When you're planning to introduce Microsoft Teams to your organization, it is important to ensure that your users can use it effectively. Network and bandwidth issues will negatively impact your users' experience with Microsoft Teams. Therefore, assessing your network's ability to run Teams smoothly will be critical to the success of your Teams rollout.
In this chapter, you will learn how to assess and determine your network requirements for a successful Microsoft Teams deployment within your organization. You will also learn how to calculate the required bandwidth you will need for Teams meetings and live events, how to use the Teams Network Planner tool in the Teams admin center, and how to configure the required network ports and protocols that are required by Microsoft Teams.
Additionally, you will learn how to determine WAN optimizer, proxy, and load balancer settings, configure Tenant Data Upload in the Microsoft Call Quality Dashboard (CQD), use reporting labels, and optimize media configuration using Quality of Service (QoS) port ranges and Differentiated Services code point (DCSP) markings.
In this chapter, we're going to cover the following main topics:
- Calculating the network bandwidth capacity for Microsoft Teams voice, video, meetings, and live events
- Analyzing network usage by using Network Planner
- Specifying the requirements for outbound network ports and protocols for Microsoft Teams
- Determining WAN optimizer, proxy, and load balancer recommendations for Microsoft Teams
- Configuring Tenant Data Upload in Microsoft CQD
- Configuring reporting labels for Microsoft Teams
- Assessing network readiness by using the Microsoft 365 network connectivity test and dashboard
- Configuring QoS port ranges and DSCP markings
For this chapter, you need access to the Microsoft Teams admin center, which you can reach at https://admin.teams.microsoft.com. You will also need the global administrator, Teams service administrator, or Teams communications administrator role to complete the steps provided in this chapter.
Calculating the network bandwidth capacity for Microsoft Teams voice, video, meetings, and live events
However, before we look at how, we need to understand why and when you should plan to introduce Microsoft Teams into your organization. It's important to understand the way Teams prioritizes QoS concerning the state of your network. An example of how this works can be observed when Teams detects limited bandwidth. Here, the audio quality is given priority over video quality. Teams will always attempt to maximize both audio and video quality, and the better your bandwidth, the better your experience will be.
Where unlimited bandwidth is available, Teams can provide up to 1080p video resolution. HD video can be delivered in under 1.2 Mbps, which shows that Teams only uses what it needs to deliver the best possible experience.
Now that we have set the scene in terms of what is required, let's look at how you can interrogate your network to assess and determine your readiness and establish your network requirements.
Analyzing network usage by using Network Planner
When you wish to identify your organization's network requirements for Microsoft Teams, you should use the Network Planner tool. In this section, we will introduce you to Network Planner and show you how to use it to plan for your Teams deployment.
Using Network Planner
Network Planner is a tool that can be found in the Teams admin center and is used to calculate and plan your organization's network requirements for connecting to Microsoft Teams. By inputting details relating to your network, as well as your anticipated usage of Teams, Network Planner will provide calculations for network requirements for you to successfully deploy Teams to your business locations.
The tool works by using personas that you create. Alternatively, you can use some built-in personas that are recommended by Microsoft. These personas are used to assess some typical usage scenarios. Running these persona exercises enables you to extract reports that guide you on your network requirements.
- From your internet browser, log into the Microsoft Teams admin center by navigating to https://admin.teams.microsoft.com and signing in with your Microsoft 365 credentials:
- From the admin center, choose Planning | Network planner, as shown in the following screenshot:
- First, we need to use a built-in persona. We can also create a custom persona for this step. To do this, click on Personas. This will show you the three built-in Microsoft personas, which are Teams Rooms on Windows, Remote worker, and Office worker, as shown in the following screenshot:
- You may examine the settings of these built-in personas by clicking on each one. However, you will be unable to edit these personas, as shown in the following screenshot:
- In most situations, the built-in personas will suffice. However, you may also click + Add to create custom personas. This allows you to be more selective in the persona settings you choose, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Click Apply to finish creating your custom persona. Your new custom persona will be displayed, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Now that we have examined our available personas, we need to build a network plan. To do this, we need to click on Network plans and select Add:
- Enter a name and description for your plan. Then, click Apply:
- Your newly created network plan will now appear in your list of Network plans, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Click on Add a network site and add the details for your site as per the following screenshot. A site may represent a location or a building complex. It is a best practice to create local sites first, before creating sites that connect remotely through the internet or Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTNs):
- Scroll down and set the values you require for the settings shown in the following screenshot and click Save:
- Now that your network sites are ready, you can use these sites to create reports. To do this, select Report and click on Start a report:
- By default, the Microsoft default personas will be selected here, and the network user amounts will be automatically calculated. You may add more personas if required and distribute the user numbers manually. Once you have made your choices, click on Generate report:
- The projected impact of the settings that you chose will now be shown, as shown in the following screenshot:
- You may run the report again later if you wish and use the options at the top right of the preceding screenshot to switch between views and export your report as a PDF.
