Bandwidth Requirements for Good Video Conference Quality

Author: Gina Cunsolo

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Bandwidth Requirements for Good Video Conference Quality

If you live in a house with several people who have their own digital devices, it’s likely a problem you’ve encountered. If everyone’s trying to stream their favorite show, playing an online game or engaging in a video chat all at the same time, sooner or later you’re going to run into bandwidth issues that cause content to buffer, stutter or freeze.

It’s much the same when it comes to video conferencing. If you participate in video conferences from your home office while others are streaming content, or you’re in an office where everyone’s in the conference at the same time, it’s critical to be aware of video conference bandwidth usage to ensure online meetings come off without a hitch.

Bandwidth vs. upload speed

For those who may not be tech-savvy, bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can be sent through an Internet connection from one point to another over a specific period of time, traditionally expressed in megabytes per second, or Mbps.

Although the terms bandwidth and upload speed are often used interchangeably, they are slightly different. Bandwidth is the total amount of data you’re allowed to download or upload, while upload speed is measured by the total amount of data you’re able to upload. Although upload speed and bandwidth aren’t always the same, upload speed will never exceed the maximum bandwidth.

When the available bandwidth exceeds the amount of data being sent back and forth, everything runs smoothly. On the other hand, when the amount of data you’re attempting to transfer exceeds the available bandwidth, issues can occur such as blurry video call quality.

Compare it to the way the term is used when thinking about your daily workload. If your boss asks you to take on an additional project and you have available free time, or bandwidth, it’s not a problem. If you’re already overloaded with work, though, taking on that project can result in frustration and a poor job performance.

How much bandwidth is required for good video conference call quality?

The type of hardware and video conferencing software you use often have their own bandwidth requirements. A 1080p webcam needs about 2 Mbps of bandwidth to support video conferencing. Microsoft Teams video conference bandwidth requirements for 1080p video are about 1.5 Mbps. When it comes to Zoom video conference bandwidth requirements, the figure is about 2.5 Mbps. The figure is slightly higher for services such as Webex and Google Meet.

The Federal Communications Commission has established that HD video conference bandwidth requirements typically average about 6 Mbps, and this would be the safest recommendation to ensure you have a good buffer.video-conferencing-good-quality-yamaha-uc.jpg

And here’s where conflating bandwidth and download speed may be reasonable. According to the website HighSpeedInternet.com, the national average Internet speed in 2022 is 119.03 Mbps, meaning those with broadband Internet should have plenty of bandwidth for video conferencing.

However, if you find your video call quality blurry or if participants complain about how your video looks, it might be a good idea to connect to the internet directly with an ethernet cord, as a spotty wi-fi connection can sometimes lower video quality.

Other factors affecting bandwidth include the number of people on the network at once and the type of activities in which they’re engaged. If several people in the office regularly participate in video conferences, it may be a good idea to upgrade your Internet service if exceeding bandwidth is a recurring issue. If you’re participating from home, a warning to others to refrain from streaming may be in order.

Use your bandwidth wisely

Once you have the right upload speed from your internet service provider, be sure to put it to good use with a high quality video conferencing solution.

Yamaha UC offers a wide-angle webcam that can capture the entire group while conserving bandwidth. For huddle rooms or small conference rooms, a Webcam for TV combined with Yamaha Unified Communications’ ESB-1090 Enterprise Sound Bar accomplishes the same task. Yamaha also offers a variety of microphone systems that can help ensure participants are heard clearly.

If you’re seeking advice about the products that can help create an outstanding videoconferencing solution, reach out to the experts at Yamaha UC.