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Bandwidth and network capacity assessment

Table of contents

1. Introduction

For proper operation of unified communication services, sufficient capacity must be allocated  for public internet and private network connections. This article provides guidelines on how to calculate bandwidth and assess capacity on network links to allow proper endpoint operation in different use cases.

2. Bandwidth and network capacity assessment

Table 2.1 provides an example of a bandwidth calculation for a single enterprise site. Two methods can be used to obtain data for the table. One approach is to determine the number of deployed endpoints, their type, and the peak traffic load from logs or network data extracted from a still deployed legacy voice/video system. 
 
Alternatively, information can be extracted from the unified cloud communication services administration portal. This data can be entered into the table columns. The table must be used as follows:  
  • Normally, users utilize one endpoint (phone or app) at a time. Such endpoints should not be double-counted in the Number of Endpoints column.
  • The Headroom for Growth column indicates how many extra endpoints may be activated after the initial deployment of unified communication services. It is useful to take this number into account in the calculation to ensure that network capacity is available to accommodate business growth or company mergers.
  • The Simultaneous Use Factor (SUF), a number between 0 and 1, indicates the maximum number of simultaneously used endpoints. In voice contact center deployment, this number must be set to 1 for the endpoints involved, which may be a subset of the entire enterprise site endpoint population. As a consequence, extra table rows may be needed to accommodate different endpoint use cases.
  • Since the bandwidth used for video calls is much higher than for phone calls, the SUF must be carefully selected so that, in all use cases, sufficient local and wide-area network link capacity is ensured. As an example, the SUF for video must be set to 1 for enterprises with a small number of users, where the total produced bandwidth is primarily determined by video calls.
  • The Bandwidth per Endpoint Type is obtained from bandwidth tables (Section 5) and is stated in Mbps (instead of Kbps). For voice and video calls, codecs are dynamically selected based on priority, endpoint negotiation, and call scenario. For voice calls, the maximum bandwidth of 0.1 Mbps is always entered into the table to ensure that capacity needs are properly budgeted for signaling and all voice codec types that may be used. For video calls, maximum bandwidth is entered if transmit and receive bandwidth numbers are different.
  • The Endpoint Type Total Bandwidth (ETTBW) in the last column is calculated from the combination of the numbers on each row.
  • The Endpoint Type Total Bandwidth (ETT-RC-BW) for video calls is calculated as:

ETT-RC-BW = [(Number of Endpoints) + (Headroom for Growth)] x (Simultaneous Use Factor) x (Bandwidth per Endpoint)

  • The Total Site Bandwidth produced by unified communication traffic, TS-RC-BW is calculated as the sum of all Endpoint Type Total Bandwidth numbers.
  • The calculated TS-RC-BW (Mbps) must be guaranteed in each traffic direction to/from the enterprise, both in the local enterprise site network and in the wide-area network connecting to the unified communication services.
An enterprise WAN link may be shared for unified communication and enterprise data traffic. In that case, the bandwidth for data traffic, TS-DATA-BW, needs to be added to the TS-RC-BW number to get the total bandwidth for the site. The TS-DATA-BW must be determined during a busy time and include headroom for data spikes and growth.
 
The following capacity condition must be met to ensure that the WAN link capacity is sufficient to transport unified communication traffic:

(TS-RC-BW + TS-DATA-BW) < (Enterprise Site Provisioned WAN link Capacity)

If this condition is not met, then the WAN link capacity needs to be increased. The provisioned capacity is the capacity available on the WAN link connected to the enterprise site. This may be different from the physical link capacity. As an example, a 1 Gbps fiber WAN link may be connecting to the enterprise, but a port capacity of only 100 Mbps may actually be provisioned.
 
To avoid quality of service issues it is good practice to a) track the bandwidth used on each public internet connection at each enterprise site and on any private network carrier port connecting to the unified communication cloud, and b) proactively add network capacity as needed.
Table 2.1 - Transmit and Receive Bandwidth for Single Enterprise Site

Endpoint Category

Use Case

Number of Endpoints

Headroom for Growth

Simultaneous Use Factor

Bandwidth per Endpoint Type (Mbps)

Endpoint Type Total Bandwidth (Mbps)

Desk and Softphones

Hard phone

100

0

0.5

0.1

5

Hard phone - video

2

0

1

0.65

1.3

Speakerphone

5

0

0.25

0.1

0.125

Softphone

20

0

1

0.1

2

Mobile phone on WiFi

3

0

1

0.1

3

RingCentral Video

Group video conference call

5

0

1

4.6

23

2-party video call

10

0

1

2.05

20.5

Group audio-only conference call

4

0

1

0.1

0.4

Placeholder            

RingCentral Video Rooms

Triple screen

2

0

1

6

12

Dual screen

4

0

1

4

16

Single screen

1

0

1

3

3

RingCentral Video with Rooms Connector

Triple screen

4

0

1

6

24

Dual screen

6

0

1

4

24

Single screen

1

0

1

3

3

 

