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We're looking into the new Lync server from Microsoft and I'd like to get to the basics.

One of the vague questions for me is regarding external calls. How does Lync connect you to an external call? Is this done via some kind of connection between the Lync server and a PBX? And, is that the only way you can make use of Lync?

Regards, Jacques

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2 Answers 2

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Interoperability with existing telephony infrastructure

Lync Server 2010 uses standards and published interfaces to interoperate with existing infrastructure. Gateway and SIP options for interconnection to IP PBX systems and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) allow companies to migrate users to Lync Server 2010 Enterprise Voice over time while maximizing return on existing investments and minimizing disruption. The Microsoft Unified Communications Open Interoperability Program for gateways, IP PBX systems, and SIP trunking providers is intended to ensure that customers have a seamless experience with the setup, support, and use of qualified products and services with Microsoft unified communications software.

Source: Lync Server 2010 Product Guide, page 28

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In a few words: either you connect Lync to your existing PBX or you buy VoIP connectivity from a commercial provider (in the case you are a new company) –  djechelon Oct 5 '12 at 18:50

I'm by no means an expert, but I'll give you the little bit of knowledge that I have.

With regards to your last question: No, you don't need to connect Lync to a PBX/external phone system to make use of it. You can have Lync exist as an isolated communication system, and be able to have users send each other instant messages, audio calls, video calls, and multi-person conferences. However, in this scenario, only people using Lync clients will be able to communicate with each other with Lync. i.e. a person's desk phone won't answer when someone tries to call them with Lync.

As for the first part of your question, yes, you use some connecting mechanism to have Lync talk to your PBX/external lines. I'm not really a networking or phone guy, but the basic premise is that you would use a PSTN-to-IP PBX gateway to bring Lync into your infrastructure, and then configure Lync to point it to the gateway for external calls.

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