Insync Tech Talk , microsoft teams , | 2021/01/25 at 4:02pm

Improving the Teams User Experience using Insights and Telemetry

by Lee Stevenson

One of the biggest challenges with cloud services is network reliability and performance – how can we make sure our people have the best experience possible using a third-party service outside our network? The secret is in using the best data available to us to make informed decisions about network prioritisation, bandwidth and reliability.

A large manufacturing customer reported issues with Microsoft Teams – particularly during Teams Meetings and Calls. The customer had rapidly adopted Teams during the COVID19 lockdown and hadn’t done any network planning or investigation. The customer engaged Insync to review their network readiness for using Teams, based on the expected staff counts per site and modelling general usage of the platform.

Insync worked in tandem with the customers network provider to standardise the network infrastructure as represented in Microsoft 365 through a number of workshops – making sure that we were using the power of the Microsoft cloud and its inherent telemetry on each service to give us insights into issues being experienced.

Insync modelled the customers environment within Microsoft 365, and then deployed network testing nodes throughout the network to give synthetic data points in addition to the user derived telemetry. Once this work is done, the customer can utilise specific Call Quality Dashboards within the Microsoft 365 Teams Admin Centre to understand where their network is being impacted and why. The customer had 300+ segmented location that we could drill down into to see where the issues were occurring and why.

Immediately we identified a number of issues and could easily identify sites with high risk for media quality issues leading to a poor user experience.

 

In most of the above cases, it was the customers WiFi network that was incurring issues with meeting and calling experiences. Once we could identify the network segments in which issues were occurring, we could target individual floors and buildings to determine what was at fault. We also correlated this with user reported poor “rate my call” ratings to confirm. Using the network assessment nodes in each location, we could run synthetic tests through the day on targeted WiFi networks and captured time of day, area and location data. We provided this data to the network service provider to then make appropriate changes to the network in terms of segment bandwidth and prioritisation to ensure a better experience for their people.

As this particular customer utilised centralised Internet egress to the Microsoft cloud, we could comfortably use all sites in their network with WiFi as a baseline for overall network sentiment. Combining this with the wired network telemetry and analytics, we could determine there was no issue with the Internet egress or wired network level issues, and we could rule out any issues with the Microsoft Cloud Service. The customer was concerned that they did not provision enough bandwidth at the sites and this was impacting the user experience, or there was an issue with the Microsoft cloud service. These are always generally the first ports of call when there is a network level issue.

But after reviewing the data, it was clear from the data points captured through the Microsoft 365 Cloud Service that the issues were contained to a number of WiFi networks throughout the customer that exhibited higher than acceptable Jitter and Packet Reordering. This means that on the WiFi networks, voice and video traffic experienced Jitter (packets not arriving when expected leading to buffering and speech delays) and Packet Reordering (packets arriving in a different order as to when they were sent by the service / caller). This massively impacts the people experience.

 

All this data was captured through the Microsoft 365 Teams Admin Centre and Call Quality Dashboard service – enabling your organisation to better see where issues may be impacting your peoples experience and making changes for the better. In this case, the customer engaged their network service provider to make some changes to their WiFi Infrastructure to better support and prioritise Teams media and this has led to a sustained improvement for call quality and meeting quality as well as user-derived feedback such as “rate my call”. It’s refreshing to use this data and be able to make quick changes to the network and positively impact peoples work experiences. Get in touch if you’re struggling with Teams quality and network issues, you might be surprised where the issues lie!