Sometimes the issue isn’t your internet service provider (ISP)…
Unseen Limitations of Network Connections
Both laptops and desktop network connections can be ‘throttled back’ by unseen limitations in Windows or installed drivers or software. When my team noted that my audio and video quality was poor when I conference called from home, I decided to check my internet speed.
After using www.speedtest.net and data on my Google Wi-Fi system, I identified that my PC, which connects to the internet via an external USB ac Wi-Fi adapter, was running at half the speed of my iPad, iPhone and Windows laptop. This means that the speed problem was probably coming from my PC, or Wi-Fi adapter.
Using Wi-Fi Settings To Speed Up Your Connection
Seeing a low link speed around 130Mbps, I was able to do some Googling around Wi-Fi adapter settings and identify that the ‘Auto’ setting for ‘Wireless Mode’ was causing the 802.11 Wi-Fi signal to kick down to a slower Wi-Fi standard. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly does a good job describing the difference between 802.11ac and 802.11n Wi-Fi.
Forcing the setting to a/n/ac has maintained a 580Mbps link. That’s over 4x faster than the previous speed!
130Mbps is easily 5X faster than the recommended speed you need for great video conferencing. However, when real-world blips happen (Wi-Fi signal drops, local ISP congestion, etc…) it resulted in MUCH lower video and audio call quality.
In review, here’s how to improve your video conferencing quality when internet speed is the issue:
- Empower your team members to communicate when there is a problem. (You can’t remove the fuzz from your face if you don’t know it’s present).
- Isolate the speed bottleneck by using a speed testing tool like www.speedtest.net, www.fing.com, or other router/device level speed testing tools.
- Check the basics on your computer by opening Windows task-manager (right-click on bottom bar), and then open the “Performance” tab. If your computer, memory, disk, or Wi-Fi are maxing out, address those issues first.
- Look for any updates available for your computer and conference software, update, then reboot.
- Check your Wi-Fi network settings speed link. Is your router or access-point capable of delivering more than your link speed reflects? Google win10 wi-fi bottleneck or “<insert your model of wi-fi adaptor> bottleneck” to find clues on which settings may be limiting your device.