Plan my users’ experience

This article gives an overview of the requirements for properly identifying the elements of your cloud voice services deployment that directly affect your users’ experience. By preparing for these items before deployment, you’ll increase your chances of successfully delivering a high-quality, reliable experience for users.

Client deployment

Microsoft Teams has clients available for web, desktop (Windows and Mac), and mobile (Android and iOS). For additional details about how the desktop (Windows and Mac) and mobile clients are installed, see Get clients for Microsoft Teams.

Client updates

One of the key benefits of Teams is that the client is kept up to date automatically. The clients on the PC and Mac are updated by using a background process that checks for new builds and downloads the new client when the app is idle.

Plan for endpoint quality

As you can see from the diagram below, endpoints are an important building block in providing a quality experience for users.

Diagram describing the three components of quality

Teams endpoints can run on many devices, including PCs, Macs, tablets, and mobile devices. Part of the experience not only encompasses the device, but how a user connects to the device—for example, using the device’s built-in mic/speaker, earbuds, or an optimized headset. Using an optimized headset can enrich the overall user experience.

The following guidance on endpoint planning will help you ensure your organization has a successful onboarding experience with Teams.

Endpoint capability

The first part of planning is to ensure all the PCs and other devices in your organization can run Teams. This involves not just looking at the hardware requirements, but also understanding what else the PC is doing in the background. Many organizations run other software, including intrusion detection systems and antimalware software, which can affect the base performance of a device.

For information about the software requirements for Teams clients on each platform (web, desktop, and mobile), see Get clients for Microsoft Teams.

Endpoint firewalls

Client-side firewalls can have a significant impact on the user experience. Client-side firewalls can affect call quality in addition to preventing a call from being established. Configure the appropriate exclusions on the client firewall based on the information in Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges. Your third-party vendor will have specific guidance on how to create the exclusions.

Note

Microsoft Teams will automatically update the Windows Firewall with an appropriate firewall configuration.

Wi-Fi recommendations for endpoints

It takes significant planning to deploy an optimized Wi-Fi network to support real-time workloads in Microsoft Teams. The following sections provide some general guidance that can help you avoid common pitfalls when planning for endpoints.

Wi-Fi drivers

Some Wi-Fi drivers can be problematic. As an example, a driver might have very aggressive roaming behaviors between access points, causing poor call quality. This isn’t a common occurrence, but it’s important to ensure that Wi-Fi drivers on the PC have been updated and tested prior to deployment.

Wi-Fi bands

There are primarily two types of bands used in Wi-Fi equipment today, 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz. If your organization provides both bands, you should configure your driver settings to prefer the 5.0 GHz band. This band is much denser in terms of throughput and is less affected by the interference seen in the 2.4 GHz band. This recommendation assumes that you’ve properly optimized the 5.0 GHz network band.

Wi-Fi radio type

Plan for devices that support the newer Wi-Fi radio types. You can get very good Wi-Fi performance if you leverage 802.11ac or newer on the devices you provision.

Wireless avoidance

Some organizations prefer to avoid Wi-Fi altogether. Sometimes this guidance is provided through a recommendation to users to connect directly to a wired network. In some cases, the network binding order might have the wireless connection preferred and continue to use that connection even though the PC is connected to the wired connection. To avoid this unintended behavior, configure the binding order to avoid this scenario.

802.11 Power Save protocol

If your organization uses wireless access points or routers that don’t support the 802.11 Power Save protocol, you might experience dropped calls or poor call quality in Microsoft Teams running on Windows devices. If it’s not possible to upgrade your wireless access point or routers, you should update Windows Power Plan settings on devices that run on battery power. Further detail and configuration guidance is provided in the following support article.

An icon depicting decision points
Decision points
  • What Teams clients will be deployed in your organization?
  • How will you initially deploy Teams clients to your users?
  • Who is responsible for evaluating endpoints and devices to validate they meet Teams requirements for a quality experience?
An icon depicting the next steps
Next steps
  • Document the process that will be followed to deploy Teams clients.
  • Evaluate endpoints and devices and perform and remediation required.

Devices for Teams

Microsoft Teams can be used for meetings or as a phone system. When using these features, the interface device that is used for Teams plays an important role in the user experience.

Using a built-in PC speaker and microphone might sound acceptable to the user who has that configuration. But typically, those devices aren’t optimized for noise cancellation, and any type of ambient noise can have a downstream impact on others on the call. Leveraging devices optimized for these scenarios will help ensure a high-quality experience.

Each device needs to meet the needs of your users. You’ll need to tailor devices such as headsets for the different personas and use cases in your organization. A persona-to-device mapping exercise should be completed as part of the planning process.

After you’ve selected the devices, include them in the pilot test plan for final validation. Leverage surveys during the pilot to collect feedback to ensure your device strategy is optimal.

Note

At this time, we recommend using audio devices that were certified through the Skype for Business Certification program. To find devices certified under this program, see the USB Devices Certified for Skype for Business solutions catalog.

An icon depicting decision points
Decision points
  • Decide on your organization’s overall device strategy for user and meeting room experiences.
An icon depicting the next steps
Next steps
  • Complete a persona-to-device mapping exercise for your organization.
  • Document the process for obtaining devices for users and meeting rooms.
  • Document the process for deploying and configuration devices for users and meeting rooms.
  • Procure initial devices to begin your deployment.