Microsoft Audio Conferencing; how can you not love a feature that’s so high impact, requires such minimal configuration, and enhances meeting experiences so greatly. Formerly known as PSTN Conferencing, the service is now available through the Microsoft Teams application as well as Skype for Business Online, and provides a means by which meeting participants can dial-in to scheduled meetings. As a public display of affection, I’ve put together the below high-level Audio Conferencing diagram that can either be referenced during a technical explanation of the service, or printed onto A4 paper and made into an Audio Conferencing themed paper aeroplane.
Although I think the diagram is reasonably self explanatory for anyone versed in the area (in which case feel free to snag the image and run), the following Layman’s notes might be useful for clarification.
The Organiser Enabling portion of the diagram represents the components required for setting up an Audio Conferencing enabled meeting. Ultimately these are the end user licensing and application assets. Users need to be enabled for Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams, and they need to be assigned an Audio Conferencing license (either as an add-on or inclusive of an E5 subscription). Therein, any user scheduling a meeting through a supported method will be doing so with dial-in functionality. In the real world this is typically performed through Outlooks Skype for Business and Teams add-ins, although meetings can also be scheduled through the applications directly or the web scheduler.
Microsoft Audio Conferencing
Represents the core Audio Conferencing functionality delivered through the Conferencing Service and its associated Service Numbers. The term Conference Bridge is often used interchangeably to refer to the middle portion of the diagram in its entirety, when in actuality it is a core component of the Conferencing Service. This same Conferencing Service provides the authentication mechanism through which dial-in users can call into meetings from an unauthenticated device, but gain access to the meeting as an authenticated user via PIN authentication. The 3 types of available service number represent the public facing numbers that provide dial-in access to the conferencing service.
Public Switch Telephone Network
The worlds telephone networks that are operated by national, regional, or local operators, and whose endpoints act as the dial-in meeting participants. Any mobile network or landline connected device with permissions to call the published service numbers can gain access to a Microsoft Audio Conferencing enabled meeting.
I’ve deliberately steered away from going into any kind of depth around any of the above, and instead tried to provide a very high level, diagrammatic overview of the Audio Conferencing service that might save you some chin-wagging, and I hope is useful to some.