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Bandwidth and network capacity assessment

Table of contents

1. Introduction

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

2. Bandwidth and network capacity assessment

Table 2.1 an example of a bandwidth calculation for a single enterprise site. You can use one of two methods to obtain data for this table. 
  1. Determine the number of deployed endpoints, their types, and their peak traffic loads. To do this, you can use logs or network data that you extract from a legacy voice/video system.
  2. Extract the relevant information from the UCaaS cloud administration portal.
Once you extract the relevant data, enter it into the columns of Table 2.1.
 
How to use Table 2.1:
  • Normally, users connect via one endpoint (a phone or an app) at a time. Do not “double count” such endpoints 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 your calculations so you can make sure that network capacity can accommodate business growth and/or company mergers.
  • The Simultaneous Use Factor, or SUF, is a number between 0 and 1. The SUF indicates the maximum number of simultaneously used endpoints. In voice contact center deployment, this number must be set to 1 for the relevant endpoints. The number of relevant endpoints may be a subset of the number of endpoints for the entire enterprise site. For this reason, you may need extra table rows to accommodate different endpoint use cases.
  • Since the bandwidth for video calls is much higher than that for phone calls, you must calculate your SUF carefully. The SUF must reflect sufficient LAN and WAN capacity for  all use cases. 
    • For example, the SUF for video must be set to 1 for enterprises with a small number of users, in which the total produced bandwidth is determined primarily by video calls.
  • The Bandwidth per Endpoint Type number is determined from bandwidth tables Section 4 and is expressed in Mbps (instead of Kbps). For voice and video calls, codecs are dynamically selected according to priority, endpoint negotiation, and call scenario.
    • For voice calls, you must always enter the maximum bandwidth ETTBW) by combining the numbers in each row.
  • Calculate the Endpoint Type Total Bandwidth (ETT-RC-BW) for video calls as follows:

ETT-RC-BW = [(Number of endpoints) + (Headroom for growth)] x (Simultaneous Use Factor) x (Bandwidth per endpoint)

  • The Total Site Bandwidth TS-RC-BW is calculated by adding up all Endpoint Type Total Bandwidth numbers.
    • The TS-RC-BW (Mbps) must be guaranteed both to and from the enterprise, both in the local enterprise site network and in the WAN that connects to RingCentral’s unified communication services.
  • If there’s a shared enterprise WAN link between unified communication and enterprise data traffic, you must add the bandwidth for data traffic (TS-DATA-BW) to the TS-RC-BW figure to get the site’s total bandwidth. Measure TS-DATA-BW during a busy time, and include headroom for data spikes and growth.
Your network must meet the following condition to ensure that the WAN link capacity is sufficient for unified communication traffic:

(TS-RC-BW + TS-DATA-BW) < (Enterprise site provisioned WAN link capacity)

If this condition is not met, you’ll need to increase your WAN link capacity.
 
Provisioned capacity is the capacity available on the WAN link that’s connected to the enterprise site. This figure may differ from the physical link capacity. For example, a 1 Gbps fiber WAN link may connect to the enterprise, but a port capacity of only 100 Mbps may actually be provisioned by the carrier.
 
To avoid Quality of Service issues, it is good practice to:
  • Track the bandwidth used on every public internet connection at every enterprise site, and on any private network carrier port that connects to the unified communication cloud.
  • Proactively add network capacity as needed.

Table 2.1 - Transmitted and received bandwidth for single-enterprise site

Endpoint 
category
Use case
Number of end
points
Head-room for growth
Simul-taneous use factor
Band-width per endpoint type (Mbps)
Endpoint type total bandwidth
(ETTBW) (Mbps)
Desk-phones and soft-phones
Hard phone
100
0
0.5
0.1
5
Hard phone - video
2
0
1
0.65
1.3
Speaker-phone
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
Video
Group video conference call
5
0
1
4.6
23
Two-
party
video
call
10
0
1
2.05
20.5
Group audio-
only conference call
4
0
1
0.1
0.4
Video Rooms
Triple screen
2
0
1
6
12
Dual screen
4
0
1
4
16
Single screen
1
0
1
3
3
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

