1. Planning for Successful Network Deployment involving Teams
One of the things that’s very important in planning your team’s experience for your users as well as the entire company is thinking in terms of your network consumption. Now obviously, when you start utilising team meetings and conferences and all this voice-over IP stuff, you definitely have to be concerned about the amount of bandwidth consumption you’re dealing with. Now, from a real-world standpoint, although very important from an exam standpoint, this is actually not something that’s heavily tested. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, but there are a few exam-related tidbits to be aware of here. However, it has not been extensively tested, but from a practical standpoint, it is something we should consider if we are deploying teams in our organization. Now, Microsoft has some great information here. They have some things you can try out and others you can test. And I encourage you to look at this. So we’re going to start out.
We’re just right here on a little search engine, and we’re just going to search for network consumption for teams. If you put that in something like Google, there is an article here that says “Prepare your organization’s network for teams.” So I encourage you to check this out. I’m going to start out with it. We’ll come up here to the very top, and again, it’s called Prepare Your Organization’s Network for Teams. So a couple of things here: This is also a nice little checklist for you to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row if you’re planning on deploying teams. Now, first off, let’s think in terms of just Microsoft 365 and Office 365 in general, okay? So the main thing they tell you is, of course, that your users have to have access to the Internet. They tell you that there are supports that have to be opened. They mentioned UDP ports 34 78 through 34 81 and then the IP addresses they’ve got listed there. Okay? But before I look too deeply into that, I want to look at this right here. It says to optimise your network for Microsoft 365 and Office 365.
So I’m going to open that link, and there’s a nice little tool if you scroll down on this article, the Microsoft 365 Connectivity Test. So let’s click on that, and you can put a zip code in here. You could put a city here. For example, let’s say you live in Atlanta, Georgia. Or how about Orlando, Florida? We’ll plug that in, and it’ll give you some information on your nearest connections for connecting to Microsoft 365 services. I like to click on these details and solutions, and it points out some information, shows you sort of your nearest locations from where you are, where you’re trying to connect, and gives you some details on connectivity from where you are based on where your users are connecting from and what kind of latency and things like that you could expect.
So, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to check that out for one. Now, let’s get back to this article. Okay, so there are a couple of things they say you can do for network optimization. There are some tools that you can utilize, for example, Network Planner. We’re going to take a look at that here, coming up. So a few things here involve making sure that you’ve got everything set up that’s needed in regards to the network. So you can kind of, again, kind of use this as a little checklist, but I want to look at the bandwidth requirements here.
So if you take a look, they kind of break it down for you. 30 kbps peer-to-peer audio calling 130 KB for peer-to-peer audio calling and screen sharing. 500 kbps for peer-to-peer quality video; they tell you 360 p and 30 frames per second. Peer-to-peer high-definition quality calling at HD resolutions requires one and a half megabits per second. Seven hundred and twenty P. 1.5 megabits at 30 frames per second. If you go up to right group calling, they tell you that HD group video calling requires 500 megabits per second. Okay, so I think that gives you a nice little breakdown as far as bandwidth requirements are concerned.
You definitely want to be thinking about that and thinking in regards to how many people are going to be making calls at a time to make sure that you’ve got the amount of bandwidth that’s going to be needed in order to handle all this. Again, though, there is a great tool that’s going to assist with this called Network Planner, which we’re going to be looking at coming up here in just a second.
Another thing you can do is, when it comes to making calls, use something called CQD. This is the call quality dashboard, and this can also help you gain some insights into call analytics and all that. Again, we haven’t really gotten a whole lot into the call side of things yet, but I just wanted to go ahead and point out that that’s available to you as well. But again, one of the things that you can definitely do here is to sort of wrap your brain around the amount of bandwidth we’re talking about by going through this article and taking a look at things.
And again, I’m going to be showing you this stuff too. But I also encourage you to pull up this article and just kind of read through it, making sure that you’ve got everything set up on your end. If you’re going to be doing a deployment with teams, make sure that your network can handle the amount of load that you’re going to put on it. Okay, so we’re now going to take a deeper look at a few things and see what we can do to analyse our environment and make sure that we do have the bandwidth that we need.
2. Using Network Planner to calculate bandwidth capacity
So we’re now going to take a look at Network Planner. Network Planner is going to help you plan your bandwidth capacity by involving teams. So let’s take a look by starting out here on Portal, Microsoft.com, and under Admin Centers, you should see Teams. If not, click “Show All,” and you should be able to get to it from there.
