and have the productive remote meetings you still need to have
Video conference calls have grown massively in popularity. Considered my some to be a necessary evil during lockdown, they will continue being used as you return to the office. The time saved by not travelling can be put to much better use. We will be using Zoom, Teams et al from now on. One of the biggest issues, however is having the call freeze. Let’s look at the causes of this and how to stop Zoom calls freezing.
Why Zoom or Teams freezes
This is probably the biggest cause of a Zoom call freezing, whether you’re at home or in the office. Video conference calls can take up to 1Mb of bandwidth, both up and down. If your internet connection is really slow, this may cause problems and make it freeze. You can see our guide to getting faster WiFi here.
What to do
- Use a broadband speed test to find out how much bandwidth you have. Do this at the router, rather than in your home office/dining room/bedroom. Connect to your router with an ethernet cable to get a truly accurate reading.
- If you haven’t got enough, you may need to upgrade. Talk to your ISP, after checking what is actually available in your area.
- If your internet connection is provided by your company, talk to your IT Support company.
Poor WiFi coverage
Even if you have enough broadband bandwidth, it may not be getting to your device. This may simply be a distance thing (the range of WiFi routers can vary dramatically). It could also be that something is interrupting the signal. This is just a small number of them:
- Electrical power supply units – Laptops/TVs
- Decorative lights
- Satellite and Freeview boxes
- Security systems
- Additional steels, as part of an extension build.
What to do
- Knowing just how much the signal is being impacted is the first step.
- Run the same speed test in your usual working location.
- Run the test in other locations in the house too.
You may need either a more powerful WiFi router or use some other way of boosting your WiFi coverage. There are plenty of solutions available.
Too many devices
In today’s highly connected homes, it is easy to have a lot of devices connected to your internet connection.
- Laptops and phones
- Smart speakers – Echoes, Nests, Sonos etc.
- TVs – Netflix etc.
- Even your fridge or oven
Add to that your partner and children making video calls as well, and you soon have a huge demand on your bandwidth.
What to do
Depending on various factors, there are a number of things you should consider:
- Turn off some of the devices when you need to have a Zoom call.
- Schedule your calls off-peak times – whenever they are these days.
- If you are using some kind of WiFi extender, you may be able to load-balance some of the devices on different access points.
- If you have 5G coverage, and a good data allowance on your phone, connect to your mobile hotspot for calls. Remember to disconnect your phone from the WiFi whilst going this, or it will simply re-route back…
- In extreme cases, you may need to add another internet connection. Whilst this will mean more cost, that cost may soon be made up for in productivity gains.
Proactive Maintenance tips
Here are a few, best practice, tips that may stop some, or all, of the above being necessary.
- Turn off your laptop sometimes. Shutting down completely is recommended at any time, but when we are, literally, living on our laptops, they need to be rested. Shut it down at the end of the day to let it rest.
- Shut down your router sometimes. In the same way your laptop needs to be powered down regularly, your router needs to too. It is, after all, just another computing device.
- Where you can, turn off some other devices that don’t need to be on during your meetings.
- Schedule calls during off-peak times.
- Pay attention. Some Zoom or Teams calls can be really boring(!!?) and you may be tempted to open another browser window and do something else. This simply uses more bandwidth and will often make your Teams call freeze for a few seconds.
- If you are suffering from a bit of Zoom fatigue, click here for a few tips to relieve that too.
Of course, another alternative would be to simply use the phone. Unless you need to share screens, especially if there are only two of you, using the phone can be just as productive – and you don’t have to get out of your PJ’s!
If you’re having company IT issues and your current IT support provider isn’t helping, perhaps its time for a change. Give us a call on 020 7227 9700.
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