioCodes website at http://online.audiocodes.com/lpeupgradeprogram.

What are Lync Phone Edition (LPE) devices and why won’t they work?

Lync Phone Edition (LPE) devices are the IP Phones first launched alongside Lync 2010.  The phones were produced by third-party certified vendors like Polycom, HP/Snom & Mitel/Aastra.  All of them run Windows CE 6.0 and a Microsoft written Lync Phone client. Windows CE – and therefore Lync Phone Edition – doesn’t support TLS 1.2, therefore, when Microsoft enforces TLS 1.2 only on Office 365, these devices will no longer connect.

Lync Phone Ediiton (LPE)

AudioCodes offers Teams Ready device for Lync Phone Edition (LPE)

 

The models of Lync Phone Edition (LPE) devices that are affected by this change are:

  • Polycom: CX500, CX600, CX3000
  • HP: 4110 and 4120
  • Mitel/Aastra: 6721ip and 6725ip

Why is this important?

Older TLS versions (1.0 and 1.1) are known to have vulnerabilities used by hackers. Security regulated markets (for example credit card processing) force services to only utilize modern TLS implementations. While Microsoft has stated that there are no known vulnerabilities in their own implementations of TLS 1.0 they recognize the potential for future vulnerabilities and making this change to more modern TLS. These newer regulations also encourage moving toward new security mechanisms – for example, Modern Authentication that Microsoft has implemented in recent years.  These newer security mechanisms are fully supported by AudioCodes phones.

Microsoft will enforce TLS 1.2 on the Office 365 Cloud on October 31, 2018. Affected phones can utilize different services within Office 365. As mentioned above, basic calling may be facilitated by Skype for Business Online so that is affected. Likewise, affected phones can utilize Exchange Online services for calendaring, voicemail services, Outlook contacts, call logs, and more. The fact that phones cannot access Exchange Online services will also impact on-premises/hybrid deployments using Exchange Online.

Will this affect my existing non-LPE devices?

All 3PIP (Microsoft 3rd Party Interoperability Partner) phones which are certified for Skype for Business Online will continue work after this Office 365 TLS 1.2 change and work with and be supported by Microsoft Teams. There will be no change to 3PIP phones connected to Skype for Business Server on-premises. They will be able to join Microsoft Teams scheduled meetings and place calls with the same user experience and features detailed above in the Microsoft blog.  LPE Phones will still be able to connect to Skype for Business Server on-premises as long as TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are supported in that deployment. Connectivity to Office 365 features like Exchange Online will not work after October 31, 2018.

Additionally, at Enterprise Connect in March 2018, Microsoft announced a new line of ‘native Teams’ phones that run a Microsoft Teams app directly on the phone itself. LPE phones will not work with Microsoft Teams. For more details check out the Microsoft Tech Community blog. The current Microsoft Office 365 roadmap shows this support coming in 3Q 2018.

How can AudioCodes help?  Are there trade-in/trade-up incentives?

Yes! AudioCodes is introducing a replacement program for Microsoft LPE Phones that will stop working with Microsoft Office 365 Services beginning on October 31, 2018 when only TLS 1.2 compliant devices will be supported. The offer can be found on the AudioCodes website at:  http://online.audiocodes.com/lpeupgradeprogram.  For every model of AudioCodes in this offer, we have a matching (or more advanced) set of features. On top of standard expected calling features, our AudioCodes phones have modern features like advanced boss-admin, sidecar options, resiliency options, superior centralized management and more.  A few charts detailing how AudioCodes phones compare – along with frequently asked questions – can be found on our LPE Upgrade Program FAQ page.

 

Direct Routing the future of hybrid voice with Microsoft Teams

Direct Routing the future of hybrid voice with Microsoft Teams

On May 15th, 2018 Microsoft announced Public Preview of Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams via this blog. You might ask, what is Direct Routing? Direct Routing is the future of hybrid voice with Microsoft Teams, allowing organizations to leverage on-premises voice infrastructure through Teams certified SBC’s (enter AudioCodes). You can find more information by viewing the Microsoft blog Here.

What does this all mean and what benefit do I get?

What exactly does this all mean for you? It depends on where you are in your UC/IC journey. For some, the journey might be moving from an existing PBX to Microsoft Teams calling directly. Others might already be using Skype for Business / Skype for Business Online and ready to make the move to Teams calling. Still, others might have sites around the globe that are not yet able to migrate phone numbers from the local Telco providers into Microsoft Calling Plans.