All right, so we’re going into the Teams Admin Center here, and if you look over to the left, you’re going to see a little dropdown that says Planning. You’re just going to drop that down, and you’ll see Network Planner right there. So we’ll go ahead and click on that. Okay, so Network Planner, this is where you’re going to plug some information in that’s going to help you with testing out and performing some calculations for your network requirements involving remints in So you can add a network plan, and then you’ve also got these things called personas. Personas are going to allow you to sort things out and plan things involving different types of people that work in your organization. So, for example, we’ve got the “Teamsroom” system, remote workers, and office workers. You can click “Add” right here. You could add another persona. Like I could add “Executive” and turn it on, I could specify all these things that an executive is going to be doing on average and hit “Apply” and create that new persona.
Now I’ll also say that I don’t have access to the Fortune 500 company system here that I could show you guys. But I want to tell you that Microsoft has a really nice little practise that you can do for setting all this up and testing things out. And I want to tell you that you should probably jump in and do that. Let me show you how you can get into this. If you go to a search engine like Google or something and type “Teams, network planner,” they have a great little article for you to check out here called Using Network Planner Example Scenario. Okay, so let’s click on that article, and this little scenario is going to help you with testing things out involving a fake company, Microsoft’s favourite company named Contoso. and they’re going to tell you they have three locations. They have Seattle, which is their headquarters, and they tell you it has 1000 employees. 25 of them are calling only. You have a Kirkland office with 400 employees, but only ten of them are calling. Only 50 of the 250 employees in the Denver office are on the phone.
It kind of breaks down how it’s all set up for you. And then what you’re going to do is click the little begin button here, and it’s going to walk you through adding this network plan for testing this out. So this is sort of like a little lab. So it’s something you could try out yourself. You can kind of walk through this. All right, it tells you exactly where to click and what to do. All right, so you’re going to go through this, and it’s going to have you add the different personas step by step. You’re going to plug these numbers in, all right? So you’ll have three sites. You’ll plug the numbers in and walk through it just like this, all right? and you’ll generate your little report. Okay? I can show this to you, and I could do it myself, but actually, I think this is a great little experience for you to try out yourself and test it on your own and with your little tenant, if you want to try that out and get a little hands-on experience.
And this is what you’re going to get from it—it’s going to generate these numbers for you and give you some good insight into what kind of bandwidth is going to be taken up by this. So, again, check this out. Jump in and try this out right now. If it’s something you want to try, you’re implementing it in your company. Now, again, I would like to say if you’re taking the team’s exam, this is not a heavily tested topic at all. There’s very little, test-wise, here. I would definitely know what a network planner is and all that, but this isn’t something they’re going to beat you to death with on the test. But if you’re doing this in the real world and you’re learning this for the real world, then I definitely encourage you to go through and try that out. But Network Planner is definitely a nice little tool for you to check out, plug some numbers in, and see what you get.
3. Assessing Network Readiness using the Network Testing Companion
We’re now going to talk about a tool called the Network Testing Companion. Now this is a great little tool that Microsoft has set up for us so that we can actually test connectivity with teams. But it is going to involve you opening up PowerShell. Okay? So the first thing to do is open up PowerShell, and you can either type the commands I’ve got up on my screen directly into PowerShell, or if you want to do it in the shell like I’m doing here, you can.
So just open up PowerShell, and you’re going to run the following command: So what exactly are these commands doing? This first command is just going to change your execution policy. That is the policy that lets you run scripts. Now this is going to have to be run as a script in order for it to work. So this is why it’s important. All right, so set the execution policy, and then sign remotely. That’s going to basically allow you to run signed scripts, so you can hit Play on that, and then you’re going to run this command right here. Install ModuleName as your network testing companion. All right, so from there, this is going to download and install the module for you. So you’re just going to hit play on that or type it directly in PowerShell.
And then at that point, you’re going to run this little command here, “Invoke Tool.” Create shortcut. So you hit Play on that; it’s going to add a little shortcut to your desktop, and then you’re going to go ahead and run that shortcut. So I’m going to go and run that shortcut now, and it’ll pop up on my screen. So here is the network testing companion. All right, so the first order of business here is to click “Install.” So let’s go ahead and click “Install.” All right, and it’s now installing on my machine. I’m going to get a little pop-up. Basically, User Account Control, if you’re doing this in Windows, is going to pop up. You’ve just got to say yes to that, and it’s going to install. So I’m going to pause the video and let it install. Okay, so now that it’s done installing, I’m just going to click Start, and it’s now going to run a connectivity test. All right, you may get a message about your firewall.
