During this time more than ever, we all want to know if our network is good enough to work from where we are sitting. There is handy website provided by Microsoft, currently as a proof of concept, to run such tests against some key Microsoft 365 workloads.
The test is located at: https://connectivity.office.com/
It will test: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams
The first thing you do after loading up the page is to set your location. You can either type it in manually or use the location service. The list will assist you as you type (powered by Bing).
Right after you have set the location, the page will give you some “off the bat” basic results.
This only provide you with quick but limited infomation. You can then choose to provide your Microsoft 365 tenant name to run an advanced test.
When you click “Run Tests”, your browser will prompt you to download an executable file. One file is associated with only one round of tests. You can refresh the page and run another round and you will need to download another file.
Before you double click and run the file you will need a couple of prerequisites to be installed on your computer:
.NET Core Runtime (Download)
.NET Core Desktop Runtime (Download)
Once you have completed the installation, you can double click the connectivity test executable to start the tests.
When it has finished, the application itself won’t return any results. Simply click the Close button and the results will be on the original web page where you entered your tenant name and downloaded the executable.
I did the tests in a few different scenarios to see if it would return the accurate and correct results. The outcome were positive.
- VPN, without split tunnel
As the map shows: I’m in Cardiff but breaking out to the internet from London (our datacentre) and my DNS server is all the way in Belgium. This resulted my Microsoft 365 Front Door being in the Netherlands (a bit strange). So, not ideal!
The detailed information table confirmed the results.
- VPN, with split tunnel
This is more like my actually daily working condition, and it is the recommended configuration for anyone who must use VPN. As the map shows, my internet breakout is now local to me in Cardiff and my Microsoft 365 Front Door is now in London. Much better!
The detailed information table also reflected the change.
- Local breakout
This is the Microsoft recommended configuration – local internet breakout, no VPN. As the map shows, now all my traffic stay in the country: breakout in Cardiff, DNS in London and Microsoft 365 Front Door in London. The most ideal case.
The advanced test also provide additional information per workload (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Teams). Being an UC guy, I’m going to take Teams as an example.
As part of the advanced tests, when running the executable it downloads and installs the Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool in the background to run a media test. The test does a quick connectivity check to see if the necessary ports are open to establish the media stream. It also returns some network quality metrics.
It also provides network Trace Route results to Microsoft 365 service Front Doors.
Again, I will take Teams as an example but the tests also return results for Exchange Online and SharePoint online.
It took 3 hops, including my home Sky router, for me to get on the Microsoft network. In contrast, when my traffic was going through the VPN tunnel it took 2 more hops – confirms Microsoft’s recommendation of using local breakout.
To conclude, although this tool is not GA yet it is a very handy tool to give you some tangible idea of your network setup and condition when using Microsoft 365 services. I have only listed some of the information from the full testing results. To have a proper look, give it a go yourself. It only take a few mins.
For more technical information see here.
Thank you for reading!