Question Bad video/audio quality on calls

Mar 18, 2020
9
0
10
0
I am a psychologist living in India and ever since the corona outbreak have been working with my clients from home. I am having a lot of instances where the other person can't hear me or I can't hear them, or the video freezes.

I've tried Skype and Zoom and have difficulties in both.

What is it that I can do to improve the call quality?

Since it is both video and audio related, I am sure this has to do with not having a fast enough internet connection.

My internet service provider says my internet is 500 MBPS. When I run the speed test on Google, my download speed comes to be 45 MBPS and upload speed 3.5 MBPS.

The Skype website says I only need 500 KBPS for a good call.

So I am trying to understand, if my speed is many times higher, then why am I not able to get good calls?

My internet service provider has an option of 1 GBPS speed, but I am not sure if I really need that.

Also, I have an HP Pavillion laptop which is about 8 years or so old. It runs on Windows 7. Could the old system and old operating system be a factor? I was told by my ISP during installation that a newer laptop would give higher speeds, but I am unsure if that is true, and if they will actually improve the quality of calls. If a newer laptop will actually improve call quality, I don'd mind buying one. But I wouldn't want to spend $ 400 if its not needed.

Finally, because wi-fi affects my health I have an ethernet cable coming from the modem straight to my laptop. This is supposed to be faster than wi-fi.

I would appreciate any suggestions on how I can improve call quality.
 

borris618

Distinguished
May 6, 2013
35
3
18,535
0
Your provider gives you 500 Mbps (megabit) and a speedtest is measuring in MBps (megabyte)
1 byte is 8 bit, so you have a teoretical 62.5 MBps wich you will never get because of overhead etc. 45 MBps is totaly fine.
Hovewer you dont know what your clients internet speed is; so if theirs is slower you cant do anything against that.

Also as you say because of Corona outbreak many people are sitting at home and using skype services wich may not be capable of handeling the large traffic amounts.
If you can try to make a call to someone who you know has a good internet connection to see if it still is bad quality.
I would also turn all unnessary progams off during the call so that the pc can dedicate all its processing power to the video call.

You are correct in saying that cable directly into the modem is faster/more reliable than wifi.
 
I can't say about the health benefits of ethernet but from a performance and quality standpoint ethernet is far superior to wifi. This is even more apparent in applications like yours where delays due to transmission errors are very visible.

We see similar complaints from gamers on this forum all the time. You application is actually slightly more tolerant than games.

What is important is not the speed but the consistency. The data must be delivered at a consistent rate. For a data transfer sending 10mbps for 1 second and 0 mbps of 9 seconds still gives average rates of 1mbps over 10 seconds. That is far different than sending 1mbps for each of the 10 seconds. Real time video and voice actually needs the data to be more like the second.

Your PC might be the problem but not real likely. Video of course takes more cpu and GPU power but you machine is still many times faster than a cell phone and people use those for video conference all the time.

Spending more money I do not think will help.

Most times bandwidth issues like yours are UPLOAD related. 3.5m is not a real lot but should be more than enough if you are careful about other things running.

There are sites that test things like jitter which will give you a better indicator how consistent your internet connection is.

Not sure what you can do though. You are at the mercy of the ISP to provide good service. It all depends where the problem is. If it inside your ISP you maybe stuck if like most people you do not have the option to change. If it is in connections to other ISP a VPN service "might" help. It is one of those things you need to test. You are hoping that your ISP has a good connection to the ISP the VPN provider uses and that vpn provider has a better connection than your ISP to the ISP your customers are using. This is one of those you test and see if you get lucky, it really should not make a difference when you have a major ISP but it some times does.
 

alceryes

Distinguished
Test with someone who has great internet service. Maybe a colleague at a hospital or business office or something like that. This is most likely due to slow internet and high/inconsistent latency on the other end, not yours. Wired internet will be faster and have less latency than wireless, of course.

If you upgrade your internet does your upload speed also increase?
Can you upgrade on a trial basis and cancel in a week or two if it doesn't make a difference?
Is there anyone else (or any other devices) using your internet while you attempt these calls?

The issue is most likely on the other end, not yours, but, if you can upgrade to test and then cancel without paying anything extra, you might as well try that out.
 
Mar 18, 2020
9
0
10
0
Test with someone who has great internet service. Maybe a colleague at a hospital or business office or something like that. This is most likely due to slow internet and high/inconsistent latency on the other end, not yours. Wired internet will be faster and have less latency than wireless, of course.

If you upgrade your internet does your upload speed also increase?
Can you upgrade on a trial basis and cancel in a week or two if it doesn't make a difference?
Is there anyone else (or any other devices) using your internet while you attempt these calls?

The issue is most likely on the other end, not yours, but, if you can upgrade to test and then cancel without paying anything extra, you might as well try that out.
Thank you.

I did a meeting with a colleague in Latvia. The connection was perfect. The meeting lasted 40 minutes and we didn't have a single interruption in audio or video. It's with the clients in India that I am having issues.

My ISP offers a 1 GbPS plan. If I take that, would it help? If I pull up the speed from my end, would it help even if the client has bad speed?

And also buy a new laptop in addition?

I don't mind taking the higher speed plan for a month and going back to the usual one if it doesn't make a difference.
 
Mar 18, 2020
9
0
10
0
Most times bandwidth issues like yours are UPLOAD related. 3.5m is not a real lot but should be more than enough if you are careful about other things running.

