SECOND IN A 5-PART SERIES

In part one of this series, my colleague Vince Griffin laid out some important considerations that savvy IT Managers should take into account before taking the plunge and migrating their organizations to Microsoft Teams.  Today we’ll focus on providing some general best practices around ensuring your company’s network is reviewed and ready. Performing a readiness review of the network is essential to ensure its ability to handle the traffic and operational rigor required for advanced calling and collaboration features available with Teams.

It’s important to understand that Microsoft Teams uses different types of traffic for each of its features, calling for unique networking requirements to facilitate simultaneous peer-to-peer communications, conferencing communications and the data moving between the Microsoft Teams client and Microsoft Edge. Organizations must ensure that external firewalls, internal firewalls, traffic shapers, proxy devices, and so on are all perfectly configured to provide the best path for the data traffic in order to avoid failure to the network.

 

What to Cover During a Basic Network Review?

Microsoft 365 Ports and Protocols being open on the Firewall (Internal and External)

The Microsoft Teams calling and meetings experience is built on the next generation cloud-based infrastructure that is also used by Skype and Skype for Business. These technology investments include Azure-based cloud services for media processing and signaling, H.264 video codec, SILK and Opus audio codec, network resiliency, telemetry, and quality diagnostics.  Microsoft is continuously improving all these services and adding new functionality, which means the required ports, URLs, and IP addresses may change over time. Check out the following link for more information: Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges

Use of Network Planner to identify if the bandwidth is enough to cover each site

Network Planner is a new tool that is available in the Microsoft Teams admin center. In just a few steps, the Network Planner can help you determine and organize network requirements for connecting Microsoft Teams users across your organization. When you provide your network details and Microsoft Teams usage, the Network Planner calculates your network requirements for deploying Microsoft Teams and cloud voice across your organization’s physical locations. 

Check for enough bandwidth on Internet facing links

When planning on the implementation of Microsoft Teams within your network, you must ensure you have the required bandwidth required for real-time media.  IT Managers who assume they have enough bandwidth and attempt to deploy Microsoft Teams without proper planning and design will quickly start receiving reports about sub-optimal audio or video quality. In most cases, Microsoft Teams is not the issue, it’s usually something within the network.

Check for poor or insufficient Wi-Fi coverage

Wi-Fi networks aren’t necessarily designed or configured to support real-time media. Optimizing a Wi-Fi network to support Microsoft Teams is an important consideration for a high-quality deployment. Ensure that media traffic is getting prioritized accordingly over the Wi-Fi networks and be thoughtful about optimizing access point placement so that channels don’t overlap.

Check for any problematic subnets or network devices

To increase user satisfaction, you should limit any impairments on your network. The most common network impairments are delay (latency), packet loss, and jitter. When testing for these impairments you should test on each subnet with Microsoft Teams enable users.

Don’t forget the VPN!

Another common mistake that we see a lot is when organizations forget to think about configuring a VPN for employees who work from home. A misconfigured VPN for Microsoft Teams will be a complete headache for remote user and your support desk alike. Remote offices should be considered as well. Regardless of whether they use local internet or obtain it by connecting to the HQ, don’t forget to account for the fact that all traffic used by these offices adds to bandwidth consumption!

 Still in Need of a Hand?

While Microsoft does offer a number of tools to help with network assessment, you may still need help depending on your team’s expertise and/or size and the scale of your organization’s network. Poly offers a couple of options for network assessment including Poly Network Readiness for Microsoft Teams and Network Assessment Advanced where our experts can assist and advise on the network requirements to ensure that users have the best possible experience.

For more information about Poly Services for Microsoft Solutions including our Network Assessment Services, email us at TeamMicrosoft@poly.com or visit https://www.polycom.com/collaboration-solutions/microsoft-unified-communications/microsoft-teams.html.

Poly will be at ISE 2020 (Integrated Systems Europe) exhibition in Amsterdam on February 11-14, so if you would like to discuss things in more detail, visit us in the Smart Building, Booth 9 B-175.