Discontinuation of support for Session Border Controllers in Exchange Online Unified Messaging


In July 2018, we will no longer support the use of Session Border Controllers (SBC) to connect 3rd Party PBX systems to Exchange Online Unified Messaging (UM). We’re making this change to provide a higher quality of service for voicemail, using standard Exchange and Skype for Business protocols. Customers considering a new deployment of this scenario should be aware that they will have a little less than a year to complete one of the migrations below. Customers with existing deployments remain fully supported until July 2018, including moving voicemail-enabled mailboxes from Exchange on-premises and voicemail-enabling new mailboxes.

The following configurations are not affected by this change:

  • Skype for Business Server (on-premises) connected to Exchange Online UM
  • 3rd party voicemail solutions that deposit voicemail messages into Exchange Online mailboxes through APIs, rather than an SBC connection
  • All forms of Exchange Server UM (on-premises)

There are several alternative solutions for impacted customers, one or more of which must be implemented prior to July 2018.

  • Option 1: Complete migration from 3rd party on-premises PBX to Office 365 Cloud PBX.
  • Option 2: Complete migration from 3rd party on-premises PBX to Skype for Business Server Enterprise Voice on-premises.
  • Option 3: For customers with a mixed deployment of 3rd party PBX and Skype for Business, connect the PBX to Skype for Business Server using a connector from a Microsoft partner, and continue using Exchange Online UM through that connector. For example, TE-SYSTEMS’ anynode UM connector can be used for that purpose.
  • Option 4: For customers with no Skype for Business Server deployment or for whom the solutions above are not appropriate, implement a 3rd party voicemail system.

Although only a small number of customers are affected by this change, we know that planning for changes to voice platforms requires time to evaluate options, and to implement the selected option. We encourage you to start this process soon. For more information, please visit the following pages:

You can also ask questions regarding these changes on the Office 365 Tech Community.

Exchange Team

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