TS-RC-BW (Mbps) = 169.725

3. Deployment scenarios

Other deployment scenarios which also need to be taken into account for bandwidth and network capacity assessment are:
  • Internet-only enterprise sites: If an enterprise uses internet-only connections to leverage unified communications services, it must be ensured that all enterprise internet connections have sufficient capacity under normal operation and failover conditions. If a primary or failover internet connection is shared for enterprise data traffic, this must be considered in capacity estimation.
  • Internet-only home office users: Endpoints of users always working from home should not be included in the enterprise site calculation for Table 1 when they use an internet connection to connect directly to unified communication services.
  • VPN home office users: Some enterprises require the setup of a Virtual Private Network connection to the enterprise site before any application, including soft-client endpoints, can be used. Such endpoints must be included in the calculation of Table 1.
  • CloudConnect: RingCentral offers CloudConnect as a private network interface to connect enterprise sites with the unified communication cloud. It must be ensured that the private network ports at all enterprise sites and on the network service provider connection(s) to the CloudConnect interface have sufficient capacity under normal operation and after failover to another CloudConnect interface to another CloudConnect interface and the internet.
  • Add-on license: The Video/Meetings bandwidth calculation must accommodate the RingCentral MVP Edition and any Add-on licenses since it significantly impacts the bandwidth that needs to be supported by both the LAN network and WAN link. 
  • Webinar: Enterprises may organize company-wide meetings during which each participant is using their own video endpoint. In that case, the generated bandwidth is maximized on all enterprise network connections. All previously indicated scenarios must have sufficient capacity to cope with this case, both in normal operation and under failover conditions. When insufficient network capacity is available, all users on an enterprise site may experience degraded voice and video quality.

4. Bandwidth overview

The next sections summarize bandwidth produced and consumed by each dedicated endpoint type or sub-functionality within an endpoint. 
 
The former is the case for regular desk phones. The latter is the case for the MVP App, which contains both phone and video functionality.
  • Table 4.1.1 states the bandwidth numbers for both the receive and transmit voice traffic of hard and softphones. The total bandwidth usage is variable depending on the user endpoints allotted to your company and the codec type used.
  • Tables 4.2.1 and 4.3.1 state the bandwidth numbers for both the receive and transmit traffic of video conferencing endpoints. The total bandwidth usage is variable depending on the platform, setting, and user endpoints (participants) in a conference. Go to https://www.ringcentral.com/office/plansandpricing.html and scroll down to "Unlimited audio conferencing" and "Video meeting and participants" for the maximum number of participants per plan for audio and video conferences.
It is highly recommended that Bandwidth Capacity is measured. This will help to determine the maximum number of simultaneous VoIP calls that can be supported on an Internet connection. For best results, please run this test when the connection is idle (i.e., the Internet is not in use by any other user or application).

4.1 Hard phones and VoIP application components

The endpoint bandwidth numbers in Table 4.1.1 include packetization and Ethernet framing. The codec used for a given call depends on the endpoint type, the codec preferences administratively applied in the unified communication cloud, and the dynamically negotiated codec type. 
Table 4.1.1 - Desk, Conference and Cordless Phone and VoIP App - Transmit and Receive Bandwidth

Endpoint

Codec

Transmit and Receive Bandwidth (Kbps)

Desk phone and IP Conference phone

G.711

87

G.729

31

G.722

87

Opus

60 - 80

Video*

616

Desktop or mobile VoIP App component

Opus

60 - 80

*For some account tiers, 2-party extension-to-extension video calls for Polycom VVX 601/600 and 501/500 with detachable cameras are supported. This is an on-demand feature, which must be enabled by RingCentral Administration. A video call can be activated one way or in both call directions.

4.2 RingCentral Video

Table 4.2.1 summarizes the bandwidth numbers for the receive and transmit RingCentral Video endpoint traffic. As indicated, the numbers depend on the use case and indicate the maximum bandwidth that might occur. It is assumed that HD video is enabled on the endpoint.

Table 4.2.1 - RingCentral Video - Transmit and Receive Bandwidth

Use Case

Transmit Bandwidth (Kbps)

Receive Bandwidth (Kbps)

Group video conference call

2600

6600

2-party video call  

4050

3400

Group audio-only conference call

70-100

70-100

4.3 RingCentral Video Rooms

Table 4.3.1 states the bandwidth numbers for both the receive and transmit traffic of RingCentral Video Rooms. The transmit and receive bandwidths depend on the use case. The received bandwidth for video operation depends on the number of screens. The transmit bandwidth is always 2 Mbps because a single camera is used.

Table 4.3.1 - RingCentral Video Rooms - Transmit and Receive Bandwidth

Use Case

Transmit Bandwidth (Kbps)

Receive Bandwidth (Kbps)

Triple Screen

2000

6000

Dual Screen

2000

4000

Single Screen

2000

2000

Screen sharing only

150 - 300

150 - 300

Audio-only

60 - 80

60 - 80

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