Bandwidth (1)

How Does Bandwidth Affect Cloud Video Conferencing?

Cameron Smith
February 2, 2017

When you think about video conferencing, a few components jump to mind.

You’ll probably think of the camera and microphone required first. Then, you’ll likely consider the endpoint or device you’ll be accessing the conference on. You may even consider the space the conference is being held in, and the furniture required. But one essential piece of the puzzle often goes unacknowledged – bandwidth requirements.

With cloud video conferencing, appropriate bandwidth and internet speed is essential to a quality conference. It effects the sound, image and connectivity and can mean the difference between a choppy interaction and an efficient collaboration experience.

However, not all video conferencing has the same bandwidth requirements. That means it’s important to know exactly what you can expect from your internet and it’s interaction with the video conferencing software you use.

First, you need to understand exactly what bandwidth is, what role it plays in telecommunication.

What is Bandwidth?

Very simply put, bandwidth refers to how much data can be transmitted per second from the internet to your device. High bandwidth capabilities means your internet can reach higher speeds, download and upload files faster and stream higher quality media.

Bandwidth capability is largely determined by the provider and plan you have, along with how you access internet. By far the most common type of high-speed internet is Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL), which is transmitted through telephone lines.

Bandwidth requirements vary depending on the type of activity a user is undertaking. Sending emails and uploading small text files require very little bandwidth, and can be done relatively quickly even on old-fashioned dial-up internet.

However, streaming HD video can be extremely demanding on bandwidth and requires quite a bit more to run smoothly. It’s important to know how your internet will react to the types of tasks you require from it.

Even at the office, taking into account bandwidth is a smart idea. While the capacity is usually much higher at workplaces than in home internet, with so many people on a single network, adequate bandwidth can still become a problem. That’s why it’s always important to search for bandwidth-efficient solutions.

How Video Conferencing and Bandwidth Interact

Like any media you access over the internet, the quality of your video conferencing experience is closely tied with the bandwidth you’re able to provide, and the bandwidth it requires.

When pursuing a video conferencing solution, considering the bandwidth requirements is important data to get a gauge on what the quality will be like. The higher the bandwidth requirements are for HD video, the less likely it will be seamlessly delivered (without placing an unnecessary strain on your network.)

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One major misconception people have is that the simpler the platform, the less bandwidth is required. It seems to make sense on the surface – after all, who would guess that the choppy, inconsistent video Skype provides could actually require a great deal of bandwidth?

In fact, it’s more often the case that professional video conferencing platforms like RP1Cloud go easier on your network than their cheap/free counterparts.

Here’s a comparison of a few different platforms so you can see what bandwidth it takes to achieve high definition video:

Bandwidth Requirements of Different Video Conferencing Platforms

Skype: Skype is to video conferencing as a go-kart is to a sports car. While technically video conferencing, Skype lacks the capabilities and quality of most other platforms. Hence, it is infrequently used as the collaboration solution of choice for most businesses.

Additionally, its bandwidth requirements are quite high. Just a simple one-on-one video call can exceed 1.2Mbps, and as group size increases this goes up exponentially. Even though the video isn’t in high definition, a Skype call with five people will exceed 2Mbps of bandwidth requirement!

So, while free to have a video call, to have one in high definition or with multiple people costs a lot – of bandwidth.

Zoom: Zoom represents an entry level video conferencing platform. Even so, its bandwidth requirements are generally more manageable than free solutions like Skype, and it can offer a bit more in terms of functionality.

For 1-1 video in HD quality, Zoom requires the same bandwidth as Skype at 1.2Mbps. However, things begin to look up as you increase your attendees. For a group call, Zoom only requires 1.5Mbps – a relatively modest increase.

RP1Cloud: While RP1Cloud surpasses video platforms in many areas, nowhere is this as apparent as with its bandwidth requirements. Even on high definition calls, RP1Cloud goes easy on your network.

For 1-1 HD video, RP1Cloud only requires about 1Mbps of bandwidth – lower than most of its competitors. Even with multiple attendees, most RP1Cloud calls won’t exceed 1.5Mbps, regardless of meeting size.

And, assuming you have ample bandwidth, RP1Cloud even allows for ultra-high definition 1080p video at just under 2Mbps. With the ability to provide quality video for users across a spectrum of bandwidth requirements, RP1Cloud provides both efficiency and flexibility for its video conferencing users.

Conclusion

Some people don’t even consider bandwidth requirements when pursuing a teleconferencing solution – even though it can have an enormous impact on the quality and effectiveness of your meetings.

When looking into video conferencing, make sure you have a good understanding of your network to know what it can support. And make sure that you look for a bandwidth-friendly solution like RP1Cloud to guarantee consistent high quality meetings.

Looking to get the best video conferencing without busting your bandwidth? Try RP1Cloud today!