Microsoft Teams Bandwidth Calculator

Prepare your network for a great Microsoft Teams experience

We want to provide you with insight and guidelines on the following areas of Microsoft Teams:

Calculating expected Bandwidth Usage

Codecs and associated Bandwidth

Clients

Traffic Flows

Concurrency numbers

Calculating the expected Bandwidth Usage for Microsoft Teams

The following article will help you understand the bandwidth impact of the real time media portion of Microsoft Teams within your organization, including private chats (peer to peer) calling and in-meeting audio/video (conferencing).

The first section of the document provides a simple formula with a quick calculation of the expected bandwidth that the real time media within Microsoft Teams will consume within your organization.

The second portion of the article will do a deeper dive into the source of these numbers, and how you can tweak them to get a more detailed result for your specific environment.

At the end of the article you will find an example calculation.

When using the bandwidth calculation keep in mind that Microsoft Teams is a very versatile product. It allows connections into Exchange, SharePoint, and external connectors. Implementing and using this will impact the bandwidth usage. In our calculations, we are focusing on signaling and real time media.

Note that we calculate for maximum bandwidth consumption when it comes to video and desktop sharing. This is to ensure optimal quality in all cases.

Quick Bandwidth Calculation

Microsoft Teams uses audio, video and desktop sharing in both private chats as well as group calls. The following tables can be used to calculate the expected maximum bandwidth.

Calculate the WAN Impact

Note: this traffic impact is bidirectional symmetrical, both up and down

Modality User count
(per site)
Multiply by
(usage number)
Multiply by
(bandwidth usage)
Multiply by
(WAN percentage)
WAN Impact
(in Mbps)
Audio Calls 0.015 0.0443 0.25
Video Calls 0.003 4 0.25
Desktop Sharing 0.005 4 0.25

Calculate the Office 365 Connection (internet connection) impact

Modality User count
(per site)
Multiply by
(usage number)
Multiply by
(bandwidth usage)
Multiply by
(O365 percentage)
O365 Impact
(in Mbps)
Audio Calls 0.015 0.0443 0.5
Video Calls 0.003 4 0.5
Desktop Sharing 0.005 4 0.5
Conference Audio 0.03 0.0443 1
Conference Video upload 0.024 6.5 1
Conference Video upload 0.0045 8 1
Conference Video upload 0.0015 8.8 1
Conference Desktop Sharing Upload 0.01 4 1
Conference Video download 0.024 8 1
Conference Video download 0.06 12 1
Signaling 0.8 0.003 1

Note: Conference Video Upload and Download is not symmetrical and needs to be calculated separately as done in the calculations.

Background on Bandwidth Calculations

Should you want to change some of the formulas to better suit your situation, the following segments can help you tweak these numbers and provide background behind the existing calculations. This is split up in the following segments:

  • Codecs and associated Bandwidth
  • Clients
  • Traffic flows
  • Concurrency numbers
  • Bandwidth calculation example

Codecs and Associated Bandwidth

Microsoft Teams uses a diverse set of codecs. In principle, for private chats the Silk codec is used for audio. For Microsoft Teams meetings (conferencing), this defaults to G722. For video, we will use H.264 as our video codec for both private chats as well as meetings. Screen sharing is video based and uses the same codec as video calls.

Codec Name Maximum Maximum with FEC Minimum Typical
Silk 64 kbps 100 kbps - 44.3 kbps
G722 95.6 kbps 159.6 kbps - 46.1 kbps
H.264 320x180 250 kbps Included 15 kbps -
H.264 424x240 350 kbps Included 100 kbps -
H.264 480x270 450 kbps Included 200 kbps -
H.264 640x360 800 kbps Included 300 kbps -
H.264 848x480 1500 kbps Included 400 kbps -
H.264 960x540 2000 kbps Included 500 kbps -
H.264 1280x720 2500 kbps Included 700 kbps -
H.264 1920x1080 4000 kbps Included 1500 kbps -
H.264 960x144 500 kbps Included 15 kbps -
H.264 1280x192 1000 kbps Included 250 kbps -
H.264 1920x288 2000 kbps Included 500 kbps -

Source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg425841.aspx

The bandwidth listed here is divided in 4 scenarios:

  • Maximum: The maximum amount of bandwidth used, taking a 100% usage scenario into account, in essence continuously sending audio.
  • Maximum with FEC: the maximum amount of bandwidth used, taking a 100% usage scenario, including the Forward Error Correction mechanism. The Forward Error Correction (FEC) mechanism is triggered by packet loss and will transmit additional packets to try and cover potential lost packets. The video stream already includes these packets and does not have a different bandwidth number for FEC enablement.
  • Typical: this is the typical bandwidth used for an average call. On average, each party will be talking about 60% of the time, and listening about 40% of the time. When the Client detects silence, no audio will be sent, and the receiving client will generate comfort noise. This impacts the amount of data being sent, creating a typical value
  • Minimum: this is the minimum bandwidth required to have a video call. If the bandwidth reaches below this minimum, the call will be disconnected. This number must not be used for planning, it’s included as a reference on the implications of not having enough bandwidth.

