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Plan for network devices that connect to Office 365 services


Applies to: Office 365 Enterprise

Topic Last Modified: 2015-03-31

Summary: Describes considerations for network capacity, WAN accelerators, and load balancing devices that are used to connect to Office 365.

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Some network hardware may have limitations on the number of concurrent sessions that are supported. For organizations having more than 2,000 users, we recommend that they monitor their network devices to ensure they are capable of handling the additional Office 365 service traffic. Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) monitoring software can help you do this.

On-premises outgoing Internet proxy settings also affect connectivity to Office 365 services for your client applications. You must also configure your network proxy devices to allow connections for Microsoft cloud services URLs and applications.

The following Lync Online Help articles have more information about Lync Online settings:

While many of these settings are Lync Online-specific, the general guidance on network configuration is useful for all Office 365 services.

Every network device that exists on a connection has its capacity limit. These devices include the client and server network adapters, routers, switches, and hubs that interconnect them. Adequate network capacity means that none of them are saturated. Monitoring network activity is essential to help ensure that the actual loads on all network devices are less than their maximum capacity. Network capacity affects proxy device performance.

In most situations, the Internet connection bandwidth sets the limit for the amount of traffic. Weak performance during peak traffic hours is probably caused by excessive use of the Internet link. This situation also applies to a branch office scenario, where branch office proxy server computers are connected to the proxy device at the branch’s headquarters over a slow Wide Area Network (WAN) link.

To test network capacity, monitor the network activity on the proxy network interface. If it’s more than 75 percent of the maximum bandwidth of any network interface, consider increasing the bandwidth of the network infrastructure that’s inadequate. Or, consider using advanced features, such as HTTP compression.

If your organization uses wide area network (WAN) acceleration proxy appliances, you may encounter issues when you access the Office 365 services. You may need to optimize your network device or devices to ensure that your users have a consistent experience when accessing Office 365. For example, Office 365 services encrypt some Office 365 content and the TCP header. Your device may not be able to handle this kind of traffic.

Contact your appliance provider for optimization solutions.

We haven’t tested WAN accelerators with the Office 365 service.

Your organization needs to use a hardware load balancer (HLB) or a Network Load Balancing (NLB) solution to distribute requests to your Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) servers and/or your Exchange hybrid servers. Load-balancing devices control the network traffic to the on-premises servers. These servers are crucial in helping to ensure the availability of single sign-on and Exchange hybrid deployment.

We provide a software-based NLB solution built into Windows Server. Office 365 supports this solution to achieve load balancing.

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