With that, you have seen how Network Planner can help you introduce Teams to your business locations. Next, we will look at outbound network ports and protocols requirements.
Specifying the requirements for outbound network ports and protocols for Microsoft Teams
Although we understand the bandwidth requirements and how to use Network Planner for a Microsoft Teams deployment, we also need to be aware that several network ports and protocols will need to be opened on your organization's firewalls to ensure that Teams works correctly.
Opening media ports
Creating the required DNS records for custom domains
The first of these records is as follows:
- Value: sipdir.online.lync.com
The second of these records is as follows:
- Value: webdir.online.lync.com
In addition to these ports and DNS records, several more ports and protocols relate to Microsoft Teams. It is highly recommended that you review and familiarize yourself with them by reviewing the relevant Microsoft documentation, which can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/enterprise/urls-and-ip-address-ranges?view=o365-worldwide#skype-for-business-online-and-microsoft-teams.
Skype for Business Online was retired at the end of July 2021.
Understanding the steps that you need to complete concerning these ports and protocols is a key part of ensuring the success of your Microsoft Teams deployment.
Next, we will look at WAN optimizer, proxy, and load balancer options for Microsoft Teams.
Determining WAN optimizer, proxy, and load balancer recommendations for Microsoft Teams
Planning for network capacity is an important consideration when you're deploying Microsoft Teams. When you consider all the devices that can exist on a network, such as clients, servers, routers, and hubs, adequate network capacity helps prevent the saturation of such devices. In this section, we will discuss how you can optimize your WAN, apply load balancing, and configure proxy servers.
If you use a WAN optimizer or acceleration proxy in your organization, Office 365 services, including Microsoft Teams, may encounter some problems, so you may need to look at optimizing your network devices to provide a consistent user experience. One such example could be that the content and headers that are encrypted by Office 365 may not be able to be handled by some of your devices.
Microsoft provides some guidance on this subject, which can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-US/office365/troubleshoot/miscellaneous/office-365-third-party-network-devices.
Should your organization need to use a hardware or software load balancing solution to distribute requests to your environment, they can use some available third-party options, along with Microsoft's own software-based network load balancer, which is built into Windows Server and supports Office 365. These services help ensure the availability of single sign-on.
Many organizations also use proxy servers to control what network endpoints can and cannot be accessed. Office 365 services often need to be excluded from these proxies to ensure connectivity to cloud services. Administrators need to stay on top of things such as changes to Office 365 IP ranges and URLs, manual proxy server bypass methods, and using a PAC file for directly routing Office 365 traffic.
Microsoft provides additional guidance on this subject, which can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/enterprise/managing-office-365-endpoints.
Next, let's look at configuring Tenant Data Upload in Microsoft CQD.
Configuring Tenant Data Upload in Microsoft CQD
To upload tenant data, we need to follow these steps:
- Open Microsoft CQD from the Teams admin center at https://admin.teams.microsoft.com and navigate to Analytics & Reports | Call quality dashboard. You can also navigate directly to https://cqd.teams.microsoft.com. The following screenshot shows CQD:
- Click on the cogwheel at the top right of the page, then select Tenant Data Upload. This will take you to the following page:
- First, you must upload building data. You can do this by creating and uploading a building map. Microsoft's guide on the tools you can use to create your building map can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/cqd-building-mapping.
- Once you have created and uploaded your building map, you need to create and upload a tenant data file. A template for this file can be downloaded from https://github.com/MicrosoftDocs/OfficeDocs-SkypeForBusiness/blob/live/Teams/downloads/locations-template.zip?raw=true.
Further details on this process can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/cqd-upload-tenant-building-data. Uploading your building and tenant data is highly beneficial if you wish to interpret your CQD data because it makes it easier to view locations and endpoints in the dashboard.
Next, we'll look at configuring reporting labels for Microsoft Teams.
Configuring reporting labels for Microsoft Teams
Reporting labels are a feature in the Microsoft Teams admin center that is used to indicate the physical locations of your business premises. Administrators can upload a text file (in
.tsv format) that contains a list of these locations, along with details of their network subnets. This information is then used to generate reports in call analytics.
To configure reporting labels, follow these steps:
- Go to the Teams admin center at https://admin.teams.microsoft.com and navigate to Analytics & reports | Reporting labels:
- Click Upload. This will take you to the page shown in the following screenshot, where you may download a template
.csvfile to complete your location data. Once your file is ready, select it and click Upload:
- Once uploaded, you will return to the main Reporting labels page, where you will now see a location summary showing the number of locations and IP subnets. This information can now be used in call quality reports, as shown in the following screenshot:
Assessing network readiness by using the Microsoft 365 network connectivity test and dashboard
Another useful tool that administrators can leverage to prepare for deploying Microsoft Teams is the Microsoft 365 network connectivity test, which can be accessed at https://connectivity.office.com. This is shown in the following screenshot:
Finally, let's look at configuring QoS port ranges and DSCP markings.
