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  • The Redback Team
  • The Redback Team

    5th January 2016

Tech Talk – What to check before you web conference!

Redback's checklist

I’ve been the token techie at Redback for a while now – I’m the go to guy when things don’t work and I’ve also been regarded as the guy that understands what it all means. While the majority of my day sees me finding solutions, I’ve always believed in prevention trumping the cure.

It’s important, that as a web conferencing user you understand the technology you’re using as well as the pros and cons that come along with it.

So what are the technical things that you should always check before hosting a web conference? Here are a few questions that I regularly get asked…


Internet Connection

It sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately many see this as a ‘double check an hour before’ item on their checklist. What many don’t realise is that an internet connection can make or break your event, here’s some questions to ask…

  • Are you on a wireless connection? If so, try to setup a stable connection or move as close as possible to your internet router.
  • Is anyone else using the same network to download any large files? If so, this could potentially disrupt your entire web conference, make sure you warn people in advance and always make them aware of when you are hosting a web conference
  • How much bandwidth do you have? A typical web conference using screen sharing or PowerPoint requires approximately 100kb – keep this is mind and ensure you’re prepared!

 

Smile – you’re on camera!

Webcams are a great way to put a face to a name and ramp up the level of interaction and engagement– but how do you know which webcam is right for you and which ones actually work? Here are a few questions that I frequently get asked…

  • How much money do I need, what is a realistic budget? For web conferencing, budget anywhere between $30 – $50 for an average quality webcam.
  • What type of resolution do I need? An average resolution is all you need – usually something between 320 x 240 or 640 x 480 will do the job just fine.
  • How do I know if it’s the right webcam for my computer? Firstly, make sure your computer can handle a webcam. Most webcams have minimum system requirements listed on the box, be sure to check this before purchasing.
  • How much bandwidth will I need to show my webcam? One webcam usually adds around 500kb – be sure to communicate this with those joining your web conference.

To VoIP or not to VoIP?

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) uses internet connection to deliver voices over digital networks. While VoIP solutions are much more cost effective, it’s important that you weigh up the pros and cons.

The Pros…

  • Low Cost: One of the main advantages of VoIP is the low cost. You’re not paying any extra to use it and your attendees aren’t paying any extra to listen – it’s a win win!
  • Convenience: Those joining your web conference will more than likely be familiar with VoIP. These days it can be difficult to ensure all attendees are situated within arm’s reach of a telephone.

The Cons…

  • Reliability: The last thing you want is for your internet connection to drop out halfway through your webinar. However, with technology anything is possible. If this does occur your visual and audio lines will be cut leaving your audience up in the air and with no way to communicate with you.
  • The Bandwidth: VoIP can add up to 100kb of bandwidth to your web conference. It’s also important to remember that what your audience hears is dependent upon their internet bandwidth.

If you’re looking at using VoIP as an audio solution, I definitely recommend having a PSTN (Telephone line) organised as a backup plan.

Hopefully these tips can either add to or become the driver behind your web conferencing checklist. Either way, remember the number one rule – check and test everything at least once and ensure that you’ve got support available for when you need it most!

Until next time…
Hank Evecek

 

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