How much bandwidth do I need, to conduct online meetings?

Let’s look at some scenarios

With the pandemic, we’ve seen the rise of the online virtual meeting and one more for the mix, the online and off-line combo, where one or more of your people are attending remotely. This requires planning what your business needs are and then considering meeting spaces, A/V equipment and how robust your network is.

You may be thinking “Is my Internet connection and network fast enough and stable enough to cope with video conferencing”.

It’s a good question, and one that needs further consideration below.

Online presentation tools such as Microsoft Teams integrated into your Cloud PBX telephone system offers a rich multimedia experience, but also requires a stable internet connection to operate at its best. Bumpy changes between slides can ruin the whole presentation experience, or worse, your brand reputation.

Working meetings typically involve collaboration on documents in real-time, editing and reviewing each other’s work. This setup requires a fast internet connection to reflect the updates being made to the document in real-time – imagine getting close to the end of editing that proposal after having your team pour their smarts into it for the past hour, only to have your link freeze up…

How many of us, having experienced these frustrations, would easily acknowledge the importance of a fast and stable internet connection. Poor network quality and the disruptions it brings can waste a lot of time and literally cost you opportunities lost.

The question now is, “how much bandwidth do I need in my meeting spaces?”

How much bandwidth do I need?

The type of your broadband plan really depends on:

  • how reliant your business is on the internet to function; and
  • the number of people your business has.

Your collaboration app of choice will offer features to consider. Also to consider is business restore and high priority bandwidth. It’s a good idea to speak to us, for example about any network security and privacy requirements your business may require.

“What do I then need to consider?”

Here are some business scenarios you may consider:

  • How many of my people will be connected to our network?
  • Will they be using Wi-Fi or connect using an Ethernet cable (plugged directly in their device)?
  • How many people will be using videoconferencing apps simultaneously?
  • How many other devices will your people be using to connect to the network?
  • How many meeting/conference rooms are there in the building?
  • What screen size and resolution will your business need. Perhaps your requirement during video conferencing is to view Ultra High Definition (4K), to imitate a more life-like meeting experience by appearing life-size, or can you make do with smaller images?

Our recommendations for a good online meeting experience

  • A fibre Internet connection of at least 100/100Mbps.
  • A quality Enterprise level Firewall or Router.
  • Good quality Meeting devices (cameras, speakers, headsets etc.).
  • If using Wi-Fi on devices, having a separate Wi-Fi system is thoroughly recommended.
  • Some form or redundancy in case of Internet outages (i.e. a 2nd Internet connection or 4G failover).

For example, individual video conferencing requirements – a call between two users would require approximately 1Mbps down and 1Mbs up, on both sides to run smoothly. If using HD or 4K video, the number increases exponentially. The same goes for screen sharing and adding more members to a call. If additional apps are running in the background, this places a load on bandwidth requirements as well.

The quickest, easiest and cheapest things you could do to ensure a fast and stable connection, is to plug in an ethernet cable to devices in your meeting rooms. A wired connection is always stronger and more stable than Wi-Fi.

In summary, why is fast internet important for my business?

  • Helps your people to be more productive. It’s easier to focus on doing their jobs without the disruptions and distractions caused by slow and unstable internet.
  • Improve business processes. A high-quality internet connection allows your business to take advantage of the power of cloud-based applications and the benefits they bring.
  • It streamlines your collaboration in meetings and conferences. A fast and stable internet connection provides the choice to your teams to use their preferred apps, making engaging presentations, communicate with others remotely and collaborate in real-time without issues.