We have seen that Office 365 is a subscription plan, but how does it actually differ from the classic Microsoft Office Suite that we usually install locally on our machines? What are the different plans offered in Office 365? Furthermore, what are the prerequisites needed to go ahead with an Office 365 subscription?
Microsoft Office Vs. Office 365
Microsoft Office is a suite of Office applications payable upfront that you download and install locally on your machine. The core features of Microsoft Office are Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, and additional features may be available depending on the Office edition chosen. For example, five traditional editions of Office 2016 were released for Windows, which are Home & Student, Home & Business, Standard, Professional and Professional Plus.
In contrast, Office 365 is a subscription service with a huge variety of plans available for home users, corporate IT and everything in between, with a monthly or annual fee subscription as opposed to purchasing the software license outright, which makes Office 365 highly flexible compared to the classic Office suite.
Depending on your needs, several subscription plans are available for Office 365 that provide different set of features at difference prices. Microsoft provides a range of plans from cheapest and least functional that targeted at individuals and small organizations, up to the enterprise versions that include the full features.
It is worth noting though, that there is one common confusion for some people while dealing with Office 365 plans, thinking that all of them give access to the full list of online services. In fact, they don’t. An example of this are Office 365 Home and Office 365 Pro Plus, which are also two subscription-based services, but they only allow you to run the latest version of the Office desktop applications on their Windows or Mac computers. Both plan offer 1TB of OneDrive storage but do not provide access to any of the enterprise online services hosted in the Microsoft cloud like Exchange Online or SharePoint Online, so you need to plan carefully while choosing an Office 365 plan.
The bottom line is that if you want to get access to both Office 365 online server services (Exchange Online, Skype for Business Online, SharePoint Online, …) and also to the desktop applications that may be installed locally on your PC, you need a choose the appropriate plan that provides all these features.
For more information about all available Office 365 plans and their different subscription benefits, check out this link.
Office 365 plans and their features are summarized in the table below
Side Note: How Much Bandwidth is Needed to Use Office 365?
One of the first concern when planing to move your to Office Office 365 is the network bandwidth that your organization needs to have for a seamless connectivity between Office 365 and your on-premise infrastructure. Whether you are planning to move all your services to the cloud or having a hybrid deployment spread across your on-premise and and Office 365, network and migration planning is a crucial step prior to the migration phase.
In fact, even after your migration is done, it is very important to keep monitoring the amount of bandwidth available and used on the network and troubleshooting any issue should the existing capacity could not handle high volume days.
For this, several tools are available from Microsoft for testing and validation purpose, which can be found on below links:
- Exchange Client Connectivity Bandwidth Calculator
- Lync 2010/2013/Skype for Business Bandwidth Calculator
- SharePoint Online guidelines to measure bandwidth requirements
For example, when using Using Exchange Client Connectivity Bandwidth Calculator, we are able to specify different inputs like the profile type (Light, Medium, Heavy and Very Heavy) that will be used, the number of sites we will be having in our deployment, the environment type (On-premise Exchange or Office 365) , the Time Zone information, the number of recipients that will be active and the protocols used for Exchange connectivity. Based on these data we will have some detailed information about the expected bandwidth that will be used for such deployment.
A second tab (Client Mix) is available to provide the number of sites and the number of users in each sites. From these information, the Network Prediction section will change accordingly providing the measured bandwidth needed for your deployment.
Another output will be a graph showing the expected network utilization based on the number of clients
We will explore some other useful tools while going through these series of Office 365 articles.