To calculate bandwidth and network capacity assessment, you’ll also need to consider the following deployment scenarios:
  • Internet-only enterprise sites: If an enterprise only uses internet connections for unified communications services, you must make sure that all enterprise internet connections have sufficient capacity under normal operations and internet connection failover conditions. Capacity estimation must consider that a primary or failover internet connection used for UCaaS communication may be shared with enterprise data traffic.
  • Internet-only home office users: Don’t include the endpoints of work-from-home users in your enterprise-site calculations for Table 1.
  • VPN home office users: Some enterprises require their users to use a Virtual Private Network connection for any soft-client endpoints that can connect to the enterprise site. Include these endpoints in your calculations for Table 1.
  • Private connections: The UCaaS cloud supports private connections. The private network ports at all enterprise sites and on the network service provider connection(s) to the must have sufficient capacity under normal operation and after failover to another private connection or the internet.
  • Video: Video communication uses significant bandwidth, which must be supported by your LAN network and WAN link.
  • Webinar: Enterprises may organize company-wide meetings during which every participant uses their own video endpoints. In such cases, generated bandwidth will be 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 you have insufficient network capacity, all users on an enterprise site may experience degraded voice and/or video quality.

4. Bandwidth overview

The next sections summarize the production and consumption of the bandwidth by each dedicated endpoint type, or a voice/video app running within an endpoint. A deskphone is an example of a dedicated endpoint.
  • Table 4.1.1 lists the bandwidth figures for the receipt and transmission of voice traffic on hard and softphones. Total bandwidth usage depends on the user endpoints allotted to your company, as well as the type of codec used. 
  • Table 4.2.1 and Table 4.3.1 list the bandwidth figures for the receipt and transmission of video traffic for all video conferencing endpoints. Total bandwidth usage depends on the platform, setting, and user endpoints in a conference.
We strongly recommend that you measure your bandwidth capacity. Doing so will help to determine the maximum number of simultaneous VoIP calls that your internet connection can support. For best results, run the test when your connection is idle.

4.1 Hardphones and VoIP application components

The endpoint bandwidth figures 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 applied in the unified communication cloud, and the dynamically negotiated codec type.
Table 4.1.1 - Desk, conference and cordless phone and VoIP app - transmitted and received bandwidth

Endpoint

Codec

Transmitted and received bandwidth (Kbps)

Deskphone and IP conference phone

G.711

87

G.729

31

G.722

87

Opus

60 - 80

Video*

616

Desktop or mobile VoIP app

Opus

60 - 80

*Some account tiers support two-party, extension-to-extension video calls for Polycom VVX 601/600 and 501/500 with detachable cameras. This is an on-demand feature that must be enabled by a cloud administrator.

4.2 Video

Table 4.2.1 summarizes the bandwidth figures for received and transmitted video endpoint traffic. These figures depend on the use case, and indicate the maximum bandwidth that might be transmitted or received. The figures in this table have been generated with the assumption that the endpoint has enabled HD video.

Table 4.2.1 - Video - Transmitted and received bandwidth

Use case

Transmitted bandwidth (Kbps)

Received bandwidth (Kbps)

Group video conference call

2600

6600

Two-party video call

4050

3400

Group audio-only conference call

70-100

70-100

4.3 Video Rooms

Table 4.3.1 lists the bandwidth figures for received and transmitted traffic for Video Rooms. These figures depend on the use case. Received bandwidth for video operation depends on the number of screens used. Transmitted bandwidth, which uses a single camera, is always 2 Mbps.

Table 4.3.1 - Video Rooms - Transmitted and received bandwidth

Use case

Transmit bandwidth (Kbps)

Receive bandwidth (Kbps)

Three screens

2000

6000

Two screens

2000

4000

One screen

2000

2000

Screen-sharing only

150 - 300

150 - 300

Audio only

60 - 80

60 - 80

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