Back in September of 2021, Microsoft announced the public preview of their SIP Gateway solution that would allow select “Standard SIP” phones to connect to Teams. This feature has since become generally available and was welcome news, as it allowed organisations that had a large investment in non-Teams native handsets to bring them across during migration, rather than replacing with Teams native options. Sure, they wouldn’t provide the same advanced features and benefits of a Teams phone, but it did ensure there was a path to Teams telephony without having to replace every single handset, which may have been cost prohibitive.

The addition of the SIP gateway also meant that organisations that were still using Skype for Business phones with Teams (in 3PIP mode) also had a migration path forward once Microsoft stop supporting their 3PIP gateway (which is on topic at present – this was recently announced as occurring as soon as end of September 2022, check out Tom Arbuthnot’s blog for more on this).

At release, the Teams SIP Gateway was slated to support only a select number of handsets from Cisco, Poly, Yealink and AudioCodes (for a full list of supported devices and model numbers, check out Microsoft’s Plan for SIP Gateway documentation):

Initial Devices to be Supported via Teams SIP Gateway

But what about other use cases?

Support for a Broader Range of Devices

In addition to being useful for all the reasons stated above, the availability of the SIP gateway also means that Microsoft can now add support for additional devices that extend features and capabilities into areas that Teams devices don’t support today. When I first heard about the SIP Gateway, my mind immediately went to support for SIP paging speakers\servers, intercoms, and analogue gateways (ATAs) that would mean we could finally retire a bunch of on-premises SBCs we still have deployed to support these use cases. We don’t have support for those devices yet, but what we now have is support for a number of DECT handsets.

Announced in quick succession, first to be supported was Spectralink, and now Poly’s Rove series are also supported for connectivity to Teams via the SIP Gateway.

Why DECT?

The desire to have a DECT handset option for Microsoft telephony deployments is definitely not new: here’s a blog I put together back in 2014 that walked through how to integrate Spectralink DECT solutions with Lync Server. Of course, things have changed a lot since then, and we don’t necessarily want to deploy and manage on-premises infrastructure simply to support DECT handsets. That said, some might ask: why do you want DECT handsets at all?

The simplest answer here is simplicity, reliability and security. Whilst there’s a range of WiFi devices an organisation might use (running Android and the Teams native client for example), for anyone that has deployed WiFi handsets, it’s rarely straightforward. Issues with connecting to the network in the first place (802.1x, certificates, etc), the quality of the WiFi network, coverage, roaming issues, the list goes on. DECT tends to be simpler to deploy, reliable, and secure, and for these reasons we expect to see demand for DECT to continue into the foreseeable future.

The Poly Rove Series

Full details of Poly’s Rove range can be found here.

In summary:

  • Modular system, choose from two handsets (Rove 30 or 40), two base stations (Rove B2 or B4), and a repeater (Rove R8) to meet your needs.
  • Main difference between handsets: Rove 40 also supports a dedicated emergency key, vibrate mode and Bluetooth connectivity to add a wireless headset.
  • Scalable: deploy from 1 to 1,000 handsets.

How to Register Poly Rove Handsets to Teams

Ready to connect a Poly Rove handset to Microsoft Teams? Here’s how:

From the Teams Admin Centre, make sure the Calling Policy associated with the account that will sign in from the Poly Rove device has SIP devices can be used for calls set to On.

For the next step, you’ll need to access the web interface of the Rove base station. You can find the IP address from any handset that’s already connected. From the main menu, go to Info, and scroll down:

The phone will need to be updated to a version supported to register to the Teams SIP Gateway. Configure the Firmware Server URL and Firmware Path, and configure the Firmware Versions and Handset Images. At time of writing these were Base Firmware 8003 and Handset Firmware 0009 (check here for the latest supported firmware versions):

  • Firmware Path: /voice/dect-ip-phones/Rove/

It will take sometime for both the base station and handset to update (expect up to 90 minutes). You can check and confirm the base station software version from the System Status page, and the handset from the Handset Summary page:

Now that everything has been updated, go to System Management > Auto Provisioning and configure ITSP Provisioning. The correct URL is dependent on your particular global region:

I’ve opted for a periodic check for config updates every 3600 seconds, and using APAC region URL given I’m in Australia:

After configuring, the device will reboot, and\or reboot it yourself in order to kick off provisioning. Once complete, the device will show Microsoft Teams registration:

Next, you’ll need to access the Teams Admin Centre. Go to Teams Devices > SIP Devices, and from the Actions menu, select provision devices:

Use the IPEI Number of the Rove handset to add the device to Teams:

You can also get this directly from the handset:

Note: When entering, you will need to append a couple of zeros to the front of the IPEI number so that it fits and is accepted:

Once added, generate a verification code that the handset will need to complete sign in:

From the Handset, Dial 55 + the verification code from the handset. The phone will dial and hang-up pretty quickly. From the Teams Admin Center, phone will move from Waiting on activation to Waiting for sign in:

From the Teams Admin Portal, select the handset, and click on Sign in a user:

The following will appear:

The process from this point forward is very similar to signing in any device when using the web sign in method. Follow the prompts, and when you’re done, you should see this:

After this, give the handset a few minutes, at which point it should be signed in and ready to use.

Conclusions

It’s great to see that we’re starting to get a broader range of devices that can register to Teams via the SIP Gateway. Hopefully DECT is just a start – I’m looking forward to not needing any SBC infrastructure at all for organisations that want to support additional SIP devices. SIP Intercoms and ATAs are at the top of my list. Any others you’re waiting on? Keen to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Damien

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