At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Video conferencing is a popular tool that businesses use to facilitate meetings without the expense or hassle of travel. People can also use this technology to keep in touch with friends and relatives across long distances. It is important to maximize the bandwidth available for the video conferencing stream to get the best audio and video experience. Video conferencing bandwidth can be improved by optimizing the performance of the computers operating the stream, minimizing the number of other devices and programs using the same broadband connection and using high-speed wired Internet connections on both ends of the conference.
While video conferencing has been a method of business communication since the 1970s, the technology didn’t hit its stride until the development and widespread use of high-speed Internet connections. This has allowed even small businesses and individuals to video conference with associates around the world without purchasing special hardware. Though the technology has improved, it is still important for users to optimize their video conferencing bandwidth to produce and deliver a high-quality stream.
The first step to providing a consistent video conferencing experience is to make sure the hardware and software are configured to properly handle the connection. It may be necessary to disable automatic updates, virus scans and some firewall ports to keep them from blocking or leeching bandwidth from the video stream. Users with multiple monitor setups may need to upgrade or add additional video cards to get the best picture quality.
Each end of the stream will need high-speed access to optimize video conferencing bandwidth for all parties. Even basic video conferencing such as video calling needs a broadband connection to function effectively, and most business applications will require at least 300 to 400 kilobits per second (kbps). Companies that wish to share high-definition streams may need one or more megabits per second of bandwidth. Multipoint conferences using streams from three or more locations will also increase the bandwidth needs of the system and generally require specialized hardware.
One should always connect the computer or codec directly to the network to maximize video conferencing bandwidth. While more convenient, wireless connections will not be as fast as a direct connection. If possible, a person should try to limit the number of other devices using the same connection so the conference stream can utilize all of the available bandwidth. This can include wireless devices such as laptops and smartphones, if the conference is being streamed through a wireless router.