Naturally, you’ll want to get the most from your live English language videoconferencing sessions. That’s why it’s so important to set up and test your audio and video connection properly.

When your PC or laptop network link works well, the sound will be crisp and free of interference. Similarly, the video from your camera will be steady, not jumpy. In other words, it’s almost like being in the same room.

On the other hand, if your audio and video settings are unconfigured and untested, you risk frustration and poor connections. Clearly, that’s something to avoid.

High quality audio connection with headset
Making sure the connection is high quality

So, are you ready? Let’s get started!

  1. Connect your PC or laptop to the router using an RJ45 network cable.
    That way, you won’t be subject to the occasional intermittence of WiFi connections.

    Connecting RJ45 network cable to router
    Connecting RJ45 network cable to router

    Even fast links can suffer problems when they interact with signals from neighbours’ routers. Do you use a tablet PC for your sessions? Again, use a physical cable connection.

    RJ45 network cable connection to router
    RJ45 network cable connection to router

     

  2. Use a good headset.  I prefer plug-in (USB connections have primarily replaced the older 3.5mm type).
    Suggestion: avoid Bluetooth gaming sets that cover both ears. Avoid headsets that come advertised with permanent noise cancellation. After all, you want to be able to hear what you’re saying, too! If you have a headset that features noise cancellation, switch it off (or, as a workaround, uncover one ear) during videoconferences.

    Good quality doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, especially if you shop around for a bargain. However, cheap, flimsy headsets don’t last long and don’t usually perform well.

    Headset for videoconferencing
    A comfortable, practical headset for VOIP calls and videoconferences
  3.  Test your microphone and audio.
    Remember to deselect mute buttons, set switch boxes correctly and adjust volume controls whenever you connect, change or re-connect. Then use the videoconferencing service settings to check or adjust the sound from your microphone and video streaming from your camera.

    While there, you might want to optimise volume and background noise cancellation. After making any adjustments, always make a test call to ensure you can hear and be heard!

    Set up and test audio for videoconferencing
    Set up and test audio for videoconferencing

    If you use Zoom, you can test your meeting settings here: https://zoom.us/test

  4. Check the speed of your connection.
    Use a site like SpeedTest. For sufficient network bandwidth and reasonable videoconferencing quality, your hardware should be capable of specific minimum upload and download speeds. As a simple rule, Zoom needs at least 4MB for HD video. See more details here, under ‘Bandwidth requirements’.

    ( https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362023-System-requirements-for-Windows-macOS-and-Linux )

    There again, take a look at this independent review and technical advice:
    Excerpt:
    Not enough internet for Zoom calls?
    A laggy Zoom call sort of feels like a bad first date. You can’t connect, it feels awkward, and everyone wants it to end. If your internet connection struggles [to maintain] a smooth Zoom call, it might be time to consider upgrading your internet.
    We recommend looking for internet plans with at least 25 to 50 Mbps download speeds.

    ( https://www.reviews.org/internet-service/zoom-technical-requirements/ )

    Here’s a recent result on my upstairs workstation, furthest from the router but connected via a cable 😉 : https://www.speedtest.net/result/11940385667

Speedtest result showing fast connection with upload and download speeds, via VPN for privacy and security
Speedtest result showing fast connection with upload and download speeds

Finally, good luck. Persevere; it’s worth the effort and will probably save you a lot of frustration and wasted time!

 

Speaker using high quality audio connection, wearing headset
Speaker using high-quality video and audio connection, with headset

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