It’s one thing for a movie to buffer at the worst part possible. It’s another for your face to get stuck awkwardly in the middle of an important meeting in front of coworkers and bosses.
This was the sad reality for many people as they navigated the change from their offices to working from home. Suddenly, not only were most people expected to shift everything from an office to a makeshift home office, but video quality became an important aspect of daily lives and something that affected the functionality of new work setups.
Even though having a great camera might help the situation, there are other simple adjustments you can make to improve video quality during those dreaded conference calls with the office.
This is an instance in which the type of Internet connection that you use at home becomes key to the entire process, because if your bandwidth is not strong enough to sustain multiple devices it is possible you’ll have to reconsider your Internet plan or bundle.
Some of the key aspects of a video conference call that you will have to focus on in order to improve are:
Though your first reaction to bad video quality might be frustration, it is important to remain calm. With computers, there is a solution for almost everything.
First things first, what is video conferencing? Is FaceTime an example?
A video conference basically refers to a live audio-video stream of a conversation. Think of it as a type of online meeting in which you can see the person through your personal screen, whether it’s through a phone or computer.
Depending on how strong your Internet connection is while engaging in a video call, you will be able to talk, listen, and see the person on the other side of your screen.
So, yes, FaceTime is a form of video conferencing.
Technically, despite the term “conference” as part of the title, a video conference is not specifically tied to a work setting, though that is probably one of the most common forms of communication for work, along with email.
You could have a video conference with family members or friends. The end goals are the same—to see the other person while talking to them.
However, for work, video conferencing is most commonly used to collaborate and communicate outside of the office. It’s convenient and users don’t need a lot of hardware to communicate through the computer. As long as the Internet connection is strong, then the video quality should be decent.
When it comes to how efficient your Internet is, consider the speed it needs to accomplish everything you need from it.
Internet productivity heavily relies on the amount of energy it takes for it to complete certain tasks. For example, if you want to have a lot of devices connected to your home Wi-Fi, you will need a certain amount of Mbps for everyone to connect happily with no problems.
The same thing applies to the Wi-Fi speed you need for the best video quality possible. The higher the count of Mbps, the better.
Technically, you only need between 1.5 to 2Mbps for video conferencing. However, keep in mind the amount of devices connected to the home Wi-Fi, along with the amount of streaming, gaming, browsing, and downloading and uploading.
Anything that’s more than 24Mbps is pretty fast. You’ll want to look for Internet bundles and plans that can offer a minimum of 25Mbps so that you don’t have to worry about the quality of the Internet affecting your calls.
The other reason having a strong Internet connection is important is to avoid latency issues. Latency refers to the connection between video and voice. When your Internet connection is slow, the video does not sync with your voice and it will distort the video conference communication.
A good way to determine whether latency is likely to happen with your Internet connection is to test the speed that your Internet is currently working at. Websites like speedtest.net can help you figure out what you’re working with and see if it’s time to adjust your Internet plan based on your needs.
Along with latency issues, sound quality is one of the most common complaints users have about video conference calls.
Video conferencing is tricky because, if you have multiple people connected during the call, then the issues with the sound quality can range from everyone talking at once, to background noises, to no one being able to hear you.
Here’s what you can do:
The display options on your video conference call can do a lot to improve the quality of the video. Yet, they’re the reason users feel the most intimidated when partaking in video conference calls.
All those little buttons along your screen can do a lot to improve the quality and experience of the video conference. For example, if you know you have a strong Internet connection for your call, one great way to improve the quality of the video is by enabling the HD option.
If you’re the host of the meeting, you can actually enable the HD feature for everyone in the call, which will improve quality and connectivity.
Other display options include being able to change your background or display name. But those won’t really affect the quality of the video conference itself. They’ll just make you look cooler.
When talking about feedback during a video call, it is referring to those echo sounds you might hear every time someone talks. They mostly happen because the speaker and the microphone are too close together, which creates the feeling of talking inside of a canyon.
Feedback is also common because if you’re not using headphones or a microphone that is not built into your computer, then you’ll start hearing yourself through the call with a slight delay.
If your job requires you to be on constant video calls, it is best to invest in bluetooth headphones with built-in microphones—even gaming headphones will do if you have those around. They will connect easily and help avoid any feedback during the call.
If all fails, always have a backup plan.
And most importantly, don’t panic. It might be a little embarrassing, even frustrating, to not have the best video quality during a call. Just remember you’re not alone. Chances are that everyone else in the call is also dealing with the same issues. Don’t worry, everything is fixable.