Skype and Lync do an excellent job of coping with poor / variable network conditions, but ultimately the quality and consistency of your internet connection will play a big part in your experience when working from home/talking to other users/companies over federation.
Sometimes with quality issues it is hard for users to understand if the problem is their connection. Event for users with “good connections”, it’s worth testing to see if the connection is contented or someone else in the house isn’t hammering the connection.
There are a number of tools admins/users can use to test the quality of an internet connection.
Testing Sign in/Signalling on Lync:
Remote Connectivity Analyzer
First off, if you can’t even sign into Lync, you can test your connectivity and ports with the Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyser (https://testconnectivity.microsoft.com/)
This has a number of tests for Exchange, Lync and Office 365
Microsoft Lync Connectivity Analyzer (mobile app connectivity)
Microsoft Lync Connectivity Analyzer helps Lync administrators find out if the deployment and configuration of their Lync Server environment meets the requirements to support connections from Lync Windows Store app for Windows 8 and Windows RT and from Lync mobile apps.
Testing Session / Connection Quality Apps:
Lync / Skype Test Call
Both Lync and Skype have the ability for you to do a test call that is recorded and played back to you. This is in the box and can give a very quick and easy assessment of the quality of your connection:
Lync has a check button on the dial pad, Skype has an Exch / Sound Test Service Bot
Lync Connectivity Analyser
- Windows 8 Modern App (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=322110)
- Windows Desktop App (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=327914)
A free app from Microsoft that literally signs into your Lync System and relays media from the edge. This is useful as it is testing the exact path between your endpoint and the Lync System (be it online or Server). It shows Network MOS, Packet Loss and Jitter in nice visual graphs. This is nice because it will do a true VoIP Test, some of the other tools get stuck with NAT routers a they have no ICE/STUN/TURN.
Testing Session / Connection Quality Online Services:
These Services and test tools can give a lot more detail, but often require Java (to create a two way connection to test and give feedback
This is usually my default starting point, nothing to install, no need for java for the basic speed test. It gives ping and throughput
Pingtest.net (sister site) Does require Java looks at more than throughput, but also at consistency (packet loss, Jitter), which is key for VoIP/Video. It even gives a MOS score
Microsoft TRRIPP / Office 365 Fast Track Network Analysis
Microsoft use software from Visualware to provide a good selection of network testing (requires Java).
These are provided as the TRIPP (Transport Reliability IP Probe) / Office 365 Network Analysis tool Cloud app
Edit: The Tripp links have now been replaced with FastTrack
Amsterdam, NL: http://trippams.online.lync.com
Blue Ridge, VA: http://trippbl2.online.lync.com
Dublin, IE: http://trippdb3.online.lync.com
Hong Kong: http://tripphkn.online.lync.com
San Antonio, TX: http://trippsn2.online.lync.com
North America: http://na1-fasttrack.cloudapp.net/
Unfortunately these tools seem to conflict with Java’s heightened default security stance (the apps are not signed), so you may have to reduce the desktop java security level/ create exceptions.
These tools provides lots of detail and tests. Best of all users can go to advanced, view test and paste the results to you in an email/IM (requires browser pop up).
You can also go direct to Visualware to run a superset of these tests. You can also buy them to install in your own datacentre.