*Please note this article is currently under review.
In an effort to increase the quality of online meetings for our customers we have created an easy to use a checklist of “best practices” for connecting to an online video conferencing service such as Webex, MS Teams, or Blackboard Collaborate. Understanding the quality of bandwidth access available and the common causes of packet loss will help increase the quality of your online video meetings.
For meetings where seeing each other isn't that important, turning your camera off is the easiest way to reduce the amount of data going in and out of your computer. You can adjust your settings, so you always join meetings with your camera off, and choose to have attendees' cameras off for meetings you set up. Take into consideration that students may be accessing the video conference using their cellular data and not all users are able to have unlimited data services. Video consumes a large amount of data and by turning off your video is an easy method for reducing data usage.
While it doesn't use as much bandwidth as your video, you can also reduce your bandwidth somewhat by muting your audio when you're not speaking. Use the Mute button in the bottom left corner of the screen to toggle your audio off and on.
You might also consider using a phone call to connect to your video conferencing meeting audio instead of using computer audio within the meeting. This is especially helpful for those who do not have a computer available, or the audio on their machine that is not functioning. The phone numbers to connect to a session are usually included in the invitation you receive from the host under the heading "Dial by your location."
Be sure to stop screen sharing when you no longer need to show your screen. Also, request that other users turn off their screen sharing when they are done with their example.
Providing video in High Definition resolution requires significantly more data, so consider turning it off when the quality of the image you're sending isn't critical.
Limit high-bandwidth activities by others at your location
Other people using the Internet from your remote location will affect the bandwidth available to your video conferencing session. Avoid having others stream video or music, play online games, or upload and download large files, as all of these activities can noticeably impact your video conferencing performance.
Avoid running other data-intensive applications during video conferencing sessions
Improve your overall video conferencing client performance by not running other applications during meetings that might also be using a large share of your bandwidth. Examples of data-intensive programs might include streaming video or music sites, or other websites with dynamic content. You can always check your network usage using Activity Monitor on the Mac or Task Manager in Windows to pinpoint which programs are data hogs.
Faculty and staff hosts who record video conferencing sessions can take advantage of the recording option. You can record meetings and events in the cloud for people who can't attend or for those who want to refer back to what was discussed. When you record to the cloud, you can manage your recordings from the video conferencing site and share them. For more information about cloud recordings, visit the links below to the tools supported by ECSU.
Blackboard Collaborate: https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Moderate_Sessions/Recordings
ECSU offers the most reliable video conferencing platforms, but it’s only as good as the internet speed you give it. For video conferencing, you'll need about 1-4 Mbps to run a smooth call. You'll want at least a 1 Mbps upload speed for quality video conferencing.
“Improving Video Conferencing with Bandwidth Optimization.” HuddleCamHD Blog, 13 Sept. 2017, blog.huddlecamhd.com/how-tos/video-conferencing-bandwidth.
“Reducing Zoom Data and Bandwidth Use.” IT@Cornell, 27 Mar. 2020, it.cornell.edu/zoom-zoomforcourses/reducing-zoom-data-and-bandwidth-use#section-2.