Video conferencing is a great tool…when it works. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions for software video clients along with advice on how to fix the issues.

Q. What should I do when users I call cannot see me but I can see them?

A. The following actions can be taken to try to resolve one‐way video issues:

  1. Check to make sure that you have a camera connected to your computer and that it is recognized by the video application.
    • Navigate to Settings in the video application then check the video or video input section. Make sure that the correct video device is selected.
    • If the video device is not listed, you may need to install drivers. Check with your IT department for the latest drivers that are appropriate for your platform, or contact your camera vendor for further assistance.
  2. If your camera has a privacy shutter, (for example, Cisco TelePresence Precision HD USB camera), make sure that it is not in the closed position.

Q. What should I do when users I call cannot hear me or my volume is low?

A. The following actions can be taken to try to resolve one‐way audio issues:

  1. Check to make sure that you have a microphone on your computer or webcam. Most laptops, along with most USB webcams, include built‐in microphones.
  2. Check that the microphone is not muted in the video application.
  3. Make sure that the microphone is not muted in your operating system or your microphone volume is set too low.
    • On Macintosh systems, navigate to System Preferences > Sound > Input.
    • On Windows systems, you can check this setting by navigating to Control Panel > Sound and Audio Devices > Audio > Sound Recording Volume. Check the sound level of the microphone and adjust to a comfortable level in the operating system and in the video application.If you have multiple microphones connected (i.e. built-in microphone in your laptop and USB webcam), check to make sure the correct microphone is selected. Navigate to settings in the video application then check the audio or audio input section and select the correct audio device.
  4. If you have multiple microphones connected (i.e. built-in microphone in your laptop and USB webcam), check to make sure the correct microphone is selected. Navigate to settings in the video application then check the audio or audio input section and select the correct audio device.

Q. What can I do if my computer slows down or locks up during a call?

A. These symptoms may indicate insufficient system resources that affect RAM or CPU capabilities on your computer. The following actions can be taken to try to resolve this issue:

  1. Check to make sure that your computer system meets the recommended settings for the video application listed in the HW and SW requirements.
  2. If your system meets the recommendations and you continue to observe this issue, adjust the Network Settings in video application to a level that reduces system slowdown. Move the Maximum Incoming Bandwidth and Maximum Outgoing Bandwidth sliders down until you find the setting that reduces choppy audio, video and high system resource utilization.

Q. What should I do when my video call is choppy, distorted or the audio is out of sync with video?

A. This is typically a sign of low or insufficient bandwidth to support the video call. The following actions can be taken:

  1. If you are on a smartphone or tablet with a 3G or a 4G connection, check the signal strength. If signal strength is low move to a different area or join the call over a Wi-Fi connection.
  2. If you are joined over a Wi-Fi connection at a public location (i.e. hotel, Starbucks, etc.) you may need to purchase premium high-speed internet access or move to a different location.
  3. If this is a reoccurring issue at your office or home, you may need to upgrade your bandwidth levels. Talk to your IT department or cable provider for different options.

Q. What should I do when my video application cannot detect my camera?

A. Some applications (Webex, Yahoo Messenger, etc) take possession of any camera they detect in the system, leaving your video application without a camera to use. To prevent this issue and ensure that the video application retains the camera for video calling, take the following actions:

  1. Shut down any applications that are running that would take control of your camera.
  2. Start your video application and begin your call, making sure that the camera is connected and turned on
  3. After your video application is in the call, start your other applications.

Q. What should I do when my video application continues to display the last frame of the shared presentation?

A. Unfortunately, there is no fix for this known issue. As a workaround, the system sending the content must stop and restart presentation sharing to properly display the presentation. This should ONLY happen if a system places a video client on hold to take another call.

The proliferation of desktop and mobile video solutions, along with WebRTC, has allowed participants to join a video call virtually anywhere there is an internet connection. However, a poor internet connection can destroy a video conference. Here are a few things you need to know when joining a video call over the internet:

Download Speed:
Download speed is the amount of bandwidth people have coming to their computer from the Internet. Think of a road coming toward an office; the more lanes it has the more traffic the road can handle. Similarly, the more downstream bandwidth people have the more internet traffic they can accept. For a point-to-point business quality video call it is recommended to a minimum download bandwidth of 384Kbps. For each additional call participant an additional 384Kbs is recommended. For example, a 4-way call will need 1.5Mbps + 20% for overhead. For High Resolution (HD) video conferencing, a minimum of 1Mbps (+20%) download speed is recommended.