Organizations looking to migrate to Microsoft Teams calling can now utilize direct SBC connectivity into the Microsoft Teams environment. This allows customers to bring their own PSTN trunk into the Microsoft environment via a Teams Certified SBC. With the combination of Teams and an AudioCodes SBC, organizations will now be able to take full advantage of Microsoft’s Intelligent Communications vision by providing a complete Teams experience for their users.

Direct Routing the future of hybrid voice with Microsoft Teams

What about my environment today and tomorrow?

Customers that currently utilize AudioCodes infrastructure to connect to their existing PBX, Skype for Business on-premises, or Skype for Business Online with Phone System (previously Cloud PBX) are in a great position. In this scenario, you have the ability to leverage your existing infrastructure and repurpose/reconfigure/update it to connect to the Microsoft Teams environment. If that current infrastructure is not already in place or maybe it needs an upgrade, AudioCodes has a large portfolio of certified SBCs that supports from a few sessions all the way up to tens of thousands of current sessions.

The benefit of a complete, unified portfolio is that AudioCodes has a solution to fit your needs today and tomorrow, from physical devices to a full complement of highly scalable virtual instances. Furthermore, depending on the level of functionality required, the SBC portfolio can also provide advanced high availability (HA).

Things to consider with Direct Routing SBCs from AudioCodes

Now that we know of the wide range of options available in Direct Routing scenarios, what about diving into some specific use cases that make the AudioCodes SBC stand out?

  1. Ever wonder what you are going to do with those existing analog devices? How in the world do I plug that analog wire into the cloud? That will likely never happen, but AudioCodes has you covered. Time and time again, the conversation comes up on how to integrate these existing analog devices (think elevator, common area, warehouse and laboratory phones) in organizations both large and small. For these scenarios you can easily place an AudioCodes MediaPack (analog adapter) behind the SBC, providing the necessary connectivity to allow Teams users to communicate with the analog device (and vice versa). Analog in Teams – no problem.
  2. What about sites that cannot have an SBC connect to the open internet and thus directly into Teams? Perhaps these sites only have MPLS back to a centralized site to funnel all outbound traffic. This is most common in larger organizations where local internet is not the best fit for the organization. The SBC can serve dual purposes to handle this situation – a centralized hub that hosts the main infrastructure (aka SBC) along with a spoke at a branch site with a local PSTN breakout. That local PSTN break out could be required due to local regulations or because of a cost-effective contract with a provider. Either way, the AudioCodes solution stack can make this type of scenario possible.
  3. Do you have a local regulation that requires routing of calls based on the location of a user? Specifically, when dialing emergency numbers (911, etc.) do you need to present to call to the PSAP in a specific fashion (aka ELIN)? That is a driving factor to leverage the SBCs ability to utilize the IP address subnets within a network and where the user generated the call to make logical and dynamic routing decisions. With SBCs in the environment, especially connecting to on-premises trunks, AudioCodes has the ability to utilize the SBC routing logic to make intelligent decisions based on the IP address of a particular user. This functionality is critical in emergency (aka 911) environments, especially when it pertains to larger campuses. A person making an emergency request may be pinpointed to a specific floor and room, allowing first responders to granularly identify their location.

What Next?

Now is the time for organizations who are looking to test Direct Routing with Microsoft Teams to contact your local AudioCodes representative or get in touch with AudioCodes via our website. Working with Microsoft for over 12 years, this is just another exciting step in the evolution of Enterprise Voice. AudioCodes is keen to work with you to architect the best path to the Teams future while keeping an eye on existing capabilities. If you already have SBC licenses in your environment, AudioCodes will be able to help determine the best way to connect to the Teams backend. For organizations that are not yet leveraging AudioCodes infrastructure, reach out today to get started with AudioCodes and Direct Routing in Microsoft Teams.

Unified Communications: Technologies that Paved the Way for Cloud Communications Dominance

A Brief History of UCaaS

Guest post by Mark Dacanay of RingCentral

It was just a decade ago when only small and medium scale businesses saw cloud communications as a viable option for a business communications solution. Enterprises mostly ignored the emerging technology because they already had on-premises PBX phone systems and traditional telecoms that they had already been using for too long to take notice of a new alternative.

Technologies that Paved the Way for Cloud Communications Dominance

Technologies that Paved the Way for Cloud Communications Dominance

Fast forward to 2018 and cloud communications is poised to dominate the market through cloud-hosted unified communications solutions. On-premises PBX systems are on their way to being obsolete, while traditional telecoms are struggling to keep up with an always connected generation. In fact, the global unified communications and collaboration market is predicted to top $35 billion by 2019.

