Internet bandwidth requirements for remote workers

Working from home is here to stay, and more businesses will continue to implement either a fully remote work policy or adopt a hybrid work model strategy. Some employees, however, may find it difficult to be as productive at home as they are at the office, especially if they don’t have sufficient internet bandwidth. But how much internet bandwidth is necessary to be able to work smoothly?

What is bandwidth?

Bandwidth refers to the maximum data transfer rate possible in a network or internet connection. It indicates the amount of data that can be sent over a connection in a given amount of time, and is usually expressed in bits per second (bps).

Imagine two computers with the same internet speed at 100 megabits per second (Mbps): the first computer only has a 50 Mbps bandwidth, while the second one has 100 Mbps. If they were to download the same packet with 500 megabits (Mb), the first computer would be able to do it in 10 seconds, while the second one could do it in just 5.

This is because the first computer’s bandwidth is capped at 50 Mbps — even with a high-speed internet service, the limit of transfer would still be low. Therefore, the higher the bandwidth, the more data can be sent over a connection, contributing to faster uploads and downloads and a better internet experience overall.

How much bandwidth do you need for remote working?

To answer this question, you need to factor in the type of work that you do and the apps that you use. If your job mostly consists of sending emails, editing and writing on Google Docs, and communicating on Slack, then you can do your job with ease even with a low bandwidth. On the other hand, if your day-to-day tasks consist of frequently attending meetings through video calls, then you’d need a plan with higher bandwidth.

Once you have a clear picture of how much data you send and receive on an average workday, you can start looking for plans that can support your needs. And while you don’t need to conduct virtual meetings in 4K quality, you also won’t want your clients and colleagues to appear pixelated during a meeting. Neither would you want a session that gets choppy or cut off mid-conversation.

Here are the minimum requirements for the most common video chat apps used by remote workers today:

For 1:1 video calling:

    • 600 Kbps (up/down) for high-quality video
    • 1.2 Mbps (up/down) for 720p HD video
    • Receiving 1080p HD video requires at least 1.8 Mbps (downspeed)
    • Sending 1080p HD video requires at least 1.8 Mbps (upspeed)

For group video calling:

    • 800 Kbps/1.0 Mbps (up/down) for high-quality video
    • For 720p HD video: 1.5 Mbps (up/down)
    • Receiving 1080p HD video requires at least 2.5 Mbps (downspeed)
    • Sending 1080p HD video requires at least 3.0 Mbps (upspeed)

HD video quality:

    • Outbound signals must always meet a 3.2 Mbps minimum bandwidth requirement.
    • Minimum inbound signals: 2.6 Mbps with two participants; 3.2 Mbps with five participants; and 4.0 Mbps with 10 participants

Standard definition (SD) video quality:

    • Outbound signals must always meet a 1 Mbps minimum bandwidth requirement.
    • Minimum inbound signals: 1 Mbps with two participants; 1.5 Mbps with five participants; and 2 Mbps with 10 participants

Video calling:

    • HD: 1.2 Mbps (up/down)
    • SD: 400 Kbps (up/down)
    • The more participants, the higher the bandwidth requirement for downloads: 512 Kbps for three participants; 2 Mbps for five participants; and 4 Mbps for seven people. Upload requirements remain constant at 128 Kbps.

Teams requires the same upload and download internet bandwidth for the following scenarios:

    • At least 30 Kbps for peer-to-peer audio calling
    • At least 1.2 Mbps for peer-to-peer HD-quality video calling at 720p
    • At least 1.5 Mbps for peer-to-peer HD-quality video calling at 1080p
    • At least 500 Kbps/1 Mbps for group video calling

If you’re worried about your internet bandwidth, you can opt for audio calls instead of video calls. This considerably helps lower the information you need to upload and download.

For more tips and solutions on how you can work from home without a hitch, call us. We’d be happy to help.

This post was originally published on this site

Which is better, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet?

If your business hasn’t already found the right platforms to support your remote workforce, it’s high time you did so. When it comes to business communications, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet are among the best. Both come with audio and video call functions, but you may prefer one over the other once you get to know what each offers on top of these.

Calling features

Microsoft Teams and Google Meet both offer enterprise-grade security, 1080p HD-quality video, and screen sharing capabilities, but there are some slight differences.

In the free version of Microsoft Teams, there is no limit to the number of people who can use its chat and document collaboration functions. Meanwhile, up to 20 users can join an audio or a video call. This number increases to 250 in the paid version.

What’s great about Microsoft Teams is it supports meeting and group call recording, and even has captions and transcription features. It also has an inline message translation feature that translates messages into the language specified in a user’s settings.

On the other hand, Google Meet’s free version supports up to 100 participants in a video call. What’s more, it has intelligent built-in features like muting and auto screen focus, which automatically switches the screen to the person who is currently talking. It also lets people join meetings even without Wi-Fi or data through unique dial-in phone numbers.

Integrations and add-ons

Microsoft Teams is, first and foremost, a unified platform that allows users to communicate and collaborate on a single platform. It comes with powerful content collaboration on Microsoft 365 apps (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Excel) and easily integrates with hundreds of other productivity and collaboration platforms.

Meanwhile, being a Google product, Google Meet fully integrates with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). For instance, users can schedule appointments and set call reminders within Google Meet using Google Calendar. Users can even broadcast their presentations live on YouTube.

Pricing

Both Microsoft Teams and Google Meet have free versions but with limited features. With the free version of Microsoft Teams, users can join a meeting and use its screen and file sharing features even without an account. However, they cannot record and save meetings. They also cannot take advantage of call encryption and call-in features if they do not have a Microsoft 365 account.

The most affordable subscription is $5 per month per user, and an additional $4 per user is needed for the call-in capabilities. Adding webinar features is also an additional cost if users want to livestream events to hundreds of people.

Meanwhile, users can use Google Meet for free with their personal Gmail accounts, but also with limited capabilities. A subscription that starts at $6 per month per user, however, lets users get Google Meet along with all the other powerful Google business apps and tools.

What works for you?

Knowing the similarities and differences between the two platforms, it should be easy for you to decide which suits your business the best. Google designed Google Meet for startups and small companies that need a low-cost communications solution, while Microsoft Teams, with its robust features, is suitable for small and large businesses alike.

If you’re still unsure about either product, you can opt for a free trial to help you in making the decision. Otherwise, you can contact our team today so we can recommend a VoIP solution that’s perfect for your business.

This post was originally published on this site