You can allow access to that, and we’re going to go ahead and let that run. We’ll let it run for a minute, and then I’m going to pause the video so that you guys don’t have to wait and sit here staring at my screen while it’s running. The test takes maybe a couple of minutes, depending on bandwidth, to run through. But it’s complete now, and as you can see, I have verified connectivity as well as my audio quality, which is good. Tell the operating system to make sure all that checks out and my Internet connection checks out. It checks to see if there are any Microsoft Teams or Skype-certified devices present. There’s not. It also does the network assessment tool and checks to make sure everything is compatible as far as the network assessment is concerned. So everything’s good there. You can now click on “View Results,” which will bring up the Network Connectivity Report as well as the Network Quality Report.
So let’s click on the Network Connectivity Report, and as you can see, I can look through here, and it’s showing all these different IP connections. Everything went through successfully. Now, if you get an error, and I have experienced an error with this before, it will usually tell you toward the bottom that there is a port or something that’s blocked on your firewall, and then it’s just a matter of going and fixing that. OK, you can do the same thing here with network quality. So you get some good information here that shows you things like packet loss, latency, and all that good stuff, everything passed.It did say that; if this is a network edge connecting to the Microsoft Network edge, packet loss failed. There was jitter. So there’s definitely some latency there. It’s warning you if you’re on an edge-connected network. So if you’re not familiar with what’s known as QoS (quality of service), that involves the prioritisation of network traffic and all that. Now the network I’m on doesn’t have prioritisation for network equipment and all that’s involved right now.
So this is going to involve the fact that putting high-quality QoS information on their quality of service information to try to prioritise bandwidth isn’t on the network I’m on. So that’s not something that’s going to pass, essentially. All right, but ultimately everything else seems to be checking out just fine. And from a network consumption perspective, I should be safe to implement teams on the network I’m on; I can also look at settings, and you can play around a little bit with this. You can do a consecutive audio test. You can specify a single delay or multiple delays between audio tests. You can set a delay if you want, so it’s checking to see how a delay would affect things. They set the connectivity test timeout to 90 seconds. So, if the test does not complete within 90 seconds, it will time out. And then, of course, you can also verify the version of this tool that you’ve got right here as well. Yeah, this is a pretty simple little tool just to test things out, make sure things are good, and get a nice little report letting you know if there are going to be any issues, especially involving your firewall and all that. So you should definitely look into it, run the test yourself, and see what results you get.
4. Understanding QoS for Teams
this acronym before. QOS is quality of service. And quality of service is a technology that allows us to prioritise and classify traffic. OK? And so, you know, on a network, you have packets travelling the network, sort of like a road system involving these things called frames. Not to turn this into like a Networking 101 class, but I always like to use the analogy of it being kind of like how on the road when we drive cars, we have ambulances, firemen, and policemen, and everybody’s sort of first come, first served going down the road. But what if you see an ambulance, a police officer, or a fire truck approaching from behind you? You’re supposed to get out of the way and let those first responders through, right? They have priority over the roads.
So this is sort of the idea when it comes to QoS, okay? The idea being that certain traffic, such as your voiceover, IP type, audio, video, and all of that, should get a higher level of priority over a network than, say, somebody who’s just downloading a web page, viewing a website, or something like that. As a result, we want to ensure that everything remains in real time. So when communicating with teams and using voiceover and all of that video, this is all known as “real time streaming.” And we want to make sure that all of this has a higher priority so that things can happen in real time. Okay? So if you don’t have quality of service, you may encounter some issues, and your quality may suffer as a result. And some of the common terminology that’s used here is what’s called “jitter.” So if jitter occurs and your bandwidth is going up and down and up and down, this could end up resulting in things like missing words and syllables on your calls. It is hard to understand people. Another thing is packet loss. So packet loss can actually cause lower voice quality and make the person with whom you’re communicating sort of sound like a robot, okay? And then you’ve got what’s called RTT. This is delayed round-trip time, so packets are taking too long to get to their destination and then coming back. This will also cause a delay. And when you end up with a delay like that, you end up with people talking over each other.