The typical bandwidth for a video call is hard to determine. There is a constant video stream but only the portions of the screen that change will be updated, which determines the actual bandwidth being used. In reality, there will be constant changes, having the actual bandwidth come close to the max bandwidth on a regular basis. When planning, the advice is to use max bandwidth for all calculations.

Traffic Distribution for private chats is important, and will impact the amount of traffic that will be distributed over the WAN or the internet connection. Microsoft Teams is internet connection heavy, so most traffic (all conferencing traffic for example) will be focused on the internet connection. On average, for private chat traffic, customers should count on 50% of the private chats being internal and the other 50% over the internet connection. Of the 50% of the private chats that are internally focused, 25% would traverse the WAN and 25% would remain inside the building.

Meeting Audio & Video

During meetings, different codecs are used, which impacts bandwidth, but the traffic flow will be different as well.

Activity Download Bandwidth Upload Bandwidth Traffic Flow
Peer to peer Audio Call 0.1 Mb 0.1 Mb Client <> Client
Peer to peer Video Call(full screen) 4 Mb 4 Mb Client <> Client
Peer to peer Desktop Sharing (1920*1080 resolution) 4 Mb 4 Mb Client <> Client
2 Participant Meeting 4 Mb 4 Mb Client <> Office 365
3 Participant Meeting 8 Mb 6.5 Mb Client <> Office 365
4 Participant Meeting 12 Mb 8 Mb Client <> Office 365
5 Participant Meeting 12 Mb 8.8 Mb Client <> Office 365

Note: there is a hardcoded bandwidth usage limit of 12 Mb for upload and for download bandwidth

On Microsoft Teams, video is enabled by default in meetings. This means that every meeting that is started, is a video meeting. In our calculations, we must include every meeting to have both audio and video.

As to the expected meeting size, our recommendation is to calculate for 80% of the meetings being a 3 person meeting, 15% a 4 participant meeting and 5% a 5+ person meeting.

The upload bandwidth takes into account that multiple clients might be requesting different resolutions. Each client will send out a separate video stream for each resolution requested. This impacts the upload bandwidth, therefore the upload bandwidth changes with the amount of people in a meeting.

Traffic Flows

When communicating via Microsoft Teams, the traffic will be divided in two types of traffic. Each type of traffic will have a different impact on either the WAN or the Internet Breakout

Private chat is the first type of traffic. If two people start a conversation, traffic will flow directly between those two people, if possible. This means that while signaling will traverse to Office 365 and back, the actual audio, video and desktop sharing traffic will flow directly between clients. Depending on the location of the users, When 2 clients communicate directly a traffic could stay on the local network, flow over the WAN (between sites), or over the internet to remote users. Additionally, if the users cannot connect directly to each other the Microsoft Teams client will user a relay, forcing the traffic to Office 365 and back. Private chat traffic can be generated by both desktop clients as well as the mobile clients.

The private chat traffic can stay within the company when two people are in the same building, traverse the WAN if the two people are in different offices connected through a WAN, or finally traverse the internet if one of the two users is remote or no direct connection can be established. Our recommendation to distribute this traffic is to assign 25% of this traffic to stay within the office, 25% to traverse the WAN, and 50% to traverse the Office 365 (internet) connection.

Conferencing traffic is the second type of traffic. Conferencing traffic is generated by participants in conferences and flows between Office 365 and back. Conferencing Traffic will only be generated by the desktop clients and will only impact the internet breakout unless a site does not have a local internet breakout and is using a centralized internet breakout.

Concurrency Numbers

To estimate the amount of concurrent calls for any given site, concurrency numbers are used. They are expressed in percentages and can be used to estimate the amount of people using a certain modality.

For example, the accepted average use for peer to peer audio is 1.5%. This means that for an average site with 1,000 users, at any given moment, bandwidth should be reserved for 15 people in a private chat.

The numbers as displayed are our recommendations, but can vary based on your specific usage of the product.

The average numbers for the different modalities are as follows:

Modality Peer to Peer audio Peer to Peer Video Peer to Peer Desktop Sharing Conference Audio Conference Video Conference Desktop Sharing
Concurrency 1.5% 0.3% 0.5% 3% 3% 1%

Calculating Bandwidth Example

The following is an example for calculating Peer to Peer and Conferencing bandwidth requirements for LAN, WAN and Internet connections. You can modify the numbers in the following example to perform your own calculations specific to your organization.

Example:

Contoso has a site in which they will implement Microsoft Teams. The total user count for Contoso is 15,000 users and the site where Microsoft Teams will be deployed has 2,000 users. Microsoft Teams will be deployed to all 2,000 users. The Contoso site has both a WAN connection to different locations, as well as a local internet connection.

