What value is there in a free tool?
There’s a new version of the free Microsoft Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool out – looks to be dated 8th of December, fresh out of the oven! We reviewed the older version here.
This tool is a free offering from Microsoft that emulates a single audio call from your PC to your local (geographically) Skype for Business/ Teams anycast node.
The Microsoft Network Assessment Tool provides the ability to perform a simple test of network performance to determine how well the network would perform for a Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business Online call. The tool tests the connection to Microsoft Network Edge by streaming a set of packets to the nearest edge site and back for approximately 17 seconds for a configured number of iterations. The tool reports:
- Packet loss
- Round-trip latency
- Reorder packet percentage
A couple of the things in the last version that weren’t great:
- Prerequisites / redistributable fail – quite a lot of systems we installed on didn’t have the right prerequisites and it was a needle in a haystack to track some of them down. The new version looks to have included the right redistributables and prerequisites, so it can be installed on any system, including Windows 7, Windows 10 and Windows Server (important for remote site tests)
- Didn’t assess network connectivity to other relay nodes, other than your local anycast node nor check for port / open closed
The download is approx. 62Mb as it includes the redistributables required.
It’s not immediately apparent but it installs to this directory:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool
You can then run the NetworkAssessmentTool.exe and it will perform a generic audio only assessment against your local Skype / Teams anycast node.
Note: This version doesn’t appear to tell you what relay IP you are connected to. I guess that’s factored in with the next bit, built in connectivity checks to Skype for Business / Teams Relay IPs.
One of the really cool new things in this version is to check connectivity on a port by port basis out to the Skype for Business / Teams Relay infrastructure and whether it is reachable. This is a good indicator that your corporate firewalls are allowing traffic out to the Skype / Teams infrastructure and can be a handy test just to ensure your network and firewall teams are on the same page.
By typing NetworkAssessmentTool.exe /connectivitycheck /verbose
This will list out all the relevant Relay IPs using anycast addresses and Microsofts list of public nodes – you’ll also notice it only tests the new port ranges that are recommended for Skype for Business Online & Teams – removing the requirement of port ranges 50,000-59,999 and focusing on a smaller set of easily identifiable ports.
All in all, a great update to a handy little tool. If you need more in-depth reporting, programmatic ability to run tests and validate for various codecs, including video and audio – we would recommend IR Prognosis UC Assessor.
If you need help, or want expert advice on the configuration, design and operation of Skype for Business & Teams over complex networks – get in touch below!