Microsoft Teams – A Masergy Guide
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration and communication platform created by Microsoft. It serves as just one component in the broader set of Microsoft 365 products. With the ability to chat, meet, call, and collaborate, users are able to stay connected and productive no matter where they are or what device they are using. Key features include:
- Video conferencing
- Screen sharing
- Custom backgrounds
- File sharing
- Apps and workflows
- Privacy and security
- Together mode
How does Microsoft Teams work?
Microsoft Teams works by bringing together all the disparate tools employees use to communicate into one application experience. This is beneficial because work doesn’t have to be spread across a plethora of applications, with each individual tool designed by a different provider and none of them working in sync. Take for instance the different applications that can be used for your phone, email, instant messaging, and video conferencing. All those tools work together in one place, making it easier and faster for users to connect with people and find the information they need to do business.
But this tool consolidation reaches even farther.
Companies that consider themselves a “Microsoft shop,” enjoy the simplicity of how Microsoft Teams works. The solution is a built-in capability that sits together with all Office 365 apps (including Office and Groups) into one place for quick and easy access.
This is an efficiency that equates to avoiding hours of integration and configuration for clients and their IT teams. This holistic system of business services is precisely what Microsoft considers one of its biggest selling points, and the developers continue to expand integration, widening the scope of the solution. This helps explain why over 100 million people use Microsoft Teams for enterprise collaboration.
What are the network requirements for Microsoft Teams?
When it comes to the real-time communication tools, the IT network must deliver extremely high performance in order to keep VoIP calls and video conferences from turning into digital mush. Microsoft Teams is sensitive to network latency and jitter. Thus, the network is arguably the single most important supporting system behind a solution like Microsoft Teams. Without reliable connectivity, calls and video conferencing are of no practical value.
Consider these requirements for your network service supporting Microsoft Teams:
- Private network service: Critical and real-time services should always traverse private network architectures to ensure packets arrive in sequence and on time. Broadband or public internet connectivity is typically too unreliable–it won’t deliver a high-performance user experience. A software-defined network service will also offer advantages in the areas of agility and ease of management.
- Service level agreements: Network service providers commit to high performance through a service level agreement (SLA), which will include network performance metrics. These metrics ensure high quality calls and user experiences:
- In-sequence voice packet delivery percentages: Look for 100% in-sequence packet delivery
- Latency metrics guarantees per route (POP to POP): Target a 0% packet loss
- Jitter metrics in milliseconds (POP to POP): Seek out services with less than 1 millisecond of jitter
- Failover rates: Fast failovers and automated failovers minimize disruptions
- End-to-end service availability guarantees: 100% service availability or 99.9999% network uptime
- Proactive customer notifications: Should service outages occur, clients should receive a timely notification, preferably within 5 minutes
- Global coverage: The network service and any SIP Trunking services should cover the same geographical footprint as the client’s global operations — this should include a localized experience with in-country calling
- Visibility and control over network performance: Other criteria include full visibility into the network performance as well as dynamic bandwidth control as it relates to voice and video packets. IT teams can’t dial up the bandwidth to support voice traffic if they can’t see where the bottlenecks are happening. Likewise, they must be able to quickly and easily make adjustments to the network resource allocations in order to make any needed corrections. Thus, probing into your provider’s network performance dashboards and control tools becomes a critical step in the due-diligence investigation.
What is the advantage of pairing SD-WAN
with Microsoft Teams?
Unfortunately, many companies and their enterprise networks are not optimized to deliver the performance and reliability required to support Microsoft Teams. This is where Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SD-WAN) comes in. It can help solve that problem. Learn more about SD-WAN.
IT leaders are rapidly adopting SD-WAN technologies, because of its ability to virtualize underlying network services and to build enterprise-grade WANs using both public (Internet) connectivity and private WAN connectivity. In fact, Nemertes’ research shows that SD-WAN use correlates with successful unified communications deployments, giving investors improved network resilience and reduced network operating costs.
Taking an integrated approach offers these unique advantages:
- A Superior Solution: True end-to-end visibility, integrated optimization, and the ease of layering on additional managed network and security services. Potential layered services include security functions such as firewall as a service, DDoS protection, DLP as a service, secure web gateway services, cloud exchange integration, and SIP trunking.
- Simplified Installation and Operations: Using combined solutions should vastly reduce the amount of effort an enterprise has to put into deploying a Microsoft Teams or unified communications service, as well as simplify IT operations by providing a unified portal for all monitoring, reporting, and management functionality, and a single technical support apparatus. It can also simplify business operations by reducing the number of vendors, contracts, and bills managed.
- Stronger Security: And, it can enable providers to ensure security by monitoring the application as well as the underlying network given the interdependency between Microsoft Teams and the network supporting it.
What is a Microsoft Teams Calling Plan?
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Digital Transformation – A Masergy Guide
A digital transformation can elevate your enterprise to a new level of agility and increase your competitive advantage. Learn how these secure global networks and cloud-based team collaboration solutions can put you in control, ready to face the future with confidence.
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