HOW TO: Create Lync Server Custom, Scalable Voice Dial Plans– Part 1

I love the Lync Server 2013 location-based routing of phone calls, but location-based dialing habits is still not a feature of Lync.  I was able to solve the problem by making the dial plan configuration much smoother and more organized.

Like any phone system, large dial plans can be challenging with a growing number offices that each require special dialing habits.  My recent customer has the requirement to provide 4 digit intra-office, 7 digit inter-office, & 10+ digit external dialing habits as we migrate over 40 offices to Lync Enterprise Voice this year.  I will be writing a multi-part blog to explain how we used a tiered dial plan and powershell scripts to automate the deployment process.  As a dial planning refresher, you may want to check out Ken Lasko’s Lync Enterprise Voice Best Practices and Internal Extension Dialing in Lync.

PROBLEM

Lync’s voice configuration requires the administrator to define the list of normalization rules on every office’s dial plan, since there is no hierarchy.  For example, every office needs localized normalization rules for dialing the operator at “0” and 4 digit dialing at each office will be different.  However, all office have the same dialing habits for company 7 digit office extensions, 10 digit local/long distance, & international dialing.  When you add these up, each dial plan will contain over 70 normalization rules.  This can become cumbersome to manage as you deploy each office

SOLUTION

To aid in this deployment process, we built and maintain multiple “baseline” dial plans which are copied into each new office’s dial plan.  This allows for an easy deployment process.  Updating previous office dial plans can be scripted to inject the new 7 digit extension rules (later blog). 

DESIGN

Here are representations of each of the base dial plans and example normalization rules.  When a new office dial plan is built, the administrator can simply copy/paste the rules from these base plans into the new one and modify a few rules.

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Steps to deploy a new office’s phone number range

  1. Add a new 7 Digit normalization rule to the Base-NA-7Digit dial plan for the new DID block
  2. Create a new Office Dial Plan
  3. Copy the Normalization Rules from Base-NA-Operator
  4. Copy the Normalization Rules from Base-NA-4Digit
  5. Copy the Normalization Rules from Base-NA-7Digit
  6. Copy the Normalization Rules from Base-NA-PSTN
  7. Modify the Operator and 4 Digit rules within the new Office Dial Plan
  8. Update the other office dial plans with the new office’s 7 Digit normalization rule

The resulting office dial plan will contain the normalizations rules for the entire company as well as office specific rules.

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CONCLUSION

This is simply one method to manage growing Lync Voice deployments.  I would love to hear how you deal with the administration of dozens of custom dial plans.

This solution has been working extremely well for my client since last year, and they love using the update script to maintain the consistency.  Stay tuned for the automated process to deploy changes. 

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