Is Your Network Ready for Skype Online?

Is Your Network Ready for Skype Online?

Kevin Kieller PNG
Is Your Network Ready for Skype Online? by Kevin Kieller and Dino Caputo

Skype for Business Online (or Skype Online for short) delivers a strong IM & presence, voice, video, and conferencing solution that operates on all leading desktops and mobile devices. Organizations looking to simplify, or avoid, on-premises server and equipment deployment may look to Skype Online, which is powered by the Office 365 Cloud. However, in order to have a successful Skype Online implementation your network needs to be up to the task.

In this three-part series, my business partner and Lync & Skype for Business MVP, Dino Caputo explores:

  1. The specific Skype Online network requirements
  2. How to setup and run Microsoft’s network assessment tool
  3. How to interpret the results from the assessment tool

A free network assessment tool from Microsoft

The Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool provides the ability to determine how well the network would perform for a Skype for Business Online call by means of a simple audio call test. The tool tests the connection to Microsoft network Edge by streaming a set of packets to the nearest edge site and back for approximately 17 seconds for a configured number of iterations. The tool measures, monitors and reports, key call quality metrics including:

  • Packet loss
  • Jitter
  • Round-trip latency
  • Reorder packet percentage

The tool uses the same real time media technology as a Skype for Business Online client.

Why do I need to run this tool?

You have just setup your Office 365 Skype for Business Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling trial (Skype Cloud PBX) and want to know how the call quality will rate. This is a great place to start!  You should understand the full metrics behind this testing tool which are explained in the Media Quality and Network Connectivity Performance in Skype for Business Online. While you can certainly pilot Skype Online, including Cloud PBX with PSTN calling features, you should not deploy production users before fully understanding the network implications: will your current network be able handle the load; will your network provide you with adequate call quality conditions, especially when under load?

Call paths with Skype Online

To get a better understanding of how calls would flow, Figures 1 and 2 show both a conference call and PSTN call flow when using Skype Cloud PBX.


Figure 1: Call between two Skype Online users participating in a Conference


Figure 2: Call from a Skype Online user to the PSTN

Diving into the Media Quality and Network Connectivity Performance in the Skype for Business Online article you will find that Microsoft recommends the following network requirements for organizations wanting to leverage Skype Cloud PBX. 

Expert Tip:

You must first consider the network performance from all your client endpoint locations to the Microsoft Network Edge (defined as one of the 160 world wide ingress points). Secondly you would then consider the network performance from your network edge (defined as your egress point or where traffic leaves your network and enters the public internet) and the Microsoft Edge Network.

Network Performance requirements from a Skype for Business client to Microsoft network Edge

For optimal Skype for Business media quality, the following network performance metrics targets or thresholds are required for a connection from your company’s network to the Microsoft network Edge. This segment of the network includes your internal network, this includes all Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections, any company site-to-site traffic over a WAN connection, for example Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), as well as the Internet or ExpressRoute1 partner connections to the Microsoft network Edge.

Caution: Connectivity between a Skype for Business client on your company network to Office 365 services must meet the following network performance requirements and thresholds.

MetricTarget
Latency (one way)<50ms
Latency (RTT or Round-trip Time)<100ms
Burst packet loss <10% during any 200ms interval
Packet loss<1% during any 15s interval
Packet inter-arrival Jitter<30ms during any 15s interval
Packet reorder <0.05% out-of-order packets

Other performance target requirements:

  • The Microsoft network has over 160 Edge locations worldwide. Microsoft works with major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) worldwide through those Edge sites. The latency metric target assumes your company site or sites and the Microsoft Edges are on the same continent.
  • Your company site or sites to the Microsoft network Edge connection include first hop network access, which can be Wi-Fi or another wireless technology.
  • The network performance target assumes proper bandwidth and/or quality of service planning. In other words, this applies directly to Skype for Business Real-Time media traffic when the network connection is under a peak load.

Network performance requirements from your network Edge to Microsoft network Edge

The following are the network performance targets or thresholds that are required for the connection between your network Edge and the Microsoft network Edge. This segment of the network excludes your internal network or WAN, and is intended as guidance when testing your network traffic that is sent over the Internet, or through an ExpressRoute partner network and can also be used when negotiating a performance Service Level Agreement (SLA) with your ExpressRoute provider.

Caution: Connectivity between your company network Edge to the Microsoft network Edge must meet the following network performance requirements and thresholds.

MetricTarget
Latency (one way)<30ms
Latency (RTT or Round-trip Time)<60ms
Burst packet loss<1% during any 200 ms interval
Packet loss <0.1% during any 15s interval
Packet inter-arrival Jitter<15ms during any 15s interval
Packet reorder <0.01% out-of-order packets

Other performance target requirements:

  • The performance target requires connection between any of your company’s network Edge and its nearest Microsoft network Edge, to be on the same continent.
  • The network performance target assumes proper bandwidth and/or quality of service planning. This also applies to Skype for Business Real-Time media traffic when the network connection is under a peak load. For proper bandwidth and QoS planning, please refer to ExpressRoute and QoS in Skype for Business Online.

That concludes a summary of the detailed network requirements for Skype Online. In part 2 we will explore how to install and run the Skype for Business Network Assessment tool.


1 Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute lets you extend your on-premises networks into the Microsoft cloud over a dedicated private connection facilitated by a connectivity provider. With ExpressRoute, you can establish connections to Microsoft cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and CRM Online. See https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/expressroute-introduction/ 

About Dino Caputo

As a Senior Architect and Microsoft Office Servers and Services (Skype for Business) MVP, Dino gets to do what he does best – help clients achieve their business goals by providing advanced technical solutions. It’s his ability to develop technical strategies, understand client needs and deliver performance outcomes that have earned him a reputation as a seasoned IT professional and true team player.

If you are interested in learning more about evaluating, selecting and successfully implementing a Cloud or Hybrid solution, please consider attending the exclusive BC Summit at the beginning of November.

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Also on UCStrategies.com in this series:

 

1 Responses to "Is Your Network Ready for Skype Online?" - Add Yours

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Daniel Lim 1/12/2017 11:32:19 PM

Hi Kevin/Dino :
MS states on their website that skype requires a network of maximum end to end delay (latency) of 150ms under peak load . We're trying to figure out what this means - whether its 150ms round trip or is this 150ms one way. If we interpret this based on the guidance you have given in this article - then I would think MS means Round trip . Would our intepretation be correct ?

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