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June 30, 2021
After a year of physical distancing and working, learning, and hanging out remotely, it’s clear that video calling is here to stay whether we like it or not. It has become part of interacting with our colleagues, interviewing for jobs, taking classes, delivering presentations, and catching up with family and friends.
While not having to wear pants, commute, or figure out how we are going to ditch a party early has been pretty great, video calling can be exhausting – especially when the video quality is lacking and we don’t know why.
Luckily, there are a few easy steps you can take to reduce the risk of having a poor-quality conference call. Below, we share quick ways to improve your connection, check internet speed, and free up your bandwidth for group video calls.
1. Use an Ethernet Cable
If your colleagues and friends always tell you that your audio or video is breaking up, your internet connection could be the culprit. If you’ve checked internet speed and it meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of the call software, connecting your computer using an ethernet cable may help.
Using an ethernet cable gives you a more stable connection than Wi-Fi, making it a recommended option for those important presentations and video calls. A spotty internet connection is frustrating for both you and whoever you are meeting with, so don’t risk relying solely on Wi-Fi if you don’t have to.
Ethernet cables come in lengths varying from one foot to two hundred feet or more, but you understandably may not want cables running up your stairs and along your floorboards to reach your working space. In that case, there are still options for improving your connection.
2. Move Closer to Your Router
When an Ethernet cable isn’t an option, try moving your router closer to your device or vice versa. Distance and other obstacles between your device and your internet connection can really slow you down and give you spotty service, so reducing the obstacles can help.
3. Disconnect Unused Devices
When you have a house full of electronics connected to your Wi-Fi, it can be very taxing on your bandwidth, especially if there are software updates running or your kids are watching Netflix while playing games on their iPads.
If you are finding that your video quality is lagging, turn off all unused devices or disconnect them from Wi-Fi to free up some capacity wherever possible. This includes cell phones, game consoles, and smart home devices.
4. Use a 4G or 5G Hotspot
If you have a smartphone with a large data plan, you can use your phone as a hotspot. This is not recommended if you have a small amount of data, as streaming video can eat through your monthly allowance very quickly.
Run an internet speed test on your 4G or 5G connection and your home Wi-Fi to see if your smartphone can offer you faster upload and download speeds.
If your data is faster, you can tether to your laptop using a USB cable or turn on your hotspot through the “Hotspot & Tethering” or “Personal Hotspot” options under “Settings” on your phone.
5. Upgrade your Video Call Software
If your video calls are laggy or certain features aren’t working like they used to, it could be time to update your video call software.
Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, and Google release updates regularly so it’s very possible that you are working on an old version of the software.
To check which version is the most recent, refer to the software provider’s support section on their website.
Having too many other apps running in the background can also slow you down, so close down tabs and other apps that you don’t need if your audio or video is glitching.
6. Check Your Internet Speed and Bandwidth
Internet Speed and bandwidth will have an impact on everything you do that requires a connection. If you’ve tried all of the tips above and you’re still experiencing issues, you may need to ask others in your household to pause their internet time to free up bandwidth.
Internet speed and bandwidth are determined by the plan you selected with your internet service provider. You can check your internet speed using our internet speed test to see if your connection meets the minimum requirements of your video call software. Typically, a minimum speed of 8 Mbps for downloading and 1.5 Mbps for uploading is required for video conferencing.
If your internet speed is too slow for your needs, you can call your internet service provider to inquire about the slow speeds or to upgrade your monthly plan. You may also need to explore different providers with plans that suit you better.
If you live in a rural area, your options may be limited, but it never hurts to shop around if you are not satisfied with your current service.
7. Use a Wi-fi Extender
If your internet speed is sufficient and you can’t run an Ethernet cable or move closer to your router, you can also try using a Wi-fi extender to help your connection reach areas that have poor Wi-Fi coverage. All you need is the hardware and a power source to get the extender up and running.
This option can also work to help you get a connection in your garage or outbuilding, though obstacles like walls and trees could hinder reach.
Poor video quality can range from being mildly irritating during a video chat to negatively impacting your career. Luckily, there are quick fixes you can try to improve conference call quality.
Using an Ethernet cable, moving closer to your router, turning off unused devices, closing apps, using a Wi-Fi extender, and upgrading your video conferencing software can sometimes do the trick.
Be sure to also run a check internet speed test, call your internet service provider, and explore different companies if you are still having issues with a poor connection during video conferencing.
At Bandwidth Place, we offer helpful information to help you diagnose internet speed issues with our free internet speed test. Check out our internet guides and tech guides for all your frequently asked questions about internet speed and your devices! You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on what’s happening in tech.