Having problems maintaining a connection to Scopia or Communicator (or Lync)?

You will need to check your bandwidth to the server. The easiest way to do that is to go to this website and launch the test (NOTE: does not work with tablets and phones because of the Java requirement):

http://speedtest.vanderbilt.edu/LineQualityTest/client/

Wait for all the tests to complete. This is the analysis of numbers.

Good numbers:

Download AND upload speeds minimum:  1000Kb/s otherwise specified as 1Mb/s both directions. (upload speeds of 512Kb/s are allowable on Windows machines that have had their upstream rates throttled back for Scopia only (not the default) using the techtool I wrote on this. See below for the URL.)

Latency: number bigger than 80ms is a problem, bigger than 100ms is unuseable (refers to the time it takes from someone’s voice to someone's ear). More than 100 and people are talking over each other.

Packet loss: must not exceed 1%. Any packet loss more than that is a problem. Symptom: broken audio, smeared or frozen video

Jitter: must not exceed 20ms (it refers to the variation in packet speeds over time). Symptom: same as packet loss

Be sure to run the test at least several times over several days to get reliable results. These numbers can vary widely over time. You can Alt-PrintScrn the output and paste (CTRL-V) into a Word document. Be sure to type in the date, day, and time of the image. This allows you to look over time by keeping a record of past results.

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Now what should you do if your numbers aren’t acceptable?

1.     always start a session from a freshly booted computer.

2.     never run any applications (other than your conferencing and any app you may be showing while conferencing) on your computer while you are in the conference.

3.     periodically (about once a month) reset your cable/dsl modem and your router by powering them off and then on. Always power on your modem first, make sure it has successfully rebooted, then power on your wireless router.

4.     run all videoconferencing sessions from a HARDWIRED connection. We strongly do NOT recommend wifi at home for this purpose.

5.     make sure no one else is on your network. If you have kids or a spouse online at the same time they are grabbing your bandwidth. Tell them to get off (that includes tablets and phones connected via wifi) until you are done.

6.     if you are trying to run this from a cellular connection 3G won’t work and 4G will only work with the maximum number of bars. Never try to use satellite connections, they are just not fast enough.

7.     if you are running Scopia there is a way to throttle your upload requirements to conform to slower bandwidth. Here is the link: https://nursingapps.nursing.vanderbilt.edu/howtobandwidthfixscopia/

8.     always use headset if you are on a Windows machine. Do not use a headset if you are on a contemporary Macintosh machine.

9.     if you are still having problems, turn your video off. People won’t be able to see you but they will at least be able to hear you and you will be able to see and hear everyone else. In Scopia find the camera icon located just above the main video window and click on it to turn your camera off. That will free up bandwidth for audio. If you are on Communicator, just don’t enable your camera

10.  go to another wifi source (Panera, Starbucks, McDonalds, library, or school etc.) to make sure the problem isn’t a setting on your computer. If it fails to work there we will likely need to see your computer (we have ways of logging into it with your permission). If it works at those places but not at home, it is clearly your home network. Also, if you have another machine at home, use it to check your bandwidth for consistency purposes. If it too registers slow, you may have to contact your internet service provider.

11.  If you are showing your desktop and a problems develop, send your presentation to a person with stronger upstream capabilities and have them run your powerpoint from their machine. You will have to tell them “next” to advance the slides manually but it is preferable to a broken presentation. I would, as a matter of course, always send powerpoint presentations to everyone in the class so they can watch them “offline” if necessary as they are following along with your audio.

JSG:11/08/11