O365 – Estimating Bandwidth Capacity Needs

There are many variables that dictate bandwidth needs of a Office365 deployment. Some of the considerations are as follows:

  • The Office 365 services subscribed
  • The number of client computers and the types of tasks being performed at a time
  • The performance of the Internet browser software on each client computer
  • The capacity of the network connections and network segments associated with each client computer
  • Your organization’s network topology and the capacity of the various pieces of network hardware

Major consumers of Bandwidth

  1. Web Based File upload and download – relatively small consumer of bandwidth
  2. SharePoint Web site usage is small in comparison
  3. Sync client is the main bandwidth user
    • Runs anytime a user edits a file
    • Synchronizes changes from PCs to the cloud
  4. OneDrive for Business initial sync traffic consumes bandwidth

Recommended strategies to estimate bandwidth needs

  1. Use an Office 365 pilot to measure actual usage and create a baseline for network usage
  2. Use Netmon or similar monitoring tools to capture and analyze traffic and size usage on specific machines
  3. Use monitors on Internet gateway routers to measure total bandwidth usage
  4. Actual Internet capacity requirement will be previous usage plus expected O365 usage

As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to maintain at least 20% reserve capacity to account for any spikes in bandwidth needs.

Recently while researching alternative cost effective options for ensuring bandwidth availability, I came across a new offering from Microsoft called Azure ExpressRoute.  ExpressRoute lets customers create private connections between Azure data-centers and their On-Premises infrastructure servers or co-location environments.

In addition, ExpressRoute connections don’t go over the public Internet, which allows for higher reliability, faster speeds, lower latencies, and higher security than typical Internet connections.

While having sufficient bandwidth is essential for a positive experience in using O365, the ROI on increasing either the bandwidth capacity or using alternative solutions such as Azure ExpressRoute needs to be determined for each scenario separately.

Additional information

  1. One drive Bandwidth calculator (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=44541)
  2. Performance Tuning SharePoint Online (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn850365.aspx)
  3. ExpressRoute for Office 365 (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/expressroute-for-office-365/)
  4. Pricing for ExpressRoute (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/expressroute/)