This post is part of the overall MS-700 Exam Study Guide. Links to each topic as they are posted can be found here.
In this section I will go through the following topics relating to network planning for Microsoft Teams.
- Calculate network bandwidth capacity for Microsoft Teams voice, video, meetings, and Live Events
- Analyze network usage by using Network Planner
- Specify requirements for outbound network ports and protocols for Microsoft Teams
- Determine WAN optimizer, proxy, and load balancer recommendations for Microsoft Teams
Calculate network bandwidth capacity for Microsoft Teams voice, video, meetings, and Live Events
Calculating bandwidth requirements for Teams is not an exact science, there will always be assumptions – right down to user behaviour. There are however resources available to help you to get an idea of what you’re looking at. I’ll touch on some of them in this post but as a basic starting point, Microsoft have made available a handy table for high level bandwidth calculations (Table 1).
The above table outlines the per user requirements. As the number of users on a particular network segment scales, so too do the requirements. For instance, let’s take 10 users on a single LAN. Assuming there are no bottlenecks on the network, for those 10 users to participate in a single video enabled meeting, the recommended minimum bandwidth available on the network for Teams is 1,500 Kb/s upload and 2,000 Kb/s download (assuming the users are only connected on one device each).
Teams quality will also scale according to the available bandwidth, for example, on congested networks the video resolution and FPS will drop, while on networks with enough network, this will increase.
There are of course other factors such as QOS, WiFi signal that can impact Teams and ways to identify congestion which I will touch on in this series but as a high-level estimate, the published table gives a good ballpark figure to start with.
Analyze network usage by using Network Planner
The Teams Network Planner is a tool available in the Teams Admin Center (TAC) that can be used to calculate the network requirements prior to deploying Teams across multiple physical locations. There are two components to keep in mind when using the network planner: Plans and Personas. Plans represent the configuration of physical networks and subnets and personas represent types of users (to help calculate bandwidth requirements).
The Network Planner can be accessed by opening the TAC and navigating to “Planning” -> “Network Planner”. From here, first open “Personas” and you can see that there are three personas configured out of the box. Based on what features will be available to your users (Figure 1), additional personas can also be configured to represent specific user groups.
When personas have been created, a plan can be configured. Creating a new plan will first ask you to add a network site. Create the site to represent the configuration of your physical network(s) as shown in Figure 2.
With the site configured, open the “Reports” tab to create a new report based on the information you provided. In the report page, add the breakdown of user personas based on the number of users in the site(s) (Figure 3) and click “Generate Report”.
Once the report runs, we get an idea of what bandwidth would look like on our network(s) for the personas we selected. For example, in Figure 4, we see that based on an allowance of 30% of the total bandwidth on the network for Teams, the planner has detected that there will be insufficient bandwidth at this site. If we could dedicate more than 30% to Teams – say, 50% of our total, then we would have sufficient bandwidth for our deployment but other network factors and business apps need to be considered to decide how much can be dedicated to Teams.
The Network Planner can be used to get a more accurate picture of what the bandwidth requirements look like and how they can fit in to the existing network.
Specify requirements for outbound network ports and protocols for Microsoft Teams
Outbound network ports for Teams is quite simple. The individual endpoints and ports are detailed in the Microsoft Documentation and mainly consist of TCP 80 and 443. There are some UDP endpoints required also (3478 – 3481) which handle voice and video traffic. There’s not much exciting about the port lists but it’s worth going over and taking note of the endpoints for the exam.
Determine WAN optimizer, proxy, and load balancer recommendations for Microsoft Teams
Many corporate networks utilize WAN optimization or proxy devices to improve and/or secure connectivity to the internet. It is not recommended to have any device or proxy sitting in between the end users device and the Microsoft 365 services. As a best practice, traffic should break out to the internet as close to the end user as possible and travel directly to Microsofts network. Any additional hops will add latency and impact performance. Appliances such as web proxies with packet inspection are also known to cause issues with latency or disconnections from Microsoft 365 so should also be avoided.
This doesn’t mean the entire network needs to bypass these appliances or routes for all internet traffic and the recommendation is to use the documentation to selectively bypass proxying for Microsoft 365 traffic as defined by the Microsoft 365 endpoint IPs and FQDNs.
More information on this topic is available here.
Network planning is key to getting the most out of Microsoft Teams and while it’s not the most exciting piece of the puzzle, it’s extremely important to end user experience that the work is put in up front.
For more information on the topics covered in this post check out the Microsoft Documentation for Teams network planning:
Prepare your organization’s network for Teams – Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Docs