Zoom and bandwidth
April 15, 2020 4:06 AM   Subscribe

I've been asked to join a zoom meeting tomorrow or on Friday. I haven't tried it, but I guess I can figure it out. What I really need to know is wether I can do it when using my bad phone connection for internet, or I should get myself to a place where I can access broadband?

I'd prefer doing it from home because of access to coffee and my stuff, but the other place is completely private, and generally fine. I could bring a thermos.
That's basically it, but if anyone has other advice, please bring it.
posted by mumimor to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Test is out with a friends beforehand. You can create a free account allowing to do free meetings of up to 40 minutes in length. Ideally test with multiple friends to see if having multiple video streams affects the quality, etc. or should you go audio only.
posted by zeikka at 4:10 AM on April 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

Zoom has a “test meeting” you can join. Also you may be able to call a local (to your country) phone number to join the meeting, but that might depend on how the meeting host has it set up. Obviously then you can only contribute audio if you’re not using the camera.
posted by mskyle at 4:13 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The connection matters. I have mediocre internet, and zoom will freeze up, cut out like any other video platform. So do the test, but if this is a really important meeting, use the place with the stronger connection.
posted by RajahKing at 4:58 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

How essential is video? I've done audio-only on Zoom calls on my phone before. Back when there was an office to commute into, I would dial into morning meetings during my commute so that I didn't have to wake up at the asscrack of dawn. That worked fine, and screen sharing seemed to be stable (as much as I could tell - I wasn't looking too closely, considering I was driving, but you know). I've never done my own video on my phone only though.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:44 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

You can connect to the audio portion of a Zoom meeting by calling in by telephone and entering the meeting ID number. Zoom International Dial-in Numbers
posted by heatherlogan at 6:15 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just to clarify: there has to be video. I'm not yet sure why, but I know it is important.
posted by mumimor at 6:18 AM on April 15, 2020

Best answer: Broadband is best, and hardwired (instead of wifi) if you can get it. I ran ethernet to my office specifically to eliminate Zoom stuttering and other nonsense from my main workstation.
posted by jquinby at 6:54 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I did a whole Zoom presentation using my phone hotspot, just as a data point. It was a screen share, however, not video per se.
posted by 8603 at 7:33 AM on April 15, 2020

In case it isn't clear, you can phone in for the audio but still use video as well. This takes some of the load off of the internet connection.
posted by vacapinta at 7:56 AM on April 15, 2020

Response by poster: I think I'll have to go to the other place and try to make it work. The phone connection here is hardly good enough for a regular phone call. My cable was cut over during some road work, and I won't get a new connection till after the lockdown.
posted by mumimor at 8:04 AM on April 15, 2020

Response by poster: Thanks all, for the input
posted by mumimor at 8:05 AM on April 15, 2020

The zoom phone app is surprisingly good. I've used it for hours with only a mediocre 4G signal and it worked just fine. I would give that a try.
posted by medusa at 9:04 AM on April 15, 2020

I've used both the laptop app and the phone app over my phone's 4g connection. My first experiences indicate that a one-hour Zoom session with 15-20 participants using the laptop/desktop app will use 1-2 gigabytes of data. A one-hour Zoom session with around 10 participants using the mobile app is going to take 500-600 megabytes.
posted by rjs at 9:34 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I sometimes call into Zoom conferences for audio with my phone and join the video with my computer. When the video freezes up, the phone audio generally works fine, so this avoids disruptions. The Zoom platform can associate your audio connection with your video connection, which is helpful -- i.e., it knows when you are talking on your phone that it should be showing your video as the "speaker."
posted by Mid at 9:49 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Meeting done, thanks for all the advice, including that I didn't mark as best answer. All your answers helped me figure it out.
posted by mumimor at 6:02 AM on April 17, 2020

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