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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.

CloudBond 365 and SBC at HQ reconfiguration

Meet AudioCodes’ CloudBond 365 OPCH – Future-Proofed for Microsoft Teams

The real alternative for Cloud Connector Edition and coexistence

While out on the road to present the AudioCodes strategy around the Microsoft Teams journey in the weeks after Microsoft Ignite 2017, it became clear to me that we’d had the right vision back in 2014 when we introduced CloudBond 365. The resource forest model as a foundation for each member of the CloudBond 365 family demonstrates more than ever that our CloudBond 365 solutions enable our customers and partners to be future-proof.

CloudBond 365 and SBC at HQ reconfiguration

CloudBond 365 and SBC at HQ reconfiguration

After the announcements at Microsoft Ignite 2017, we at AudioCodes are highlighting the ability of CloudBond 365 to serve as an OPCH. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this Microsoft acronym, OPCH stands for On-Premises Configuration Hybrid. As such, our CloudBond 365 OPCH is a PSTN connectivity appliance for Skype for Business Online, and serves as an alternative to Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) where coexistence with Skype for Business Server is required. Paul Cannon’s Microsoft blog refers directly to such third-party OPCH specific appliances for those who don’t want to modify their main deployment.

Over the past few weeks, our partners have been asking me when CloudBond 365 OPCH will become available, strongly indicating that they are continuing to enable Skype for Business Online users with Cloud PBX (now renamed Phone System) in a future-proof way.

The OPCH deployment model has been supported ever since the introduction of CloudBond 365, which means that we have this solution available right now. In the past, we referred to the solution as Skype for Business Hybrid Voice. Today, we refer to it by the OPCH acronym. As a matter of fact, most of our CloudBond 365 appliances installed over the past few years are deployed in this Hybrid Voice model, enabling voice services for Skype for Business Online. The exact same CloudBond 365 solution will also bring voice capability to Microsoft Teams in the future, through Direct Connect.

Something that will be new to our CloudBond 365 family ties in very well with Microsoft’s announcement that Modern Authentication for Skype for Business Server has gone to Public Preview. This allows CloudBond 365 to authenticate Skype for Business users against the Azure Active Directory, eliminating the need to set up bidirectional trusts between CloudBond 365 and the on-premises user forest(s). For topologies that are now supported in Public Preview, please read this.

It is also important to note that our entire CloudBond 365 family of solutions have User Management Pack 365 built-in. This is a powerful but simple web portal that ensures a smooth deployment and provides a single pane of glass across all Skype for Business deployment models.

If we go back to Paul Cannon’s blog, we can see Microsoft’s recommendation for enabling on-premises Skype for Business for Hybrid PSTN. This is an excellent moment to point out that User Management Pack 365 sits intuitively on top of existing on-premises Skype for Business deployments, connecting the enterprise environment with Microsoft Office 365 (‘split domain’) via special connectors. After the initial setup, UMP 365 empowers IT departments by facilitating a gradual and fully controlled migration to Microsoft’s Phone System today, and to Microsoft Teams in the future, from any existing Skype for Business deployment.

Our goal is to help our partners and customers stay on track with their journey to intelligent communications across Skype for Business Server and Microsoft Teams. For me personally, it has been very refreshing and rewarding to hear from our community over the past few weeks that we have exactly the right solution – at exactly the right time – to do just that.

To talk with an AudioCodes expert, click this button.

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After the announcements at Microsoft Ignite 2017, we at AudioCodes are highlighting the ability of CloudBond 365 to serve as an OPCH. Our goal is to help our partners and customers stay on track with their journey to intelligent communications across Skype for Business Server and Microsoft Teams.