Office 365 is designed to enable customers all over the world to connect to the service using an internet connection. As the service evolves, the security, performance, and reliability of Office 365 are improved based on customers using the internet to establish a connection to the service.
Customers planning to use Office 365 should assess their existing and forecasted internet connectivity needs as a part of the deployment project. For enterprise class deployments reliable and appropriately sized internet connectivity is a critical part of consuming Office 365 features and scenarios.
Network evaluations can be performed by many different people and organizations depending on your size and preferences. The network scope of the assessment can also vary depending on where you’re at in your deployment process. To help you get a better understanding of what it takes to perform a network assessment, we’ve produced a network assessment guide to help you understand the options available to you. This assessment will determine what steps and resources need to be added to the deployment project to enable you to successfully adopt Office 365.
A comprehensive network assessment will provide possible solutions to networking design challenges along with implementation details. Most network assessments will indicate network connectivity to Office 365 can be accommodated with minor configuration or design changes to the existing network and internet egress infrastructure.
Some assessments will indicate network connectivity to Office 365 will require additional investments in networking components. For example, investments in WAN bandwidth or optimized routing infrastructure to support internet connectivity to Office 365. Occasionally an assessment will indicate network connectivity to Office 365 is influenced by regulation or performance requirements for scenarios such as Skype for Business Online media quality. These additional requirements may lead to investments in internet connectivity infrastructure, routing optimization, and specialized direct connectivity.
Note: Infrastructure and platform services running in Azure will often benefit by addressing network architecture and performance considerations. We recommend ExpressRoute for Azure in these cases. Software as a Service offerings like Office 365 and Dynamics 365 have been built to be accessed securely and reliably via the Internet. Accordingly, we only recommend ExpressRoute for these applications in specific scenarios.
Key points to consider when planning your network assessment for Office 365:
Office 365 is a secure, reliable, high performance service that runs over the public internet. We continue to invest to enhance these aspects of the service. All Office 365 services are available via internet connectivity.
We are continually optimizing core aspects of Office 365 such as availability, global reach, and performance for internet based connectivity. For example, many Office 365 services leverage an expanding set of internet facing edge nodes. This edge network offers the best proximity and performance to connections coming over the internet.
When considering using Office 365 for any of the included services such as Skype for Business Online voice, video, or meeting capabilities, customers must complete an end to end network assessment and meet requirements using our Skype Operations Framework. These customers will have several options to meet specific requirements for cloud connectivity, including ExpressRoute.
If you’re evaluating Office 365 and aren’t sure where to begin with your network assessment or have found network design challenges that you need assistance to overcome, please work with your Microsoft account team.