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Using Lync 2013 as a VOIP system

Posted on 2014-03-18
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Last Modified: 2014-03-25
We are looking to move to Office 365.  On the E4 level they offer "Enterprise Voice."  The E4 package is $22/month/person which for my company would be $2200/month.  Along the same line I pay $1800/month for our hosted VOIP system.  My thought process is to move to the E4 level of Office 365 for 2200 a month and cancel my VOIP service and use Lync 2013 as my VOIP provider.  I have Polycom Soundpoint phones which are on the compatibility list.  Basically I end  up paying $400 more a month but have the whole suite of Office 365 and VOIP.  Has anyone used Lync Server as a VOIP system?  I have browsed the MS site but cant find much info on using Lync Server with the Polycom phones.
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Question by:thelink12
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by:Jakob Digranes
Jakob Digranes earned 167 total points
ID: 39937228
Works great with Lync as VoIP --- just recently we moved over a company stationed in more than 50 countries to Lync, making all calls HQ free of charge, and no VPN or extra setup on branch offices.

But you'd need to look into what features you might be missing with Enterprise Voice in Office 365 - as it is a bit limited, at least compared to traditional VOIP systems, like call park, response groups or similar
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/lync-online-service-description.aspx
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 167 total points
ID: 39944946
Be aware that LYNC is not a VOIP provider -- at least not yet.

You cannot get phone numbers assigned to your Lync Online Service.  To do this, you will need to have a SIP Trunk Provider that integrates with Lync -- and you will need to have a Lync Server (either on-premises or hosted by a 3rd-party).

If you are game for installing an on-premises Lync Server to handle the SIP Trunking, then you will probably be very happy with the functionality and reliability of having a Lync-based communication system.  (I definitely love the product).  I can't vouch for any of the hosted Lync Server providers -- they come and go to often to be relied upon at this point -- probably because at some point, Microsoft will offer a fully hosted product that will put all of them out of business.

Jeff
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by:JRSCGI
JRSCGI earned 166 total points
ID: 39948672
Lync is moving toward a fully-capable telephony system, but until the next major release many users do find that some desired functionality is not there.  There are many satisfied customers, but (like with most technical solutions) it is easy to find some problems as well.  

http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/new-18-million-king-county-phone-system-dropping-c/nd28C/

The other key is that as detailed above, you cannot get outside PSTN connections via Office 365 directly.  The most common solution for this is the on-site server and gateway to connect a local telephone company.  However, it is also possible with the right type of gateway to use ISDN-PRI trunks instead of just SIP trunks, although that is usually not the way it is done (40 year old technology for a forward-thinking phone solution).

Most of our clients using Lync as the full telephony solution are doing so with a premises based installation rather than a third party vendor (little track record, as Jeff mentions above).
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by:Jakob Digranes
ID: 39949730
@JRSCGI: There more and more vendors delivering SIP-trunks directly into Office365 - so you can get PSTN connectivity in a Lync Online environment. Not sure on all regions, but British Telecom, Telenor and at least some companies in Saudi and perhaps US are also in the loop
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by:JRSCGI
ID: 39950139
The point Jeff was making is that MSFT is not a PSTN provider if you are getting Office 365 from them, instead of a third party.  His other point that I agree with is many of those vendors are "new" to the telephone service part of the business that goes along with PSTN access (it is more than just adding trunks to the service).  But there certainly are options.
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Author Closing Comment

by:thelink12
ID: 39953363
Thanks for all of the detailed information.  It looks like I am going to have to keep my current VOIP provider for the meantime.
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