Upload Speed:
Upload speed is the amount of bandwidth people have going from their computer to the Internet. This is the road going away from an office.  Again, the more upload bandwidth one has, the wider the road is and the more traffic people can send. The upload requirements remain the same as the download requirements regardless of the amount of participants on the call.

Latency (Delay):
Latency is the amount of time it takes for the traffic sent to reach its destination. Using the previous analogy, even if there is a wide road going to and from the office, if a car is moving slowly on the road it will take a lot longer to get where it is going. If you notice it is taking a long time for your co-worker to respond on a video call or that you are talking over each other it is most likely being caused by high latency. Latency problems are often caused by network congestion; if you experience problems try ending the video call and starting it again. It is recommended that latency be below 250ms.

Jitter:
Jitter is the time difference it takes data packets to reach their destination and is usually caused by congestion in the network. This is akin to getting off of work and hitting the evening rush hour. Due to the congestion and high volume of drivers hitting the road at the same time it may take longer to reach your final destination.  Jitter causes packets to arrive at their destination with different timing and possibly in a different order than they were sent (spoken). Some arrive faster than they should while some arrive slower than they should. Low jitter, or a few packets off causing a slight flicker or flash, can be frustrating but tolerable.  High jitter on the other hand can make video nearly impossible to use as the image can be completely distorted. It is recommended that jitter be below 30ms.

Packet Loss:
Packet loss is when one or more of the data packets fail to reach their destination and is also caused by congestion on the network. Essentially, some of the packets are dropped by network routers or switches that become congested (lost packets), or they are discarded by the jitter buffer (discarded packets). This is similar to an audio call breaking up where you miss every few words and cannot understand much of the conversation.

Test Your Network:
There are a number of ways to test your network connection both for quality as well as any firewall/security restrictions. Check out IVCi’s new Cloud Video Experience Video Network Assessment test to see how well video is expected to perform on your network. Click here to star the test.

Video is making its way through organizations large and small as it becomes easier and more effective to use. The proliferation of tablets, smartphones and mobile video applications are allowing end users to connect from anywhere they have a Wi-Fi connection. The increased demand, however, is putting significant pressure on Wi-Fi networks. How can organizations make sure their network is video ready?

Estimate Demand
The majority of video users within an office location will connect to video via their PC or a room system if available. However, some users may opt to video conference on their tablet; either because a desktop video application continues to crash their PC or they need access to their computer screen while on video. It is important to have a grasp on the percentage of users who use video on their tablets in addition to their call concurrency.

Proper Infrastructure in Place
Video conferencing can place a strain on Wi-Fi networks; therefore, organizations should ensure they have the necessary infrastructure elements and access points. Most Wi-Fi networks were not designed with mobile video in mind; resulting in latency and packet loss if the demand for mobile video exceeds network capacity. Organizations should put policies in place to limit the use of Wi-Fi or limit per-call bandwidth. For example, dual desktop computer screens allow managers to view information on their computer while still using video on their PC.

Control Video Traffic
As video traffic continues to grow on your Wi-Fi network, it is important to employ devices that allow for segregation of this traffic (via Quality of Service – QoS) controls. This is incredibly important as video is bandwidth intensive and could potentially cause serious slowdowns within your infrastructure, potentially interrupting mission critical applications running wirelessly.

Don’t Open the Floodgates
With so many devices being introduced, employees will want to make use of every kind of video chat imaginable. Using firewalls to help block some of the unwanted services will be key. As an example, do you want employees using Facetime to communicate with their friends all day long? Blocking that activity can help mitigate strain on the network.

Clearly there is much to consider with your wireless network and video conferencing. The items above are a good start. Constantly monitoring and performance tweaking will be essentially to ensure that the entire operation is not brought to its knees by video traffic.