What is Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams and What Are The Benefits?

Emily Dye

Emily Dye


Over the past year, the global pandemic has seen remote working rapidly increase. Also on the rise is the use of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) tools that make working outside of the office easier to do.  The big winner in that space has been Microsoft Teams.

We all know how easy it is to place a call to another Teams user.  But is it possible to have that same experience with an external destination? The answer is yes.  And that’s where Direct Routing comes in. 

Direct Routing allows you to make calls to external destinations from within Microsoft Teams.  It works the other way too – you can also receive calls from non-Teams users, just like any other telephone call.


  • A paid subscription to Microsoft 365 or Office 365
  • A Microsoft Phone System license per user you want to deploy Direct Routing for
  • A Teams-approved Session Border Controller (SBCs form an effective demarcation point between the business’s VoIP network and the service provider’s SIP trunk to ensure data is transferred effectively between them whilst securing the enterprise VoIP network. SBCs can be on-premise or hosted)
  • SIP trunks (a virtual version of an analogue phone line that connects your phone system with the public phone network or PSTN)

These are the four core things you need to get Direct Routing up and running.  There are optional things that can be added depending on users’ needs and preferences, like:

  • Audio conferencing licenses.  Used for ad hoc audio conferences and providing a dial-in number for Teams meetings.
  • Advanced Communications add-on.  Used for branded meeting lobbies and monitoring/analytics of users and devices.
  • Handsets – for users as well as common areas like boardrooms or reception.

Blackstar Solutions can provide all of these products and services to get you making calls in Teams. Contact us to speak to one of our Teams consultants.


Once set up with Direct Routing a user can use Teams on their Desktop or mobile, on the web, or on a Teams desk phone.

A dial pad is embedded in the Calls tab – use it to dial numbers as normal.

Direct routing for Microsoft Teams dial pad



External calls are presented just like Teams calls – answer in the same way.

Direct routing Microsoft Teams calling

In-call controls include standard PBX features like hold, transfer, ad hoc conference, and park.

And there is a host of user-defined settings, like call forwarding and voicemail.

Settings available for Direct Routing


The biggest benefit is providing a single interface for your users for all their communications needs.  With the plethora of UC&C products available, users may not use the same application for all their UC&C needs.  They may not open programs they don’t find useful and therefore miss out on important messages.  Giving users all the functionality they need in a single application they already know and love will reduce confusion and increase productivity.

On a similar note, if deployed across all users Direct Routing provides a single administrative and support experience for your IT team.  Instead of having to master multiple portals, all UC&C admin and support can be done from the Teams Admin Center.

Direct Routing also provides a true mobility experience for remote workforces.  By dialling one number, users can be reached on any device where Teams is deployed.  This will reduce costs in call forwarding to mobiles when a user is on the road.  And because the Teams app provides the same user experience regardless of the device this will simplify employee training as they only need to be shown around Teams once.

Finally, using Direct Routing provides flexibility and choice.  If there is a carrier you trust and use already, you can keep your numbers and SIP trunks with them and still use Direct Routing.  However, if you’d like to reduce the number of supplier relationships and the complexity of billing and external support, the solution is also available as a managed service through us. 


Direct Routing is a way to connect Teams to the PSTN – the collection of the world’s circuit-switched telephone networks – and provide a lot of the same capabilities as a traditional phone system or PBX.  Once in place, the Teams client can be used for traditional telephony capabilities.

Direct Routing is not Federation.  By Federation we mean connecting with other Teams users outside of your organization and collaborating with them via video, screen, and file sharing.  Direct Routing provides a voice link to external telephone lines and numbers.


Blackstar is experienced in deploying Direct Routing across a wide range of verticals. Find out how we helped Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP deploy DirectRouting for Microsoft Teams here

We are a Microsoft Partner and are happy to help you with your Direct Routing deployment in any way that suits you – from providing Microsoft licenses, Session Border Controllers, SIP trunks, project co-ordination, engineers, end-user and admin training, and on-going support and config changes – or any combination thereof. 

We stand out from the crowd by consulting with you and offering choice when deploying Microsoft Teams, find out more here. 

Contact us for a quote or book a demo on 0333 123 2 123, alternatively, email us on [email protected]