Video conferencing can be an amazing tool – when it works right. But this is the age of the Internet, and while we’ve managed to concoct ways to start face-to-face conversations across entire continents and oceans, with instant messaging and rapid data transfer, the fact remains that there’s always something that gets in the way – a crappy connection, mic problems, echo in the audio, freezing video, and more.
Figuring Out What’s Wrong
Problems with a call can occur for a multitude of reasons, but one of the more common sources for problems happens to be your conferencing equipment. If that’s the case, don’t fret – you have great options to help you out.
Aside from equipment, another common fault may lie in user error. The harder it is to set up a call with your conferencing solution of choice, the more you’ll run into issues as people fail to properly set their call up. You can help them get it right if they’re running into problems with a program’s interface, but ultimately, you’ll want to switch out your current choice for something that works a little better. If it’s a webcam issue, find your manufacturer and sort it out through their specifications. As per Microsoft, something as simple as restarting your webcam software or updating your drivers can solve the issue.
Finally, if you can’t figure out whether the problem comes from your equipment, your own hardware, the program itself or the other end of the call, you’ve got no choice but to switch to an alternative – and we’ll get into the specifics of choosing alternatives later down the road.
Troubleshooting Your Hardware
Hardware issues are a pain. When these occur, you know that something’s physically wrong – and that can range from a broken monitor or a messed up video card, to a loose connection on one of your ports. Or, it might not have anything to do with you at all – and it could all be connected to the other person’s hardware. Figuring out what’s wrong takes a few steps, and a few questions.
One of the phrases you’ll hear more often for a short duration of time once you start implementing videoconferencing is: “it’s not working!” However, these little aches and troubles are a beginning issue – getting used to the mesh between new equipment and software, and working out the kinks and rituals necessary to make a meeting go smoothly. From there, every call will be seamless with the right conferencing solution and video conference equipment for IT from reputable providers like BlueJeans Network.
Are you using dedicated video conferencing hardware?
If you’re using a dedicated video conferencing system, then chances are you’re also using a TV or smart monitor. These come with several channels – make sure you’re on the right one, and then check your AV/HDMI cable to make sure it’s fitting snuggly.
If you were able to see a dialing screen or menu, then there’s no issue between the connection of your TV and your system. Rather, your issue is related to your wireless connectivity. Check your internet connection, and turn off or manage your firewall if it’s blocking your signal or that of your calling counterparts.
Finally, it may just be a matter of turning a screen off and on again, with a dozen seconds or so of rest to let all the power drain out.
For audio, the problems can be rather simple and alternatively complicated. If you can’t hear anything, make sure your system’s and speaker/screen’s volume control is turned up. If it’s not a volume issue on either side, then check to see if your microphone is properly connected and not muted.
Are you using a computer?
If you’re making your calls through video conferencing software, then you may not have a need for a dedicated video conference system. In that case, the same problems prevail – calls can fail, video may freeze or stop working, and your audio may be funky. Fixing these issues requires you to simply go through a few steps to figure out what to do – and you start by checking all your connections.
Is your monitor properly connected? Is your microphone connected? Is your LAN cable secure? Once these questions have all be affirmed, it’s time for phase 2: checking other programs. Try and opening a camera app with your computer, and a voice recording application. Then, move on to a browser and go through a few websites (not Google) and try and see whether your Internet connection is troubling you.
If you have no problem doing all these things, then there may be something blocking your call on the other side (a firewall). If you can’t see anything on your monitor, the monitor may be dead – if it turns on but doesn’t connect, then it may be a port issue. Alternatively, it may all be in the video card – in that case, step one and two is to check your drivers as per Playtool.
At some point, equipment simply breaks. Whether it’s a video card or a monitor, you’ll have to make sure to regularly check your PC components and replace them when they break.