It seems like cloud-hosted unified communications is here to stay and is set to dominate the business communications industry in the near future.

But before we look more into the future, it is important to look back to the past. How did we end up here? How did cloud communications, specifically unified communications as a service (UCaaS), come to dominate?

To give you an insight, here are the technologies that paved the way for cloud communications dominance:

Development of VoIP

It was around 2000 to 2005 when companies started using IP networks to transmit voice data. The technology was called Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP. Adoption was not that fast. In the early 2000s, very few calls were transmitted through IP based lines and companies still preferred the traditional PSTN. However, as internet connections became more stable, more and more companies saw the benefits of using VoIP. By 2008, 80 percent of all new corporate lines being installed were VoIP lines. Now, VoIP is used by most unified communications providers as its primary method of transmitting calls or voice data.

Virtualization of infrastructure

The 90s were all about hosting software on your own PCs, so it is not surprising that most businesses at the time also hosted their business apps on their own servers, within their own infrastructure. Intranet services or local web connections that could only be accessed within the premises of the company was a big thing back then. Aside from the familiarity with on-premises systems and infrastructure, cloud technology was still in its infancy and there were still various security concerns that needed addressing. After all, data is stored by a third-party provider and it is transmitted over the public internet.

It was not until Salesforce launched in 1999 that businesses were able to use an actual enterprise app delivered over the ‘net. Salesforce, like today’s cloud services, hosted their suite in a virtual server and delivered the service via the internet, which was accessed via their website. Since then, various cloud services have popped up including Amazon Web Services in 2002. Thus, the virtualization trend has begun. Organizations started delivering services (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) via the cloud through different deployment models, namely private cloud (solely for one organization), public cloud (open for public use), and hybrid cloud (a combination of public and private). Security has also been addressed with most providers employing security measures like heavy encryption on all facets of data transmission.

Circumstances also aligned for the emergence of the virtualization of infrastructure. This includes the improvement of high-speed internet and the support of leading tech giants like Google and Microsoft. When these giants embraced virtualization technology, it also caused a domino effect within the industry as a whole.

Moving PBX from on-premises to the cloud

Private Branch Exchange or PBX has been around since the 40s. In the beginning, PBXs were simple systems managed by the local phone company itself. Calls were routed from the Central Office (CO) to a business customer. It was very simplistic back then but it paved the way for on-premises systems where companies invest in their own PBX infrastructure to route incoming calls within the company. As mentioned above, the virtualization of infrastructures presented an opportunity for PBX to be deployed through the cloud. Through the Software as a Service model (SaaS), cloud PBX started making noise around 2005 to 2010 as an alternative to on-premises PBX for small and medium companies who could not afford to invest in their own PBX infrastructure. But what started as an alternative to on-premises PBX soon became a viable business phone system for companies of all sizes because of its mobility, flexibility, and scalability, not to mention the numerous advanced features like auto-attendant, answering rules, caller ID, call screening, and call forwarding. As an actual business phone system, the cloud PBX has become the backbone of what we would call unified communications solutions nowadays.

Evolution of team messaging to team collaboration apps

Instant messaging has been around for a while with personal messengers like Yahoo Messenger but the technology did not take off with businesses right away. It was around 2010 when team messaging tools really became popular with companies with tools like Microsoft Lync and later apps like Jabber. Now, team messaging apps are more than just for chats. Apps like Slack, Glip, and HipChat are now full-on team collaboration apps with video chat capabilities as well.

Feasibility of stable audio and video conference

In the past, audio conference calls were a premium service only offered by traditional telecom companies. But with the rise of VoIP, the application of transmitting voice data over IP networks has also made audio conferencing more cost-friendly. In 2005, Lifesize Communication displayed the first video conferencing system at the Interop tradeshow with video showing 30 frames per second, with a 1280 by 720 resolution. By 2010, video conferencing has become a necessity for most enterprises and multiple video conference providers like GoToMeeting and Blue Jeans have popped up in the market.

The arrival of true Unified Communications as a Service

In the last couple of years, the main focus of the industry leaders in cloud communications is to combine these different communication channels into one streamlined service.

With a system that meets most, if not all, the business communication needs of a company and removing the need to rely on separate providers for each application, it is no wonder why cloud communications, UCaaS in particular, is set for domination in the future.

About the Author

Mark Dacanay is a Digital Marketing Professional who has been working with a B2B company offering cloud-based services for more than 5 years. He is obsessed with anything about the cloud – the technology, not the fluffy stuff in the sky. You can reach him through Twitter and LinkedIn .