How Lockdown Changed Corporate Internet Connectivity

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Global lockdown has forced many people to work from remote: empty offices, all remote working until the emergency is over.


In essence during the lockdown remote workers used very few corporate services via VPN, with relatively light traffic (e.g. accounting) and the heavy videoconferencing traffic not propagating in the company networks: this as moderns videoconferencing solutions are all cloud based. So in essence moving to remote working has not put too much pressure on corporate networks beside the creation of VPN accounts or other limited changes.

As you can see the funny thing is the reverse transition. As the lockdown is now reduced in many regions and some people started to go back to work from office, we have decided to evaluate the impact of this change in corporate connectivity. In order to do this we have enhanced nDPI to support all the popular videoconferencing software including GoToMeeting, Webex, MS Teams, Zoom, Google Meet: this is in order to measure the bandwidth being used. In order to compare them, we have run a few tests in the same conditions (two users talking over the Internet with the same PC and camera) and the results are listed below (all values are expressed in Mbit and measured on one user’s side).






Audio Only






Audio+Video (local minified + remote big)






(local minified + remote application sharing)






    • NOTE: You can read more here about the official bandwidth requirements of Microsoft Teams.

As you can see with a pure video call, the bandwidth usage is high. Such bandwidth is then reduced when people share slides or non-moving pictures (in this case people images are minified and thus lighter in terms of bandwidth usage). Modern conferencing system are pretty efficient, others not that much, but in general audio calls are not a problem whereas when video (again with video we mean people cameras no screen sharing) is used, bandwidth consumption increases quite a bit. This scenario is not a problem from the corporate standpoint as videoconferencing systems do not load corporate Internet.

Unfortunately with the end of lockdown the situation is changing quite a bit as shown in the picture below: some people go back to work, and many others keep working from remote. Furthermore we have noticed that people are now using videoconferencing tools more often than before and often using cameras that make the overall experience more immersive and human-friendly. In essence the phone is no longer the main media, as it has been replaced by HD desktop conferencing tools (yes even the meeting room conferencing system is used very seldom as people prefer to stay at the desk when not too noisy, thus increasing the number of simultaneous conferences previously limited by the number of available conference rooms). The new scenario is depicted below.

This has created a few problems as the corporate Internet link is under pressure being it flooded by many simultaneous conferences no longer mitigated by the cloud. This is a problem that can be addressed either preventing people form using the cameras (only screen sharing is allowed) or increasing the corporate bandwidth with extra costs involved.

If you are wondering how is the bandwidth used, thanks to nDPI and ntopng you can now visualize the traffic with the pie charts you are already familiar with, and create long-term timeseries to understand how the traffic changed with respect to the pre-lockdown days.

From the network protocol standpoint, some videoconferencing protocols are pretty challenging. While Zoom and Webex are somehow “simple” to track, others such as Microsoft Teams are much more challenging. This is because Teams is a mix of various underlying network protocols ranging from Microsoft 365 (for calendar for instance) to Skype for audio and video communications. This is because Microsoft has acquired Skype some years ago, and apparently started to adopt Skype in Teams. So the big challenge has been to mark Skype as Teams when Teams is in use, and leave it as Skype when the consumer Skype app or Skype for Business are used. This said thanks to the latest nDPI extensions, all the leading videoconferencing protocols are now supported and marked properly so that you can enjoy timely protocol reports. Just make sure to update your ntop tools to the latest (nightly) version where all these changes have been incorporated.