Configuring QoS port ranges and DSCP markings
To configure QoS for Teams, we need to go to the Teams admin center at https://admin.teams.microsoft.com and follow these steps:
- Navigate to Meetings | Meeting settings:
- Scroll down to the Network section and move the slider next to Insert Quality of Service (QoS) markers for real-time media traffic to On, as shown in the following screenshot:
- By default, Specify port ranges will be selected here. These port ranges will be set to Microsoft's recommended ranges for the three media types, which are Audio, Video, and Screen sharing. You may also choose the option to Automatically use any available ports. If you choose this option, any available ports in the range of
1024-65535may be used.
- Once you have chosen your network settings, click Save to complete the configuration:
Now that we have chosen and enabled the QoS settings in the Teams admin center, we need to configure a Group Policy object for each of the three media traffic types by using the Group Policy Management console on a domain controller or server in your network.
Configuring Group Policy objects
- From your domain controller or server, open the Group Policy Management console area by clicking on the Windows Start button, typing
gpmc.msc, and pressing the Enter key.
- Navigate to Computer Configuration | Windows Settings | Policy-based QoS, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Right-click on Policy-based QoS and select Create new policy...:
- Under Policy name, type Teams Audio policy. Then, make sure that the Specify DSCP Value field is checked and has its value set to 46. Click Next:
- Under the This QoS policy applies to section, ensure that the Only applications with this executable name field is checked and set the value to
Teams.exe. Click Next:
- On the next screen, leave the default selections in place. Click Next:
- Under the Specify the protocol and port numbers section, choose From this source port number or range and enter a Teams audio range of 50000:50019. Click Finish:
Once completed, you will need to repeat this process for the Teams video and screen sharing media types. The required DSCP values for these media types are
18, respectively. Once you have completed the setup for all three media types, the Policy-based QoS section of Computer Configuration will appear, as shown in the following screenshot:
Once you have deployed these Group Policy settings, they can be confirmed on each target device by inspecting the Windows registry at the
If QoS is not effective in improving your Teams media performance, it is recommended that you investigate improving your network capacity and bandwidth to improve your users' experience with Microsoft Teams.
In this section, we introduced you to the principles of QoS for Microsoft Teams. We looked at the scenarios that you need to consider while deploying QoS, how to set it up in the Meeting settings section of the Teams admin center, and how to deploy it to your users by setting up Group Policy objects.
In this chapter, we explained the steps for assessing your network readiness for a Microsoft Teams deployment. You learned what the network and bandwidth requirements are, and how to interrogate your network for readiness with Network Planner. We also explained that several ports and protocols need to be configured on your network to allow Microsoft Teams to work. Finally, we showed you how QoS can be used to prioritize network bandwidth to ensure that your users get the best experience with Teams media types such as audio, video, and screen sharing.
In the next chapter, we will introduce you to the principles of licensing within Microsoft Teams. You will learn how to identify the licensing requirements that are required for Microsoft Teams concerning compliance features, advanced life cycle management, and guest access. In addition to that, we will talk about the appropriate licensing for calling, Phone System, and resource accounts within Microsoft Teams, Teams Rooms, and common area phones, and which licenses are needed for apps for Microsoft Teams.
Answer the following questions to test your knowledge of this chapter:
- Which of the following is the correct URL for the Microsoft 365 network connectivity test?
- Which of the following is not one of the specified port ranges for Teams media types?
- True or false – QoS in Microsoft Teams is designed to improve media performance during Teams meetings.
- Which of the following is not one of the available options in the Network Planner tool?
- Network plans
- Network organization chart
- Network sites
- True or false – When you're configuring QoS in the Teams admin center, selecting the option to automatically set the media ports will result in the ports from ranges
- Which of the following is not one of the media services within Teams that can be improved by using QoS?
- Teams audio
- Teams video
- Teams chat
- Teams screen share
- Where in the Teams admin center would you configure the Network Planner tool?
- Meetings | Live events policies
- Meetings | Meeting policies
- Planning | Network Planner
- Meetings | Live events settings
- True or false – The Microsoft 365 network connectivity test can be used to analyze the connectivity between your device and the internet, and from there to Microsoft's network.
- Which of the following is not one of the built-in Microsoft personas that can be used with the Network Planner tool?
- Teams Rooms on Windows
- Office worker
- Firstline worker
- Remote worker
- True or false – Using the Teams Network Planner tool, it is not possible to create custom personas.
To learn more about the topics that were covered in this chapter, take a look at the following resources:
- Preparing your organization's network for Microsoft Teams: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/prepare-network
- Use the Network Planner for Microsoft Teams: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/network-planner
- Using Network Planner – example scenario: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-US/microsoftteams/tutorial-network-planner-example
- Review Teams networking requirements: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/learn/modules/m365-teams-collab-prepare-deployment/review-networking-requirements
- Network ports and protocols for Microsoft Teams: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/enterprise/urls-and-ip-address-ranges?view=o365-worldwide#skype-for-business-online-and-microsoft-teams
- Implementing Quality of Service (QoS) in Microsoft Teams: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-US/microsoftteams/qos-in-teams