Network performance recommendations in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center (preview)

The Microsoft 365 Admin Center now includes live performance metrics collected from your Microsoft 365 tenant and available to view only by administrative users in your tenant. network insights and performance recommendations and network assessments are displayed in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center at https://portal.microsoft.com/adminportal/home#/networkperformance. You can find the page in the navigation pane under Health | Network performance.

Network performance page

When you first navigate to the network performance page, you will see an overview pane containing a map of global network performance, a network assessment scoped to the entire tenant, and a list of current issues. From the overview, you can drill down to view specific network performance metrics and issues by location. For more information, see Network performance overview in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.

Pre-requisites for connectivity measurements to appear

In order for connectivity measurements to appear, you must have at least two computers running at each office location that support the pre-requisites. OneDrive for Business Sync Client version 19.232 or above must be installed on each computer. For more information, see the OneDrive release notes.

Windows Location Service must be consented on the machines. You can test this by running the Maps app and locating yourself. It can be enabled on a single machine with Settings -> Privacy -> Location where the setting "Allow apps to access your location" must be enabled. Windows Location Services consent can be deployed to PCs using MDM or Group Policy with the setting LetAppsAccessLocation.

The machines should have Wi-Fi networking rather than an Ethernet cable. Machines with an Ethernet cable do not have accurate location information.

Measurement samples and office locations should start to appear 24 hours after these pre-requisites have been met.

How do I use this information?

Network insights, their related performance recommendations and network assessments are intended to help in designing network perimeters for your office locations. Each insight provides live details about the performance characteristics for a specific common issue for each geographic location where users are accessing your tenant. Performance recommendations for each network insight offer specific network architecture design changes you can make to improve user experience related to Microsoft 365 network connectivity. The network assessment shows how network connectivity impacts user experience, allowing for comparison of different user location network connections.

Network assessments distill an aggregate of many network performance metrics into a snapshot of your enterprise network health, represented by a points value from 1 - 100. Network assessments are scoped to both the entire tenant and for each geographic location from which users connect to your tenant, providing Microsoft 365 administrators with an easy way to instantly grasp a gestalt of the enterprise's network health and quickly drill down into a detailed report for any global office location.

Complex enterprises with multiple office locations and non-trivial network perimeter architectures can benefit from this information either during their initial onboarding to Microsoft 365 or to remediate network performance issues discovered with usage growth. This is usually not necessary for small businesses using Microsoft 365, or any enterprises who already have simple and direct network connectivity. Enterprises with over 500 users and multiple office locations are expected to benefit the most.

Important

Network insights, performance recommendations and assessments in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center is currently in preview status, and is only available for Microsoft 365 tenants that have been enrolled in the feature preview program.

Enterprise network connectivity challenges

Customer network to cloud

Many enterprises have network perimeter configurations which have grown over time and are primarily designed to accommodate employee Internet web site access where most web sites are not known in advance and are untrusted. The prevailing and necessary focus is avoiding malware and fishing attacks from these unknown web sites. This network configuration strategy, while helpful for security purposes, can lead to degradation of Microsoft 365 user performance and user experience.

How we can solve these challenges

Enterprises can improve general user experience and secure their environment by following Office 365 connectivity principles and by using the Microsoft 365 Admin Center network performance feature. In most cases, following these general principles will have a significant positive impact on end user latency, service reliability and overall performance of Microsoft 365.

Microsoft is sometimes asked to investigate network performance issues with Microsoft 365 for large enterprise customers, and these frequently have a root cause related to the customers network egress infrastructure. When a common root cause of a customer network perimeter issue is found we seek to identify simple test measurements that identifies it. A test with a measurement threshold that identifies a specific problem is valuable because we can test the same measurement at any location, tell whether this root cause is present there and share it as a network insight with the administrator.

Some network insights will merely indicate a problem that needs further investigation. A network insight where we have enough tests to show a specific remediation action to correct the root cause is listed as a recommended action. These recommendations, based on live metrics that reveal values that fall outside a predetermined threshold, are much more valuable than general best practice advice since they are specific to your environment and will show the actual improvement once the recommended changes have been made.

Network performance overview in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center

Microsoft has existing network measurements from several Office desktop and web clients which support the operation of Microsoft 365. These measurements are now being used to provide network architecture design insights and a network performance assessment which are shown in the Network performance page in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.

By default, approximate location information associated with the network measurements identify the city where client devices are located. The network assessment at each location is shown with color and the relative number of users at each location is represented by the size of the circle.

