Skype for Business Online Extension Dialing


When implementing a new product to replace an existing one, the concept of providing "like for like" as much as possible helps drive user adoption and to minimize resistance for using the new system. In the case of Skype for Business in Office 365, there are still some old habits that are hard to break. One of those is extension dialing.

In the Skype for Business world, we like to think that users will find their contact in the global address list and Instant Message, place a voice call, etc. from there. We realize that some environments have had the same telephone extensions in place for years and that this is a habit that cannot be disabled overnight, but rather over time. To ease the transition to Skype for Business online (part of Office 365), extension dialing will need to be setup.

As part of the Planning phase of implementing Skype for Business, existing dialing plans must be reviewed including the normalization of dialed extensions and the translations required. Many environments have very basic dialing plan needs based on four-digit dialing, where the last four digits of a user's DID number are used as his/her extension as well. For example, a user named Debra Burger who has a DID number of 410-555-1212 has an extension assigned as 1212. With the proper normalization rule established in Skype for Business online, when the 1212 extension is dialed it is normalized (translated) to an E.164 format of +14105551212. The person dialing the number will see the normalized number on his/her screen and think nothing of it as the call is being dialed.

The question now becomes how do we implement extensions in a simple environment. Below are example instructions based on the simple scenario above. Be sure to review and adjust your information as needed.

  1. If you need assistance connecting to the Skype for Business Online PowerShell session, review the article below for information on prerequisites and instructions:

    http://www.oxfordsbsguy.com/2015/11/14/how-to-connect-to-and-manage-connect-to-office365-using-powershell/

  2. Once connected to your Office 365 Tenant, you need to create the new Tenant Dial Plan by entering

    New-CsTenantDialPlan -identity US-Ext-1 -Description "US Extension Dialing"

  3. We now need to create the extension normalization rule in a variable by entering the statements below. Two examples are provided, up to a maximum of 25 normalization rules per Tenant Dial Plan.

    $NR1=New-CsVoiceNormalizationRule -identity Global/US-EXT-1 -description "US Extension 1xxx Dialing 1" -pattern '^(1\d{3})$' -Translation '+1410555$1' -InMemory -IsInternalExtension $True

    $NR2=New-CsVoiceNormalizationRule -identity Global/US-EXT7 -description "US Extension 2xxx Dialing 2" -pattern '^(2\d{3})$' -Translation '+1410555$1' -InMemory -IsInternalExtension $True

  4. Add the normalization rules to the new Tenant Dial Plan

    Set-CsTenantDialPlan -identity US-Ext-1 -normalizationrules @{Add=$NR1,$NR2}

  5. Assign the new dialing plan to a specific user:

    Grant-CsTenantDialPlan -identity sipuser@sipdomain.com -policyname US-Ext-1

  6. Verify the dial plan was assigned to the user correctly:

    get-csonlineuser -identity sipuser@sipdomain.com| fl *dial*

  7. Wait a few minutes for the new dial plan assignment to be implemented. Then enter the command below as a test for the new normalization rule:

    get-cseffectivetenantdialplan -identity sipuser@sipdomain.com | test-cseffectivetenantdialplan -dialednumber 1212

    In the above example, you can see the resulting number in the TranslatedNumber field. If the translation rule has not yet taken effect, the result will be no translation in the example below:

  8. When the test above is successful, log off/on a test client for the user above where the policy was implemented and verify dialing an extension is normalized to the desired E.164 format. Once the rule is tested, implement it to additional users in the environment.

This blog is not meant to provide in-depth detail on Skype for Business Online Dial Plans or to assist with planning of dialing plans. Rather, this blog is meant to provide you with a quick example and instructions to see this work. As with any project, detailed planning is essential. For detailed information on Skype for Business Online Dialing Plans, please review the guide written by Thomas Poett. For complex environment planning and implementation, please contact a Microsoft Partner who specializes in Skype for Business deployments.

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