Plan your Network in Microsoft Teams (2019) - Part 1 - Perficient Blogs
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Plan your Network in Microsoft Teams (2019) – Part 1

With 2019 in full swing, your organization may be looking to upgrade your infrastructure. One of those areas may include your telephony, instant messaging platform, or audio conferencing platform. Well, why not knock out all 3 at once by using Microsoft Teams as you hub for teamwork! Having all of these capabilities ready to use in one location can significantly improve end-user productivity and organization.

In this blog series we’ll be covering what exactly you’ll need to take into account in terms of networking to ensure you have the optimal Microsoft Teams experience. For this first blog article, I’ll be covering the topics on a high level. In the subsequent blog articles we’ll take a deeper dive into each of these topics so you can have a deep level of understanding on what will be required to support Microsoft Teams on your network. With that said, let’s jump right in!

Teams Networking Requirements

The first thing you must always consider before implementing a new tool/application into your environment is:

  1. Do I have connectivity to the Office365 network?
    • Do you have all required IPs and ports reachable
    • How is your traffic routed from your network to the Office 365 network
  2. What is the quality of our network?
    • What is your latency, jitter, packet loss, and packet re-order ratio
  3. Do I have sufficient bandwidth?
    • Do you have enough bandwidth to support all users in your organization that will be using Teams

Once you are able to provide answers to the questions above you will be well on your way to having Teams running smoothly on your network. Now let’s take a look at some of these topics in more detail.

IPs and ports in Office 365

As you may know, Microsoft Teams is the hub for teamwork, thus it is build explicitly on Office 365. With that said, you’ll need to make sure you meet the necessary requirements for all the underlying technologies in Office 365 that Teams leverages (SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Exchange, and many other Office 365 workloads). In addition, you’ll want to take a look at your types of traffic on your network. Specifically your Real time media traffic and your non-media traffic. Real Time Media traffic includes your audio, video, desktop sharing (anything you are doing in a call/meeting).

Microsoft Teams Real time media operates on the following ports:

  • 3478-3481 UDP

In addition, Microsoft Teams utilizes two different IP ranges which are as follows:

  • 13.107.64.0/18
  • 52.112.0.0/14

You will need to ensure those ports are opened and those IP ranges are allowed in your environment to ensure the most direct route for your media traffic. Speaking of direct route, you’ll want to ensure there are no proxies, traffic shapers, or other network optimizing devices in the path of the Teams traffic. Many times, if one of the network optimizing devices manipulates the Teams traffic it will force the traffic to use TCP 443 rather than the preferred UDP ports. In addition, network optimizing devices will add latency to the mix or break the media connection all together causing a very poor end user experience. With that said, it is very important to optimize your traffic by bypassing these types of devices. As for the non-media traffic, I encourage you to checkout https://aka.ms/O365Endpoints for the complete list.

Performance Requirements

In order to ensure you have optimal media quality, you should meet the following network performance metrics:

Value Client to Microsoft Edge Customer Edge to Microsoft Edge
Latency (one way) < 50ms < 30ms
Latency (RTT or Round-trip Time) < 100ms < 60ms
Burst packet loss <10% during any 200ms interval <1% during any 200ms interval
Packet loss <1% during any 15s interval <0.1% during any 15s interval
Packet inter-arrival Jitter <30ms during any 15s interval <15ms during any 15s interval
Packet reorder <0.05% out-of-order packets <0.01% out-of-order packets

For more information on these requirements please see: https://aka.ms/PerformanceRequirements

If you are unsure of what these terms mean or how they are measured, don’t worry I’ll be covering this in a subsequent blog. The intent of this article is to just lay the foundation and have the subsequent blogs provide a deep dive into each of these topics.

Bandwidth Requirements

One of the most crucial areas with any real time media tool is the consumption of bandwidth and unfortunately sometimes the lack there of. Insufficient bandwidth is one of the hardest things to get around since it often requires a significant overhaul to your networking hardware and a large effort to get more bandwidth allocated. With that said, Microsoft has a handy tool that you can use to ensure your network can support Microsoft Teams. This tool is called the Microsoft Network Planner and I highly encourage you to fill this out so you can have a peace of mind when you start to implement Teams in your organization.

Wi-Fi Considerations

In addition, there are several things you can do to improve and optimize your media traffic, specifically relating to your wireless network:

  1. Implement QoS or WFF (Wi-Fi Multimedia) for your media traffic
  2. Plan and optimize your Wi-Fi bands and access point placements
  3. Implement band steering for your dual-band Wi-Fi to encourage your dual-band clients to use the 5 GHz range
  4. Avoid signal overlap by using different channels

User Education

User education can actually go a long ways when planning for your network. By educating your users on how Microsoft Teams works, you can set expectations early so they can contribute to better quality in terms of networking. In my last point I mentioned some Wi-Fi considerations, this goes for user education as well, in that each user should prefer a wired connection over a wireless connection. Although not ideal, (as some laptops nowadays don’t even have an Ethernet ports anymore) it is still the preferred method of connection nevertheless. However, if you only have a wireless connection, try to move to areas with a stronger connection which will reflect better call quality. Many users nowadays work from home.

With that said, it is important to educate your users to ensure they have sufficient upload/download speeds and encourage them to leverage a provider with good peering to Microsoft so you can ensure the most optimal path from your ISP to Microsoft. Although this may not seem practical to tell your users what ISP they need to use, it can always help to at least provide recommendations. For more user education content beyond networking, I encourage you to visit https://aka.ms/teams-quality.

This wraps up everything that needs to be covered on a high level to ensure you have an optimal network for Microsoft Teams. In the next few blogs I’ll be going through each of the topics mentioned in this article, but in more detail. This will allow you to understand each topic on a more granular level so you can feel ready when it comes time to plan for Teams in your environment. I hope you have found this article helpful, and I’ll see you in the next blog where we do our deep dive!

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