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Assessing Network Capacity and Speed Requirements for Azure Virtual Desktop

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An important aspect of any Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) environment is ensuring it is designed to not only meet best practices standards but also meet your organization’s requirements. To get the most out of this cloud-hosted service, it is important to use the correct features and components that make up the AVD environment which will, in turn, give a much better experience for your users. 

This course will help you design and plan your Azure Virtual Desktop environment and allow you to understand how it integrates with other Azure services. It covers understanding network and sizing requirements, recommending the correct identity and access management (IAM) solution to integrate with AVD, the operating system (OS) options that support AVD, and a closer look at the different host pool types with use cases they fit into.

Learning Objectives

  • Assessing existing physical and virtual desktop environments
  • Assessing network capacity and speed requirements for Azure Virtual Desktop
  • Recommending an operating system for an Azure Virtual Desktop implementation
  • Planning and configuring name resolution for Active Directory (AD) and Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS)
  • Planning host pools architecture
  • Recommending resource groups, subscriptions, and management groups
  • Configuring a location for the Azure Virtual Desktop metadata
  • Calculating and recommending a configuration for performance requirements

Intended Audience

This course is intended for people who want to become an Azure Virtual Desktop Specialist and/or are preparing to take the AZ-140 exam.


If you wish to get the most out of this course, it is recommended that you should have a good understanding of Azure Administration, however, this is not essential.


Welcome to this module on Assessing Network Capacity and Speed Requirement for Azure Virtual Desktop.  In this module we will cover the following topics:

  • We will be taking a closer look at an Azure Virtual Desktop network architecture and the various ports and traffic flows
  • Next, we will look at the different types of network connectivity for Azure Virtual Desktop
  • Finally, we will look to understand some of the causes of connection latency in Azure Virtual Desktop

Let's start by looking at the network architecture for Azure Virtual Desktop

First, we can see all the connection sources which include the client device from which they are making the connection to Azure Virtual Desktop, the session host virtual machine, the internet, Active Directory Domain Services and Azure AD.

If we look closer at the Client connection, this flows via the Internet before it hits the Azure Virtual Desktop infrastructure.  As we can see it makes three types of connection but all using the https port, which is 443.  The purple line shows it making the Azure AD authentication, the red line signifies the feed subscription connection, and the dashed line signifies the Reverse Connection Transport connection.  We will discuss this connection type in more detail shortly

We now see the additional authentication type connections that are made, initially from the session host to the Active Directory Domain Services on port 443 using Reverse Connect Transport, and then the Azure AD Connect traffic also using port 443.

The session hosts are also making connections to both the RD Gateway and RD Broker services.  As we can see with this thick blue line, the connection to the RD Gateway is done on port 443 using Reverse Connect Transport.  The connection to the RD Broker uses the RD Agent communication connection type, also on port 443

We now move on to looking at the different connection types.  There are four main connectivity types that are utilized in Azure Virtual Desktop:

  • First, we have Session Connectivity.  As we saw in the architecture diagram earlier, session connectivity uses the remote desktop protocol, better known as RDP port to deliver remote display and input capabilities.
  • We then have Reverse Connect Transport, which  is utilized to create the connection to the remote session on Azure Virtual Desktop
  • With the Session Host Communication Channel, when the Azure Virtual Desktop session initially starts there is a service called Remote Desktop Agent Loader service which creates a constant channel with Azure Virtual Desktop
  • Finally, the Connection Security. All connections that are made from clients and sessions hosts to the Azure Virtual Desktop infrastructure use TLS 1.2 

Let's now move on to understanding connection latency in Azure Virtual Desktop.  

There are a number of different things that can cause network latency when using Azure Virtual Desktop.  As a service, Azure Virtual Desktop is globally available so as long as you have an internet connection and a supported device to use, you can connect to it.

It is not available in every region, so it is location dependent, however the list of supported regions is always growing.  

Network latency can be difficult to predict or control, however Microsoft have and Azure Virtual Desktop  Experience Estimator tool that assists organizations on deciding the best region which will allow them to improve latency of their session hosts.  It is recommended that organizations should use this tool every 3 months to help manage network latency issues.

About the Author

Shabaz Darr is a Senior Infrastructure Specialist at Netcompany based in the UK. He has 15 years plus experience working in the IT industry, 7 of those he has spent working with Microsoft Cloud Technologies in general, with a focus on MEM and IaaS. Shabaz is a Microsoft MVP in Enterprise Mobility with certifications in Azure Administration and Azure Virtual Desktop. During his time working with Microsoft Cloud, Shabaz has helped multiple public and private sector clients in the UK with designing and implementing secure Azure Virtual Desktop environments.