Knowledge base

October 21, 2020

How to limit OneDrive upload bandwidth.

If the OneDrive client is actively syncing files, you will see the sync icon (Figure # 1) over the OneDrive icon in the system tray. Clicking the OneDrive icon displays a list of files queued for synchronization. On the device I was troubleshooting, OneDrive uploaded a series of large media files that had recently been transferred to the local drive.

Image # 1

How to limit OneDrive for Business upload bandwidth

Network usage in the OneDrive sync client

By default, the upload speed of the OneDrive sync client is not limited. In other words, it can saturate your upload bandwidth. If the client is synchronizing small office files, or if there is a large amount of upload bandwidth available, the default setting may not be a problem.

The default upload setting can even be an advantage, as you can rest assured that all documents stored in locations synced with OneDrive will be quickly uploaded to the cloud. The faster the OneDrive client can upload files to the cloud, the faster they will be available to share or access from other devices.

But as more of us work remotely because of the global pandemic, the available upload bandwidth at home is often much lower than the download bandwidth. In this case, large files to be uploaded by the synchronization client can quickly saturate the upload bandwidth. This in turn causes slow response when loading websites on devices connected to the local network.

ISP bandwidth test

To check the available upload and download bandwidth on your network, use a service such as To understand the actual bandwidth you can get from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), make sure the network is not being used by other applications or devices while the test is running.

It is useful to establish a benchmark so that you can better solve connection problems when they occur. In the figure below (Figure 2), you can see that the available upload bandwidth is about 16 times less than the download bandwidth.

Image # 2


Quality of service versus network settings of the OneDrive sync app

Microsoft recommends the use of network quality policies (QoS) as the best way to manage the network usage of the OneDrive synchronization client. But for users on home networks, it is more practical to configure network usage settings in the sync app. Users can change the settings manually or they can be configured using group policy or registry settings.

Implementing QoS to protect upload bandwidth involves assigning a Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP) value (0-63) to network packets generated by the OneDrive synchronization app and then limiting the maximum upload speed the app can use. Network devices, such as routers and switches, can then use the DSCP value to classify and queue network packets to control bandwidth usage. Packages with a higher DSCP value are given priority.

Most home routers have some built-in QoS features, such as port-based QoS and priority schemes such as 802.1P / DSCP, even if they are not enabled by default. But QoS may require installation or configuration in the router. If QoS is not configured for prioritization or is disabled, any DSCP values are ignored or set to 0. So it may be better to limit the bandwidth of the OneDrive sync client using the settings available in the app.

Network settings for OneDrive synchronization app

The network settings of the OneDrive sync app can be changed from their default settings, which are “No limit,” to a hard limit specified in kB/s. Or in the case of upload bandwidth only, to “auto-adjust,” allowing the OneDrive client to use only unused bandwidth. You can manually change the network settings as follows:

  • Click the OneDrive client icon in the system tray.
  • In the OneDrive window, click Help and Settings in the lower-right corner.
  • From the menu, click Settings.

Image # 3

OneDrive is up to date
  • In the Microsoft OneDrive properties window, switch to network.
  • Set Upload speed to Automatically adjust or Limit to: and enter a hard limit in KB/s. Optionally, you can also set a hard limit for the download speed. Click OK when you are finished.

Image #4

OneDrive upload speed

Network upload and download speed settings can also be managed using group policy or registry settings. See Microsoft’s website here for more information on managing OneDrive sync settings with Group Policy. And check out Network Usage Planning for the OneDrive sync app on Microsoft’s website for more detailed information on managing network bandwidth.

Source: petri

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