Network insights overview map

The overview page also shows the network assessment for the customer as a weighted average across all office locations.

Network assessment

Specific office location network performance summary and insights

Selecting an office location opens a location-specific summary page showing details of the network egress that has been identified from measurements for that office location.

Network insights details by location

The office location summary page additionally shows the location's network assessment, network assessment history, a comparison of this location's assessment to other customers in the same city, and a list of specific insights and recommendations that you can undertake to improve network performance and reliability. Locations with specific recommendations may also include an estimated potential latency improvement.

Comparisons between customers in the same city are based on the expectation that all customers have equal access to network service providers, telecommunications infrastructure, and nearby Microsoft network points of presence.

Network insights locations

The details tab on the office location page shows the specific measurement results that were used to come up with any insights, recommendations, and the network assessment. This is provided so that network engineers can validate the recommendations and factor in any constraints or specifics in their environment.

Location-specific details

For customers who want to improve the accuracy of location-specific metrics and recommendations, we allow for more specific information to be entered. This can reduce the approximations that are inherent in the location information available for network measurements. To edit the address of a specific office location, .

Import undiscovered office locations

The network performance Locations tab shows a list of office locations automatically discovered from network telemetry. These office locations are discovered cities. You can manually add more specific locations within those cities if they do not automatically appear in the list by importing them from a CSV file. If office locations do not show up at all you should troubleshoot why their network measurements are not appearing rather than just adding the location here. You can also update the address value of existing office locations.

In the CSV file aA discovered city location is labeled City, and a manually added office location is labeled Location.

  1. In the main Connectivity to Microsoft 365 window, click the Locations tab.

  2. Click the Import button just above the locations list. The Import office locations flyout will appear.

    CSV import error message

  3. Click the Download current office locations (.csv) link to export the current locations list to a CSV file, and save it to your local hard disk. This will provide you with a correctly formatted CSV to which you can add locations. You can leave the exported locations as they are; they will not be duplicated when you import the updated CSV. If you wish to change the address of an existing location, it will be updated when you import the CSV. You cannot change the address of a discovered city.

  4. Open the CSV and add your locations by filling out the following fields on a new line for each location you want to add. Leave all other fields blank; values you enter in other fields will be ignored.

    1. Address (required): The physical address of the office
    2. Latitude (optional): Populated from Bing maps lookup if blank
    3. Longitude (optional): Populated from Bing maps lookup if blank
    4. Egress IP Address ranges 1-5 (optional): For each range, enter the circuit name followed by a space separated list of valid IPv4 or IPv6 CIDR addresses. These values are only used when you have enabled SDWAN integration for a given office location.
  5. When you have added your office locations and saved the file, click the Browse button next to the Upload the completed field and select the saved CSV file.

  6. The file will be automatically validated. If there are validation errors, you will see the error message There are some errors in the import file. Review the errors, correct the import file, and then try again. Click the link Open error details for a list of specific field validation errors.

    CSV import error message

  7. If there are no errors in the file, you will see the message The report is ready. Found x locations to add and x locations to update. Click the Import button to upload the CSV.

    CSV import ready message

FAQ

What is a Microsoft 365 service front door?

The Microsoft 365 service front door is an entry point on Microsoft's global network where Office clients and services terminate their network connection. For an optimal network connection to Microsoft 365, it is recommended that your network connection is terminated into the closest Microsoft 365 front door in your city or metro.

Note

Microsoft 365 service front door has no direct relationship to the Azure Front Door Service product available in the Azure marketplace.

What is an optimal Microsoft 365 service front door?

An optimal Microsoft 365 service front door is one that is closest to your network egress, generally in your city or metro area. Use the Microsoft 365 connectivity test to determine location of your in-use Microsoft 365 service front door and optimal service front door. If the tool determines your in-use front door is optimal, then you are optimally connecting into Microsoft's global network.

What is an internet egress location?

The internet egress location is the location where your network traffic exits your enterprise network and connects to the Internet. This is also identified as the location where you have a Network Address Translation (NAT) device and usually where you connect with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you see a long distance between your location and your internet egress location, then this may indicate a significant WAN backhaul.

Microsoft 365 Network insights (preview)

Microsoft 365 network assessment (preview)

Microsoft 365 connectivity test in the M365 Admin Center (preview)

Microsoft 365 Network Connectivity Location Services (preview)