There are sites that test things like jitter which will give you a better indicator how consistent your internet connection is.

Not sure what you can do though. You are at the mercy of the ISP to provide good service. It all depends where the problem is. If it inside your ISP you maybe stuck if like most people you do not have the option to change. If it is in connections to other ISP a VPN service "might" help. It is one of those things you need to test. You are hoping that your ISP has a good connection to the ISP the VPN provider uses and that vpn provider has a better connection than your ISP to the ISP your customers are using. This is one of those you test and see if you get lucky, it really should not make a difference when you have a major ISP but it some times does.
I'm getting 42 Mbps and 85 Mbps for download and upload respectively now. Apparently 3.5 m was an exception. Jitter is 2 ms and ping 1 ms.

How do I test whether it's my ISP or not?
 
Mar 18, 2020
9
0
10
0
Your provider gives you 500 Mbps (megabit) and a speedtest is measuring in MBps (megabyte)
1 byte is 8 bit, so you have a teoretical 62.5 MBps wich you will never get because of overhead etc. 45 MBps is totaly fine.
Hovewer you dont know what your clients internet speed is; so if theirs is slower you cant do anything against that.

Also as you say because of Corona outbreak many people are sitting at home and using skype services wich may not be capable of handeling the large traffic amounts.
If you can try to make a call to someone who you know has a good internet connection to see if it still is bad quality.
I would also turn all unnessary progams off during the call so that the pc can dedicate all its processing power to the video call.

You are correct in saying that cable directly into the modem is faster/more reliable than wifi.
Thanks. As I wrote in an earlier post, I tried a call with a colleague in Europe and it was perfect.

I think I have two options - get 1 Gbps from my ISP, instead of 500 Mbps as of now.

Or / and, get a newer laptop.

Do you think either of them may make a difference? The first one is quite inexpensive to do, the second one very expensive.
 
If it works good to some location and not others it means it highly likely it is not on your end. You can do very little if the person on the far end has poor internet.

This is like saying you have a large highway in front of your house and you go to visit someone on a dirt road. You could get a faster car but you still will be limited by the dirt road when you get closer to them.
 

alceryes

Distinguished
If it works good to some location and not others it means it highly likely it is not on your end. You can do very little if the person on the far end has poor internet.

This is like saying you have a large highway in front of your house and you go to visit someone on a dirt road. You could get a faster car but you still will be limited by the dirt road when you get closer to them.
Agreed.
Unfortunately, you getting faster internet or a newer computer will do nothing for your clients poor internet connection on the other end. The only thing I would suggest is to try using audio-only calls when video isn't necessary. Or switching to video only when needed and then back to audio.
 
Mar 18, 2020
9
0
10
0
Agreed.
Unfortunately, you getting faster internet or a newer computer will do nothing for your clients poor internet connection on the other end. The only thing I would suggest is to try using audio-only calls when video isn't necessary. Or switching to video only when needed and then back to audio.
Yes, that's what I am doing for now. I did order changing my internet plan.

It was actually 250 Mbps and not 500 Mbps as I thought. I've now ordered 1 Gbps to try for a week. As most of you say, it will probably not have an effect because my current internet plan is working well when I talk to someone with a good connection in Europe and America.

But I'll still try and see if 1 Gbps can help. I don't know much about this, but trying all I can.
 
It's with the clients in India that I am having issues.
This is the problem. Having dealt with Indian Internet services before and the garbage IT infrastructure there, it is on their end 100%. (Even if they have the right equipment it is usually misconfigured or otherwise F'd up.)

Your upgrade to gigabit if it is gigabit up and down might help slightly. A newer laptop might help slightly as well. But I would not expect more than a 5-10% improvement in the best case scenario.
 

alceryes

Distinguished
This is the problem. Having dealt with Indian Internet services before and the garbage IT infrastructure there, it is on their end 100%. (Even if they have the right equipment it is usually misconfigured or otherwise F'd up.)

Your upgrade to gigabit if it is gigabit up and down might help slightly. A newer laptop might help slightly as well. But I would not expect more than a 5-10% improvement in the best case scenario.
I doubt his clients will experience any gain.
He said that a long test call to a colleague in Europe and it was perfect. This tells me that it's 100% on the client side. I too have experienced, first hand, the internet services in Bangalore. It's definitely on that end. ;)
 
I doubt his clients will experience any gain.
He said that a long test call to a colleague in Europe and it was perfect. This tells me that it's 100% on the client side. I too have experienced, first hand, the internet services in Bangalore. It's definitely on that end. ;)
I doubt it too (I also dealt with Bangalore at my in-laws place), but I did notice some improvements when I connected to a faster isp connection (I have multiple) at home versus a slower one. Hence there might be some slight improvements.
 
Mar 18, 2020
9
0
10
0
Thank you all. I got a 1 Gpbs connection. Let's see if it makes a difference. It's too early to know.

I find that those clients whose DL and UL speeds are above 30 MBps - I get good connections with them. Those with lower ones, I get bad connections.
 
Thank you all. I got a 1 Gpbs connection. Let's see if it makes a difference. It's too early to know.

I find that those clients whose DL and UL speeds are above 30 MBps - I get good connections with them. Those with lower ones, I get bad connections.
That makes sense as the bandwidth between the both of you will be less than that for sure.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS