At Makesweat, we make it easy for your customers to book into your classes; we send your Zoom link when they enroll, and an hour before the class.
But how do you get the most out of Zoom?
We love Zoom because it is the most used video meeting platform. The huge number of users means that it’s been thoroughly used in many challenging situations and incrementally improved. If you have problems with Zoom, the first place to look is your internet connection and your laptop or tablet.
There are four places that affect your Zoom quality
- Your camera
- Your laptop
- Other people in your house or on your network
- Your connection to your router
- Your internet connection
A camera is only as good as what it sees; make sure you’re well lit with lighting behind or to the side of the camera. If you have a bright light behind you, you’ll likely appear dark. Aim for a white or light coloured background.
Some web cams do just look dreadful, due to terrible colour accuracy or odd lighting response. It’s worth borrowing and trying other web cams and experimenting. Aim for a reasonable quality HD 1080 web cam.
If you’re using the camera in your laptop or tablet and the quality isn’t great, take the above tip and see if you can find one that looks better.
More expensive cameras, such as SLRs, can have issues with deciding to focus on something other than you. For this reason you may be better with a webcam.
Compressing video does require a certain amount of ooomph from your computer. If it’s several years old and is already struggling, Zoom will make things worse. Laptops, unless originally high spec, usually need to be replaced when older than about three years and very likely when older than five.
Signs of severe laptop trauma are taking more than thirty seconds to open Zoom, or freezing after you’ve pressed a button.
Other people in your house or on your network
Home wifi isn’t that great at multiple people using it for demanding purposes – a bit like trying to have a conversation with someone, with other people trying to have a conversation across you.
If you have other people in your home watching videos on Youtube or Netflix, downloading files or Windows updates, or also using Zoom, this will almost certainly cause your Zoom session to glitch or get delayed. Online gaming is generally less bandwidth intensive but could be a problem.
If possible, tell everyone else to stop using the router during your class! Alternatively, consider a separate internet connection for your classes.
People in nearby houses can be a problem too, if they use the same exchange (where your house connection wire/fibre meets the edge of the internet). This is actually less of a problem – the internet provider likely has more bandwidth than required and would generally limit each house connection to stop it taking over the whole area’s bandwidth.
We have heard of householders asking to their internet service provider to put them on a different ‘circuit’. Difficult to know if this is a real effect or a setting change with the ISP.
The above picture is from Speedtest . I have a wired network connection to my router. PING should be less than 30ms and both DOWNLOAD and UPLOAD more than 1Mbps.
Your connection to your router
Home wifi has its limits. Wifi struggles with brick and stone walls and degrades over distance. It won’t just suddenly disconnect; as the signal gets weaker, the video signal picks up more errors as it’s sent from your laptop to the router – like trying to talk to someone across a room and not being able to hear them clearly. These errors then need correction – “I didn’t get that properly, please send again”, which can delay and ultimately cause the video to fail.
If you have any connection issues, get an ethernet cable to plug from your router to your laptop, or move the router and laptop closer together, to rule this out as an issue. Here’s a link on Amazon for a cable. You can get really long cables!
Your router and internet connection
The router itself can lock up and have problems, or the connection from the router to the internet can be patchy. It’s difficult to tell the two apart.
If you’re a long way from the exchange, where your phone connection gets connected the internet, this also causes both low bandwidth and connection errors, which cause the retry errors as above.
For example, my parents’ telephone and internet connection is a wire from their roof to a pole several metres away, and goes through the branches and leaves on an oak tree. When the wind blows the wire is knocked and this degrades their internet connection.
There’s not necessarily a sure fire way to correct router and internet issues. You could change providers but if the signal goes over the same wires it won’t necessarily get any better.
- Rather than using Wifi, put a network cable between your PC and router. Does that help? Here’s a link on Amazon for a cable.
- Ask everyone in the house to turn off their laptops & phones. Does that help?
- Try on a different, newer laptop.
Did you find this article useful? We’d love to hear from you.