The 5 network basics for quality video conferencing
You’ve decided to join the thousands of businessmen and women who cannot imagine life before video conferencing. Good move! Done right, video conferencing says a lot of great things about your company – that you think smart and run efficiently. That you care about the environment, your staff and your business relationships. Done right, video conferencing will bring a host of valuable business benefits that are making a significant difference in many organisations and across various industries. However, unless you have the right technology team at your side, you might find that video conferencing will easily become a business problem, rather than a business solution. The frequent delays, distortions and blank screens will quickly create frustration for all participants – and a very negative perception of your business as a whole. Done wrong, video conferencing can do far more harm than good!
Asking the right questions
No matter how sophisticated your video conferencing equipment, if you don’t get the basics right, you’re going to run into hassles. Whether it’s for a brand new installation or the assessment of an existing one, here are the five questions that we ask:
Do you have the right internet connection?
Video conferencing is an internet-based communication tool. But having a “good” internet connection doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s best for the job. Video conferencing is a two-way interaction and the upload (sending) of video and audio is just as important as the download (receiving). Ideally, the bandwidth should be symmetrical, which means equal upload and download speeds. ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is not recommended. While fine for the majority of internet-based activities, the much higher download vs upload speed means that at least one participant is likely to see out-of-sync, blocky images – the other having perfect sound and picture, making it difficult to locate the problem.
Do you have sufficient available bandwidth?
The bandwidth requirement for video conference calls can range from approx. 128 Kbps for a desktop-based system up to 20 Mbps or even 30 Mbps for a full telepresence solution. Depending on your specific video conferencing needs, we can calculate your bandwidth requirements. However, unless you have a dedicated line for video conferencing purposes only, it is also important to assess the actual available bandwidth during your office’s peak usage hours. In other words, we need to ensure that there is sufficient bandwidth available for your video conferencing calls, without impacting on your existing data services or vice versa.
Is your internet connection stable enough?
With normal internet surfing, e-mails and many other internet-based services, things like line “jitter” (an actual technical term), packet loss and latency might go unnoticed. But video conferencing has a much lower tolerance for connectivity issues. Depending on the severity, you might experience blocky images, jerky movements, frozen pictures, loss of audio, or sound and pictures that are out of sync. Unless you want your video calls to resemble a badly dubbed movie via a scrambled TV satellite connection, we’d recommend switching away from an ISP that cannot offer a suitable connection.
Is your corporate network ready for video conferencing?
We’ve seen some rather impressive corporate networks, running some pretty intensive business applications. Even though these networks might be perfectly installed and perfectly configured, they might not be entirely ready for video conferencing. The real-time traffic streaming requirements of video conferencing are quite different from those of most data applications. No matter how impressive your internal network, it needs to be specifically evaluated for video conferencing. Tested, possibly reconfigured and perhaps even upgraded, to ensure acceptable quality.
Is your connection secure?
Any system that connects to the internet is susceptible to hacking. Left unsecure or partially secure, video conferencing systems are no different. And once your security is compromised, your organisation’s information is at risk. By installing and properly configuring the proper hardware and software for your network, we can help to reduce your corporate risk. Protecting both your live conversations, as well as those saved and stored for record purposes.
It may all seem a little complicated… But it needn’t be. At CommsPartner, we’re more than just a video conferencing specialist. We bring decades of design, networking and IT management experience to any installation. From ordering and managing the right internet connection, to network installations, upgrades, configurations and various security aspects. You can rely on us to handle it all. Ensuring the optimal technical environment for the highest quality in video conferencing. And providing you with the many business benefits of this awesome technology.