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Video calling over low bandwidth

Discussion in 'All Other Software' started by Ronelh, Oct 15, 2019.

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  1. Ronelh

    Ronelh Thread Starter

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    I am an expat working in an office-type situation in sub-Saharan Africa, where internet access has always been limited at best. Broadband is not available in this remote country, and isn't likely to come here anytime soon. But a couple years ago, unlimited data over 3G internet finally became available, which has been a real help to us in many ways. However, it is slow - around 500 Kbps, if the cell towers are working properly - and not too reliable.

    In spite of these limitations, our coworkers at the USA headquarters of our society have been trying to get internet video conferencing going, but we have had mixed results, mainly due to the slow connection. We have been trying to find out whether there is video calling software available that our slow internet could handle.

    We've tried VSee, which is supposed to be good for low bandwidth situations, but it still seems to need a bit more bandwidth than we can give. Google Hangouts isn't really any better, and Skype is out of the question. I've had some success with FaceTime when calling home to my parents, but most of my coworkers don't have Apple devices.

    Can anyone suggest other video-conferencing software that might work over very low bandwidth? It would need to work on Linux and/or Windows.
     
  2. SeanLaurence

    SeanLaurence

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    Sean
    Nope.
    It cannot be done.
    Your internet connection is just not capable of supporting the bandwidth of a video stream.

    This site shows a chart describing theoretical maximum speeds of 3G and 4G connections:
    https://www.lifewire.com/how-fast-are-4g-and-3g-internet-speeds-3974470
    You can see the 3G upload speed is 1/4 that of the download speed, so, in theory the person on the other end would only get 1/4 of the video frames of you than what you would get of them.
    The 500 kbps you say you are getting is 1/16th of the maximum that you might get

    I suggest that you send pictures and just do live audio.
     
  3. Ronelh

    Ronelh Thread Starter

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    Hmm, okay. I still think it would be theoretically possible to have a video stream that could work for very low bandwidth... but not that many areas of the world are still on such slow internet, so I guess not enough market for such a product. Well, I suppose you are right and we might better stick with audio. What software would work best for audio on a low bandwidth?
     
  4. SeanLaurence

    SeanLaurence

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    First Name:
    Sean
    I am not an expert at video / audio conferencing, and I don't have a low bandwidth internet connection to test with.
    Most people choose a conferencing solution based on what they already have.
    Skype and Google Hangouts are the most popular options, they are "Free" to use and work well.
    This (biased) article outlines a few other choices in a chart. You would have to test to see what works best with your connection.
    https://proficonf.com/the-9-best-video-conferencing-apps-in-2019/
     
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