Video calls went from being a technology many businesses were only beginning to incorporate to a necessity almost overnight.
Unfortunately, the video conferencing problems that can reduce the quality of the video experience have not gone away as quickly.
Video mishaps can often be comical. Maybe the caller’s video freezes in an unflattering frame or a lag between the video and audio make it look like a bad voiceover.
In other cases, video might not load altogether.
While we hope you can laugh at some of your video call problems, we also know you need them solved to have successful, effective video conferences.
The good news is nearly all of these scenarios can be traced back to a poor Internet connection.
At The KR Group, we rely on video calls to keep our employees connected with each other and with customers, and we also help our clients implement this technology.
We’re no stranger to hearing that slow Internet speeds are causing problems with video meetings.
When you’re working from home, especially if you’re sharing that connection with other Internet users, having adequate bandwidth and optimizing that bandwidth is key to having successful video calls.
Some of the suggestions we have for our customers and employees when having video conferencing problems include:
- Check your bandwidth
- Lower your configured video quality
- Disconnect unnecessary devices
In an office setting, you can control how much bandwidth you have and how you configure what applications receive priority connection.
When your employees are working remotely, though, you don’t have that control over their home networks, and the speed available is dependent on what they’ve agreed to with their Internet service provider.
1. Check your bandwidth
The first step to solving your video connection woes is to investigate your bandwidth capabilities and requirements.
For your capabilities, you’ll have to look at your Internet connection speed. If you don’t know this information, you can check invoices or contracts from your Internet service provider, look on an online portal, or call them to know for sure.
Another useful tool is an online speed test that will check your download (the actual transfer of data from the Internet) and upload (what data you’re sending) speeds available for your device when others are also connected to the Internet.
You’ll also want to be aware of how much bandwidth the applications you’re running are using.
Many of these statistics are readily available through a quick online search. However, for your convenience, we’ve compiled some common download requirements for you:
- Netflix uses 3 Mbps for SD quality streaming, 5 Mbps for HD streaming, and 25 Mbps for ultra-HD/4K streaming
- Online gaming requires 3-6 Mbps for one player on one device
- Video conferences require a minimum of 2.5 Mbps down/3 Mbps up for HD video or 0.5 down/0.5 Mbps for SD video and another 1 Mbps per additional caller
- Smart home devices (speakers, thermostats, hubs, etc.) require 1 Mbps while idle, but 3 Mbps is recommended
- Home security systems require more than 1 Mbps
- Idle smartphones use 1 Mbps
- Spotify (or other music streaming services) requires 0.4 Mbps
- Browsing Facebook requires 0.03 Mbps, but watching videos uses closer to 3 to 5 Mbps.
- Telehealth services use approximately 15 Mbps down/3 Mbps up for virtual appointments
If you suspect low bandwidth is the culprit to your video streaming problems, consider how much your network is using as a whole.
You can either increase your bandwidth by upgrading your service contract with your Internet provider, or you can look to optimize how you’re using your bandwidth.
2. Lower video quality
One way to make the most of your bandwidth, especially if you have low Internet speeds or are sharing the Internet, is to use lower quality video streams.
Many video conference platforms (as well as other video applications) have options for you to configure resolution.
With Cisco Webex – The KR Group’s preference for video conferences – you can adjust video resolution through the Cisco Webex Control Hub or Webex Meetings Site Admin, depending on which Webex site your company uses. (You can find complete instructions on Webex’s website.)
As we listed above, you’ll need 0.5 Mbps upload and download for SD quality video with one other person. If you don’t have a lot of bandwidth to begin with or have many other devices and applications using a significant amount of bandwidth at the same time, this could still be a strain on your connection.
3. Disconnect other devices
If you’re having problems with your video loading, but you’re downloading a large file on another desktop and are streaming a video on your television, your bandwidth might not be enough for all three requests.
You can look into configuring your router to prioritize bandwidth for certain activities over others, or you can be selective on how many devices use the Internet at the same time.
Finally, if you’re running any other applications that are taking up your bandwidth, temporarily disconnecting them while you’re making a video call might give you enough bandwidth to boost the quality.
Leveraging bandwidth for video calls
Successful video calls require you to have a strong connection.
By checking your download and upload speeds and optimizing the bandwidth you have, you can make the most of your bandwidth – even if it’s low – without necessarily needing to upgrade to a higher speed Internet plan.
For a list of everything you need for a remote workforce, download our free checklist.