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How can I improve my web and video conferencing experience?

Conducting a successful web conference requires a sufficient network connection. This can be influenced by conditions with your personal network as well as your connection to your internet provider. Web and video conference speed requirements vary depending on what is being presented and what is being viewed. In addition to network speed, competing computer processes can also influence the overall performance. 

When participating in a web or video conference, especially if you are presenting webcam video, the computer should not be running other programs that create internet traffic. Small and large bursts of traffic can impact the quality and what you are sending as well as receiving.

Check your connection

Using Wi-Fi 
If you are on a computer that is using wireless, make sure your signal strength is good. Unlike surfing the web, video and web conferencing require a steady connection. If others are using the same internet connection, every device connected to your network is competing for bandwidth, which can cause audio problems that make it difficult to understand what someone is saying and video streams that appear pixelated and choppy. Internet connections consist of two speeds, upload and download. Upload problems are often not visible to the person sending information, such as video and audio. While in a video conference, what you are seeing and hearing could seem fine, but the other people might be experiencing problems seeing and hearing you. If you are experiencing a problem hearing or seeing what someone else is presenting, let them know as they may not be aware.

Is your connection strong?
Head over to speedtest.net to evaluate your connection speed. Run a few tests and note your upload and download speeds. In general, 1.5 Mbps up and down will provide good results for participating in a one-to-one video presentation. Requirements begin to increase when more is being presented. For example, group video calls require more bandwidth or sending someone a webcam video of yourself and sharing a document or PowerPoint presentation requires a higher upload speed. 

If your connection is not optimal, check your webcam setting and turn off HD video. High definition video requires more bandwidth. 

Modern video conferencing applications provide features that help presenters choose what to transmit. For example, you can choose to provide only audio, or you can turn off your webcam feed while presenting a document. These video and audio sources can be toggled while in a web conference without disconnecting.

Quick tips 

  1. Ensure your internet connection is the best it can be.
  2. Mute your microphone when you are not speaking.
  3. Turn your webcam off if you do not need it.
  4. Close unneeded applications.
  5. Avoid activities that may steal bandwidth during a web conference, such as:
    • large downloads
    • large uploads
    • streaming video (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, YouTube)
    • cloud backups (e.g., Carbonite, CrashPlan)
    • cloud file synchronizations (e.g., OneDrive, Dropbox)