So, if you’ve ever been there, you know it’s not fun. Okay, so the first thing you want to do is make sure your network is ready. This is what we’ve been talking about. So you want to do all the things that we’ve discussed about checking your bandwidth and making sure your quality is where it needs to be. You can check out the reports and the analytics. And this is all the stuff we’re looking at here in this course, as well as the call quality dashboard. And you can sort of check out and make sure that you’ve got everything that you need in order to handle the amount of bandwidth consumption that’s going on here. Now, the other thing I wantto talk about is QoS queues. So one of the things that we have involving QoS with our network devices is the ability to classify traffic. And this is all part of what QS does. And so when you have traffic that’s flowing across the network going into a router, the router is going to throw it into a queue. Now, if you haven’t actually broken things up into queues on your routers, well, it’s pretty much just going to be “first come, first served,” and there’s not going to be any prioritization. So it’s important to understand that side of things. You definitely—again, this is not a Cisco router class or any kind of router-oriented class—need to research that a little bit if you’re setting this up in the real world to understand QoS queues. And you would have to have that all set up on your end. Okay, so you would define the different queues. Here’s an example of this: You have an audio traffic queue, a video traffic queue, and then it’s got other traffic. Okay? So that’s a good idea to sort of set that up. And here are some examples too. They discuss Cisco’s priority queueing, which is class-based and weighted-fare. They have weighted random early detection as well. And these are just some of the things that Cisco supports that you could look into implementing if you wanted to utilise QoS zones so that you could prioritise that traffic.
Okay? Another thing is that there are two common QoS solutions that Microsoft recommends when it comes to teams. The first is called QoS via port-based tagging using Access Control Lists (ACLs.And the other is inserting Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP) markers, which is going to be done usually through GPOs (group policy objects) in the Windows world. Taking a deeper look at the first one, you have QS via port-base tagging. So what is that? So first off, you’re going to use the Access Control List on your router. So you’re going to go to your router and you’re going to set up access control lists (ACLs), okay? You can then do portbase tagging on those access control list entries for that traffic to classify it. And this is good because it’s going to be the most vendor-neutral platform for Windows, Mac, and Linux environments. It’s very easy to implement. You just have to know a little bit about the routing side of things, which, of course, we’re not really getting into the details of routers here, but you’d have to learn about that if you’re not already familiar with it. Okay, the other thing they tell you is that your mobile clients don’t provide a mechanism to mark traffic by using DSP values. So this would be required for them. OK? The other method is to use GPO to insert the SCPmarkers as Differentiated Services code point markers. This is a group policy object that you can use in Microsoft domains to insert these markers into packet headers in Windows environments. Okay? From there, your routers and devices can recognise those headers and utilise them. Now of course, this does come with a disadvantage.
The disadvantage that you have here is that the solution is only going to work with domain-joined Windows clients. As a result, it is less vendor-neutral. It’s obviously good because you don’t have to deal with routers all that much, knowing how to configure access control lists and such, but it’s bad because it’s not vendor neutral. Okay? Finally, you must consider the initial port ranges that will be used, which will involve your firewalls and routing mechanisms, all of which are required for your DSCP and all of which are required for Q OS. So the default port ranges are right here on the screen. These are your defaults. These are the recommended ones. You can adjust those if you like. All right, as you can see, we have audio, video, and then application. Screen sharing is listed there, but you can adjust those. And in our next little segment here, I’ll jump in real quick and we’ll take a look at the meeting settings and see where we can actually change those. But hopefully this helps wrap your brain around the QoS side of things when it comes to dealing with teams.
5. Configuring QoS Port Settings in Teams Admin Center
I’m going to jump into the team’s admin center. Now we’re going to look at how our QoS settings are configured. OK, so to start with, we’re on portal Microsoft.com. We’ll proceed to the Teams admin center from here. It doesn’t show up. Just click. Show all. We’ve arrived at the Teams admin center. We’re going to drop down “Meetings,” and you’ll see meeting settings. Let’s go ahead and click on that. And if we scroll down a little bit here, there’s a network area here. And you might have seen this already, but this is kind of a refresher on a little bit of it. It says “network.” And to start with, it says “insert QoS markers for real-time traffic.” So if we want to insert those Qu’s markers, we’re going to go ahead and select Turn that on, and then here’s where we can set our port ranges. Now again, it is recommended that you just leave the default ports in place, but you could actually specify those here if you want. If you wanted to change things, you could.
Or you could just say “use all available ports,” and at that point it will use whatever ports it wants. But if you really want control, it’s recommended that you use these ports. And unless you know your network to the point where maybe you’re already using those ports for something else, you could change the ports to whatever you want. But those are the default ports, and again, those are the ports that Microsoft actually recommends. All in all, there’s not really too much here from a team’s perspective. You have to configure it, and that’s mostly going to be done involving your router, or if you’re using GPOs to do it, you’re going to configure it through that. Okay. But ultimately, this is where you’re going to configure your QoS import settings in teams.