Does Microsoft Teams use more bandwidth than Zoom?

Zoom’s rise in popularity took a drastic development during the COVID-19 pandemic; unable to leave their home, office staff worldwide took to platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Discord for communication. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are more frequent choices, so, of course, their users have their concerns, namely, which application uses less bandwidth? While that may sound like a tedious question, it is (fortunately) not coupled with a drawn-out convoluted answer.

Microsoft Teams standard video calls and meetings are generally more efficient than Zoom (regarding data consumption). I have illustrated this below.

PlatformBandwidth use per second (kBps)Data loss per hour (MB)
Microsoft Teams (Standard video call)1,500304
Microsoft Teams (Meeting)1,800810

In this post, I will be expanding on Teams’ and Zooms’ data/bandwidth usage: namely, which one uses it more efficiently. To ensure the information is easily accessible, I have structured it behind tables when appropriate.

If you’re here to find out about something specific, you might not want to read everything. If that’s the case, you can use the following links to access relevant content quickly:

  1. How much bandwidth does Team consume
  2. How much bandwidth does Zoom consume
  3. Which platform is more efficient
  4. Closing note

How much bandwidth does Teams consume?

I cannot state how much bandwidth Teams will use unless you’re enforcing a bandwidth limit via third-party tools. Numerous unpredictable factors (perhaps even unique to you) can impact your network’s performance. Hence, you should use the data below as an average or reference. The values stated below are based on Microsoft’s stated bandwidth requirements.

Data usage overview

The table below illustrates Teams’ bandwidth use and data loss when using Microsoft’s stated optimal bandwidth. Users complying with Microsoft’s said “minimum” quality bandwidth requirement could expect fewer data losses; however, users complying with the stated “best performance” bandwidth requirement will experience more significant data losses.

The table below assumes you’re in a call with one other person; however, if that’s not the case, you can use the following equation to calculate your data loss:

(available bandwidth * visible video feeds) / 2

Keep in mind that Teams will never display more than four video feeds simultaneously

Call-typeBandwith use (kbps)Hourly data loss (MB)
Standard call5825.2
Standard video call1,500675
Meeting (with video)4,0001,800

Microsoft’s stated bandwidth requirements

From Microsoft guidelines, we can infer that, although Teams functions to the highest quality with 4000Kbps bandwidth, it can operate at varying degrees of quality with far less bandwidth.

  • The minimum quality level offers minuscule data costs at the expense of pleasant video resolutions
  • The adequate quality level offers reasonable data costs despite its standard quality
  • The best performance quality level will cost you the most data and bandwidth but produce the best quality Teams can offer
Call-typeMinimum quality requirement (Kbps)Adequate quality requirement (Kbps)Best performance requirements (Kbps)
Standard call105876
Standard video call1501,5004,000
Meeting (with video)2004,0004,000

How much bandwidth does Zoom consume?

Due to limited information regarding Zoom’s bandwidth requirements, I have used estimates and averages drawn from the few bits and pieces I could find. However, I wouldn’t say the estimates are disagreeable in the slightest.

The statement above concerns the “Mic and video” values in this section’s table.

Data usage overview

Zoom’s bandwidth requirements are dynamic— this makes it hard to give you an accurate representation of what to expect. The issue is primarily the result of unpredictable factors such as:

  • The Zoom call’s active participants
  • The number of participants speaking
  • Your chosen display layout
  • The number of visible video feeds
  • Active effects
  • Network performance

The table below assumes you’re in a call with one other person; however, if that’s not the case, you can use the following equation to calculate your data loss:

(available bandwidth * visible video feeds) / 2

Keep in mind that Zoom will either display a maximum of 25 or 49 video feeds simultaneously. Find out which one applies to you and do not calculate beyond that number of participants.

UsageBandwidth use (kBps)Hourly data loss (MB)
Mic only800360
Mic and video4,5002,025

Which platform is more efficient?

By now, you should have a general idea of the extent to which Teams and Zoom utilize your bandwidth and data. However, if you’re still uncertain which one is more efficient, the following section will help clear that up.

Final verdict

Microsoft Teams is undoubtedly the better and more efficient option. Whether you’re using your webcam or not, Microsoft Teams demands far less bandwidth to function to an adequate quality level. In addition, Microsoft Teams only displays a maximum of five video feeds at any time. The display cap allows Teams to host larger meetings and calls without rapidly inflating their bandwidth requirements. Although Zoom enables numerous layout options and some display capping options, you ultimately end up still requiring more bandwidth.

Closing note

I sincerely thank you for reading this far. If you enjoyed the post or otherwise found it helpful, please consider looking into the related posts I have linked below. Each writer works hard to produce informative, tested, and dependable resources for your work concerning Microsoft 365.

Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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