To calculate the expected bandwidth impact, they perform the following calculations:

Private Chat traffic:

Calculate the expected WAN bandwidth impact

Modality User count
(per site)
Multiply by
(usage number)
Multiply by
(bandwidth usage)
Multiply by
(WAN percentage)
WAN Impact
(in Mbps)
Audio Calls 2000 0.015 0.0443 0.25 0.33
Video Calls 2000 0.003 4 0.25 6
Desktop Sharing 2000 0.005 4 0.25 10

Calculate the expected Office 365 Connection (internet connection) bandwidth impact

Modality User count
(per site)
Multiply by
(usage number)
Multiply by
(bandwidth usage)
Multiply by
(O365 percentage)
O365 Impact
(in Mbps)
Audio Calls 2000 0.015 0.0443 0.5 0.665
Video Calls 2000 0.003 4 0.5 12
Desktop Sharing 2000 0.005 4 0.5 20

Determining Concurrency:

  • Apply the 1.5% peer to peer audio concurrency number to the 2,000 users, which means that they should be expecting 30 concurrent calls at any given time. (2,000 * .015 = 30)
  • Apply the 0.3% peer to peer video concurrency number to the 2,000 users, which means they should be expecting 6 concurrent video calls at any given time. (2,000 * .003 = 6)
  • Apply the 0.5 % desktop sharing concurrency number to the 2,000 users, which means they should be expecting 10 concurrent desktop sharing sessions at any given time. (2,000 * .005 = 10)

Determining Bandwidth Impact:

  • The total bandwidth impact for the 30 audio calls can be calculated by multiplying the Silk Typical Bandwidth (44.3 kbps) times the amount of audio calls (30) which results in an impact of 1329 kbps.
  • The total bandwidth impact for the 6 video calls can be calculated by multiplying the 1080P Bandwidth (4Mbps) times the amount of video calls (6) which results in an impact of 24Mbps.
  • The total bandwidth impact for the 10 desktop sharing sessions can be calculated by multiplying the 1080P Bandwidth (4Mbps) times the amount of desktop sharing sessions (10) which results in an impact of 40Mbps.

Note: The common resolution used by desktop PC’s is 1080P (or higher) which means the H.264 video codec will be used in the 1080P resolution.

The total anticipated bandwidth impact can be determined by adding the audio, video and desktop sharing numbers (1.3Mbps + 24Mbps + 40Mbps) for a total bandwidth of 65.3Mbps.

The resulting 65.3Mbps can then be divided over the LAN, WAN and Internet Connection using the 25/25/50 distribution method discussed earlier and seen in the tables above.

Conferencing Traffic:

Calculate the expected Office 365 Connection (internet connection) bandwidth impact

Modality User count
(per site)
Multiply by
(usage number)
Multiply by
(bandwidth usage)
Multiply by
(O365 percentage)
O365 Impact
(in Mbps)
Conference Audio 2000 0.03 0.0461 1 2.77
Conference Video upload 2000 0.024 6.5 1 312
Conference Video upload 2000 0.0045 8 1 72
Conference Video upload 2000 0.0015 8.8 1 26.4
Conference Desktop Sharing Upload 2000 0.01 4 1 80
Conference Video download 2000 0.024 8 1 384
Conference Video download 2000 0.006 12 1 144
Signaling 2000 0.8 0.003 1 4.8

The same strategy that was applied to private chat traffic is then applied to the conferencing traffic with the distinct difference that all conferencing traffic will flow between the client and office 365.

Determining Concurrency:

  • Apply the 3% concurrency number for both audio and video conferences to the 2,000 users, which means they should be expecting 60 concurrent people in audio and video conferences at any given time. (2,000 * .03 = 60)

Of those 60 meeting participants, they then categorize them into various meeting sizes.

  • Apply the rule that 80% of the meetings will have 3 participants, meaning 48 people will be in a 3-person meetings (60 * .8 = 48)
  • Apply the rule that 15% of the meetings will have 4 participants, meaning 9 people will be in a 4-person meeting. (60 * .15 = 9)
  • Apply the rule that 5% of the meetings will have 5(+) participants, meaning 3 people will be in a 5(+)-person meeting (60 * .05 = 3)
  • Apply the rule that 1% of total users will be engaging in sharing their desktop in a meeting, meaning 20 people will be desktop sharing. (2,000 * .01 = 20)

Note : Conference Desktop Sharing is only adding Upload Bandwidth in our calculations. When starting Desktop Sharing, the sender will send an additional stream containing the Desktop Sharing. The recipients of the Conference Desktop Sharing Stream will exchange their current Video Stream for the Desktop Sharing Stream. This means that their maximum bandwidth consumption in the download direction will not grow when receiving Desktop Sharing. Since the upload will change, the 20 people in our example will each add 4 Mbps to the upload bandwidth for a total of 80 Mbps.

See table above for actual bandwidth calculations.