So many parts are needed (yet sometimes overlooked) when holding online meetings at home. We take a look at another webconferencing tip for effective communication.
Tip #4: Use a wired internet connection!
You join an online meeting, and there are several other attendees on the call. One of the callers’ camera (not you, of course) keeps disappearing, and their microphone cuts in and out. “It was working yesterday” is a common response, while the rest of the attendees, with teeth gritting and fists clenched, try to tolerate the experience. Despite having a fast fiber connection promising 100+Mbps (megabits per second) speeds, that caller later reveals that their laptop is connected to the home wifi.
This little wire can make all the difference!
First of all, let’s find out what bandwidth is required by webconferencing services. Per their respective websites, here are the bandwidth requirements directed by some popular service providers for a laptop/desktop computer:
One of the key takeaways from the above table is that group video calling, which is what most WFH professionals use, requires at least 1Mbps download and upload speeds in order to function properly. It takes data to capture each and every attendee in real time, whether you want to see them or not!
The bandwidth requirement rises even higher when sharing content, like a powerpoint slide or video. Using two screens in your setup also adds to the load, as the conferencing service is trying to transmit as much data as possible to provide clear images to both screens.
Now let’s look at the data rate coming into your laptop. A simple test will reveal how fast your internet speed is, regardless of whether you are using a wired or wireless connection (use speedtest.net or search “internet speed test”). More often than not, the wired speed is much higher than the wireless speed for a variety of reasons. Keep in mind that this is typically the maximum available service to your home; it does NOT tell you how much of that service is already being used by other devices!
Another key factor not shown in these internet speed tests is the ability to provide continuous service. Webconferencing services depend on a steady stream of data to properly receive and transmit audiovisual signals. If a dropout occurs, glitches in sound and/or video may occur, and you may even be dropped from the call.
This is why a wired connection is recommended – depending on where you are in relation to the wifi transmitter, and even the quality of the wifi signal, dropouts can occur with regularity on a wireless connection. Unlike video-on-demand services (like Netflix and Youtube) that can buffer data before showing your desired video, webconferencing occurs in realtime with very little delay. Any interruption can be catastrophic, or at the very least, can cause your fellow attendees to hurt their teeth and hands.
Stay tuned for more tips!