A brief history
Tesira products were capable of operating as Skype for Business endpoints after autumn of 2015. However, in the summer of 2021, Microsoft retired Skype for Business prompting the user base to utilize MS Teams as the new conferencing and UC platform. This tech note explains the shift in underlying technologies and Biamp's current path for Microsoft-based conferencing systems.
Microsoft Teams runs as an application on a laptop or smartphone.
Microsoft Teams Rooms is a variation of the Teams application running in Kiosk mode on a NUC or small form factor PC. The application utilizes the SIP protocol for voice, chat, video conferencing, etc. on specific Microsoft Teams capable hardware.
By comparison, Biamp VoIP-SIP endpoints support VoIP-SIP only for telephony. Biamp VoIP-SIP endpoints are not capable of registering as an MS Teams or MTR endpoint natively.
Understanding Biamp's Teams UC offerings
Biamp offers several Microsoft-certified bundles and systems that make use of Biamp's USB interfaces. The EX-UBT and the built-in USB port of Forte X bridge the audio system with the Teams or MTR NUC. If you cannot utilize USB in your conferencing space, reach out to Biamp support or your sales representative to see what other options exist for your setup.
- Biamp UC Compatibility Matrix
- The design library offers example design schematics and files.
- This one, in particular, is a Microsoft-certified system using a Sennheiser mic and Forte.
- Note that legacy rackmount TesiraFORTE does not support HID mute synchronization and is subsequently not a good design choice for systems requiring mute synchronization.
Teams SIP gateway
Because Teams is not a VoIP system, it cannot interface directly with a VoIP phone, be it SIP or H.323. This means a gateway must be used in order for a Teams setup to utilize a VoIP phone. Microsoft has a note here regarding planning for a SIP gateway and a list of supported desk phones.
There are no generic SIP-based phones supported by Teams SIP gateway at this time.
Generic cloud-based VoIP and Tesira
Biamp's official list of supported VoIP management systems can be found at https://support.biamp.com/VoIP, and does not include cloud-based VoIP-SIP platforms such as MS Teams. The supported VoIP systems are platforms that Biamp VoIP products have been certified against. VoIP-SIP platforms not included in this list may or may not successfully support Biamp VoIP-SIP endpoints. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be prepared to do extra testing and monitoring when trying out an untested system. Wireshark is a key tool for this, as it monitors data passing between Tesira and the VoIP system.
- Everyone taking part in this kind of testing should go in aware that unresolvable interoperability issues may be found. Hopefully, the end result is the system functions as intended. However, you may find that one system needs something the other doesn’t support, and the systems are simply not compatible.
- While Biamp Engineering is available to investigate issues on supported VoIP platforms, there is no guarantee for such issues on unsupported VoIP-SIP platforms.
- Anytime you move outside of the local network, as would be needed for cloud-based VoIP systems, you risk adding extra levels of complexity for a VoIP endpoint if it has to traverse a firewall.
- In the past, we have run into trouble with hosted, cloud-based VoIP Admins offering limited support. They are in the business of selling VoIP products (including endpoints) to their customers. When they see an endpoint that they did not provide (for example, Biamp’s Tesira), they are sometimes reluctant to offer support. There must be buy-in from this side for the connection to be successful.