Ever thought why your web meeting doesn’t work well for you?
[Drum has a soft spot in my heart. They are doing something interesting with web meetings, and I already interviewed them in the past. Laurence Chandler from their marketing team wanted to share his thoughts on bandwidth and web meetings]
I have recently been on a business trip to China, as nice as China is, they don’t have particularly fast Internet with the rest of the world! The lack of bandwidth created large barriers with my work back home. Typical errors I encountered ranged from lack of voice right through to meeting cut outs resulting in me losing my documents. At times I thought it was the specific web meeting tool, but I tried others and incurred the same issue! This got me thinking. How does bandwidth really affect the users experience of a web meeting?
Is a web meeting or conference call not designed to increase efficiency? A large majority of conferencing issues arise from a connectivity problem rather than a software problem. These issues are likely to be caused by low or reduced bandwidth throughout the meeting process. Reduced bandwidth is usually caused by the contention for the available bandwidth by more than one user. Alternatively, the user may be attempting to upload too much information causing a funnelling effect where not all information can be processed simultaneously.
Bandwidth can affect the online meeting experience more than you may have thought; here are the main effects of a low or reduced bandwidth on a web meeting:
Video quality – connectivity is being affected
The first symptom of poor bandwidth you will notice is a reduction in video quality. The picture is likely to become pixelated or the resolution will appear reduced. It will become difficult to see clear visuals of meeting participants and severely hinder the meeting experience.
Sound quality – connectivity is greatly affected
If your bandwidth continues to struggle with the demand of a web meeting, you will start to lose sound quality. Symptoms such as crackled and muffled noise is the direct result of a poor bandwidth. The meeting is likely to start showing symptoms of latency with delayed visual and audio. A sign of latency may start to develop where the audio and visual no longer syncs.
Conference cut outs – losing or extremely weak connection
Members will start dropping out from the meeting when your bandwidth begins to really struggle. This is caused by the bandwidth struggling to sustain connectivity with the meeting. Meetings will become disruptive hindering the effectiveness of the meeting.
Loss of documentation – connectivity is lost
Finally, you may experience a loss of documentation, which you may have uploaded to the meeting due to the loss in connection. Losing such documentation and the changes made can be a significant setback for any meeting.
How can these be resolved?
These issues can sometimes be out of your hands when at conferences. The bandwidth is being shared amongst the majority of people at the conference.
However here is a quick checklist of what to consider if you are suffering, as I was, from a lack of bandwidth:
- Wi-Fi strength
- Current applications/websites open on your device currently using your bandwidth
- USB connection to connect via LAN (if possible!)
- Finally, you can move closer to the router!
What might seem like simple solutions are often forgotten and should be an integral part to your web meeting preparations. As always, the meeting effectiveness relies on the effectiveness of the web meeting preparation.
The checklist will help you resolve the simplest of issues. However, sometimes the issues can prove to be difficult and simply out of our control. Alternatively if your web meeting tool continues to struggle even with reliable internet then it may be your provider rather than your network! At this point you need to consider looking at different providers.
In the end, we all want an effective meeting where everything runs seamlessly without any glitches. I suggest preparing for the meeting where ever you may be to ensure you have the best chance of it being a great success.