Teams Troubleshooting: Behind the Scenes
Microsoft Teams has a lot of awesome features, but that also means there's a lot of places we, the Help Desk, need to look at if something during a call goes wrong. The steps we take to identify and resolve Teams call issues can be time-consuming and complex, so here we try to give you some tips on how to help us help you as quick and efficiently as possible.
- My call got disconnected.
- The call audio quality was poor.
Dropped calls and poor connectivity are as common with Microsoft Teams as they are with cell phones, landlines, and any other type of phone. So what do you during your call, and how can you prevent this from happening again?
To begin, a couple of important things to know about Microsoft Teams:
- Microsoft Teams is the most network-dependent application that Cross the Divide supports. What this means for you is that the quality of your internet connection will be most noticeable on your Teams calls. You may notice connectivity problems with Teams that you don’t really notice while browsing the web or using email.
- The majority of Microsoft Teams dropped calls, disconnections, or call quality issues are due to poor network connectivity, not a problem with the Teams app itself.
Step 1: Check Network Connectivity
- Connect via Ethernet rather than WiFi. Wiring your computer directly to the network will always be more reliable than connecting via WiFi, and it offers more bandwidth, too.
- Verify the quality of your connection. We make sure all offices have top-quality internet service, but when making calls from your home or from other off site networks, such as at cafes or hotels, do your best to make sure the connection is not overloaded or unreliable. Here are several tips for home network troubleshooting >>
If you have any questions about the quality or stability of your network connection, either in or out of the office, the Help Desk is happy to assist you in testing it thoroughly.
Step 2: Identify the Type of Call
Did what you could, but still having issues? The next step is to reach out to the Help Desk for assistance. We have several tools at our disposal to help identify the causes of dropped calls and poor call quality issues, but in order to do so, we need to know a few very specific details.
The First Detail: Call Type
- Peer-to-peer. Any time you call one person within your organization, PC to PC, it's a peer-to-peer call type. From a technical perspective, your computer is talking directly to their computer.
- External. Any time you call someone not on Teams, whether you’re calling a landline or a cell phone or any other type of recipient, the call becomes ‘External’. External calls go out through your phone provider, an third party company that provides connectivity to the outside world.
- Conference. Any time you host or join a Teams-based conference call (i.e. you’re speaking to more than one person via audio or video), you and the other participants are connecting to Microsoft's servers rather than directly to each other.
Why does this matter? To troubleshoot, we need to identify where the faulty ‘link in the chain’ is. The type of call determines what systems are involved (your computer, your phone provider, or our servers), and so it’s a key piece of info for our troubleshooting efforts.
The Second Detail: Identifying the Problem Call
Other vital pieces of information we need:
- Who you’re connecting to
- If you’re calling someone outside the organization, we need the phone number.
- If you’re calling internally, we need the person’s name.
- If you’re doing a conference call, we need to know who hosted the conference.
A couple important notes:
- When we speak to your phone provider about external calls, their technical logs only go back a very short time, generally only three days.
- If you need assistance with an external call, be sure to contact us as quickly as possible so we can get info from the provider.
- When we search our own logs looking for call issues, we’re sorting through thousands and thousands of calls, so the more specific you can provide about a call, the more quickly we can narrow the search.
- For instance, ‘I called the North West office on Friday morning’ is much broader than ‘I called Jenny at the Northwest Office at 10:15 Friday morning”. The latter is much more informative and helps us quickly identify the right call.
Now you know a couple of good practices for keeping your Teams calls reliable, and how to help us help you more efficiently resolve any issues you may encounter.