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Windows Intune Managed Computer Bandwidth Usage

Updated: November 1, 2013

Applies To: Windows Intune

As part of your Windows Intune deployment plan, you should understand how Windows Intune consumes network bandwidth.

In addition to the usual network traffic a computer generates, Windows Intune client computers use additional network bandwidth for Windows Intune-related requests. The following information can help you plan for the increased use of network bandwidth by computers that run the Windows Intune client.

The amount of network bandwidth that a computer that runs the Windows Intune client will use depends on the following variables:

  • Whether the client computer is newly enrolled in Windows Intune and if so, for updates you deploy with Windows Intune, how many updates and the size of the updates that are pending download and installation on the computer.

  • The client computer’s operating system.

  • The applications that run on the computer and communicate across then network.

  • Whether the current day is the day that Microsoft releases security updates, or the day when you normally approve updates. Typically, Microsoft releases new updates on the second Tuesday of each Month. This is usually referred to as Patch Tuesday. On the day that new updates release or on the day when you approve security updates, network bandwidth use can be more than usual.

  • Whether the network configuration includes a caching web proxy server. A caching web proxy server can run Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway or Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server. A caching web proxy server caches both HTTP responses and binary downloads, and then uses the cached resources to answer requests from Windows Intune client computers. When you use a caching web proxy server to avoid duplicate downloads, you can reduce the amount of Internet bandwidth that clients use.

  • Whether computers use Windows BranchCache to download software or updates from peer computers on the same network. For more information, see the Windows BranchCache section in this topic.

The following table provides a few examples of the average network bandwidth use you can expect for computers that run the Windows Intune client. The actual network bandwidth a computer uses varies:


Network use scenario Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7 Details

Install of Windows Intune across the network

110 MB

125 MB

120 MB

The Windows Intune client installs a single time on each computer.

Patch Tuesday

8 MB

24 MB

10 MB

This represents an average volume of security updates released for each Patch Tuesday.

Daily operations

4.5 MB

6 MB

5 MB

Daily, the Windows Intune client communicates with the Windows Intune service to check for updates and policies and to report the client’s status to the service.

The preceding averages are based on the following assumptions:

  • The values for Windows 7 and Windows Vista are for x64-based computers. For x86-based computers, the values are slightly smaller.

  • Very large updates, such as service packs, are not included in this estimate.

  • On a regular schedule, the client computer installs updates for the default selection of product and classifications for Windows Intune. If you change the default selection, the bandwidth usage can vary..

You should plan for the use of additional network bandwidth on peak traffic days such as Patch Tuesdays. Also, a newly enrolled or deployed computer can use more network bandwidth while downloading the full set of previously released updates.

The following table identifies the approximate size of the common types of content that the Windows Intune client downloads across the network:


Content type Approximate size Details

Client enrollment package

15 MB

One time (additional updates might be necessary)

Endpoint Protection agent

65 MB

One time (additional updates might be necessary)

Policy agent

3 MB

One time (additional updates might be necessary)

Operations Manager agent

11 MB

One time (additional updates might be necessary)

Remote Assistance via Microsoft Easy Assist agent

6 MB

One time (additional updates might be necessary)

Endpoint Protection signature updates

Varies (40 KB to 2 MB

Daily (up to 3 times a day)

Endpoint Protection engine update

5 MB


Patch Tuesday

30 MB


Service packs


Depends on the size of service packs you deploy.

Software distribution


Depends on the frequency and size of software you deploy.

Separately, each client computer communicates across the network to the Windows Intune service. You can use the information in the following sections to reduce the amount of network bandwidth this communication uses.

You can use a caching proxy server at the edge of your network to reduce the use of network bandwidth by clients that request content from the Internet. A caching proxy server performs the following actions:

  • Receives requests for content from client computers, and then retrieves that content from the Internet.

  • Saves a local cache of the content for a period of time.

  • Acts as a content source when the next client computer requests the same content. When this occurs, the caching proxy server returns its copy of the cached content instead of retrieving the content from the Internet.

Each caching proxy server can have different configuration settings. When configuring a caching proxy server for use by Windows Intune client computers, you should adjust values that correspond to the following settings.


Setting Recommended value Details

Cache size

5 to 30 GB

This value depends on the number of client computers in your network. You should size the cache so that cached files are not prematurely deleted from the cache.

Individual cache file size

950 MB

This setting might not be available in all caching proxy servers.

Object types to cache

  • HTTP


  • BITS

Windows Intune packages are CAB files retrieved by BITS download over HTTP.

To fully optimize a caching proxy server for Windows Intune client computers, additional settings might be required. For example, in Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server and in Microsoft Threat Management Gateway (TMG), you must manually activate BITS caching for all downloads. The user interface for both ISA and TMG do not support this configuration. Instead, you use a script to enable ISA or TMG to cache BITS downloads. For information about how to activate this functionality, see Leveraging On Premise Web Proxies to Reduce Internet Bandwidth Usage from the Windows Intune blog.

You can reduce the network bandwidth that client computers use by setting the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) network bandwidth usage limit setting in a Windows Intune Agent Settings policy. For more information about the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) network bandwidth usage limit setting, see Windows Intune Policy Settings Reference.

Windows Intune clients can use BranchCache when the operating system of the client supports BranchCache and is configured with BranchCache Distributed Cache mode. Supported operating systems include Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.

When the Windows Intune installs, the install automatically enables BranchCache Distributed Cache mode on the client computer. If there is a group policy that disables BranchCache, Windows Intune will not override the group policy setting and BranchCache will remain disabled.

When you use BranchCache, the first computer on a subnet that retrieves content from the Windows Intune service, caches the content locally and becomes a new source for that content on that subnet. When a second client requests the same content, it downloads the content metadata from the Windows Intune service. Then, after downloading the metadata, the second client sends a request for the content across the local network to determine if any client on that subnet already has the content cached. Finding the first client with a local copy of the content, the second client retrieves the content directly from that first client.

To improve the performance of peer to peer content distribution, install the hotfix that is available from Article 2570170 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Make sure you do not deploy a Group Policy or a Windows Intune Firewall policy that disables BranchCache Firewall exceptions.

For more information about BranchCache, see BranchCache on the Microsoft TechNet website.

This topic is updated periodically with additional information, corrections, and recommendations that are based on continuing research and new findings. Check back for updates.

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