If you haven’t noticed the exponential growth in Microsoft Teams usage over the past few years, then you must be living in a cave with no internet access. That collaboration and communication platform is barely five-years old and already has over 270 million active users. And yeah just in case you were wondering, that is amazing growth. Here are the top-4 reasons why Teams rules, based on interviews with enterprise organizations around the world.
But nothing that successful comes without some warts. So, we were curious if there were any issues with Teams usage, especially for those enterprise organizations where Microsoft targets its EPG sales force. To find out, we took a hard look at the performance metrics for Teams call quality from our customer base. As of May 2022, our OfficeExpert EPM solution is monitoring over 1 million user endpoints, all from enterprise customers.
Performance Redlines for Microsoft Teams
What we found out is astonishing and can be used as a sort of Tachometer for organizations that have deployed Teams. Modeling the Good vs. Bad ratings from Microsoft CQD for Teams call quality against hardware performance metrics (CPU / Memory), and network performance metrics, provided our services team with a treasure trove of analytics data to optimize Microsoft Teams performance. And all the data points are anonymous which is great for identifying average baselines and maximum redlines.
These data points will allow IT operations groups to identify which users are hitting the maximum limitations that directly impact their Teams call quality performance.
This will be a two-part blog series addressing the findings from our analysis. This initial blog will cover Hardware Limitations that impact Teams voice call quality. The next blog will discuss the Networking Speed performance redlines that have a negative impact on call quality performance.
Hardware Performance Limitations that Affect Teams Call Quality
Sending and receiving calls via Microsoft Teams relies on the processing power of your endpoint device. This is due to the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) codecs that convert analog voice signals into digital packets, or a compressed digital form, for transmission and then back into an uncompressed audio signal at each endpoint. The word codec is actually a combination of two terms: Compression and Decompression. VoIP codecs determine the call quality and latency in a Teams call or meeting since the call takes place through the internet. For older, slower computers this is a possible chokepoint because of lagging CPU speeds and available memory.
From our customer investigations we were able to draw a hard line for IT operations groups to understand the maximum limits for CPU and Memory usage. Going above these redlines had a direct negative impact on call quality performance for our customers:
- CPU Processing Average > 80%
- Utilized RAM Percentage > 74%
If both the CPU and Memory utilization performance stayed beneath these limits during a Teams call or meeting the perceived quality was sufficient. As you can see from the graphic below, the available RAM percentage needs to be below 74% for Teams to perform effectively. Once a computer goes above that redline things start to break down for Teams call quality.
Single-Pane-of-Glass for Hardware Limitation Troubleshooting
Because of the important role Teams plays in the current success of your organization, it is time to focus on its’ performance. The good news is there is a lot you can do to improve the hardware limitations. To find out what steps you can take to optimize Microsoft Teams performance and call quality for your users you will need complete visibility into the end-to-end journey and spotlight the bottlenecks that are causing the issues for each user.
Our OfficeExpert EPM solution gathers all performance information from the endpoint perspective. This is especially helpful for home office users. The data is aggregated and combined with valuable statistics from Microsoft CQD to provide actionable intelligence for both IT administrators and other groups that are tasked with troubleshooting Teams call quality. With this information at their fingertips, they have a birds-eye view to measure the quality of their calls and meetings.