With the surge in virtual events and live stream broadcasts, we often receive questions about how to ensure event attendees and viewers are able to optimize their viewing experience.
We have pulled together our top-10 best practices to help you get the most out of your virtual events and avoid those frustrating connection issues.
#1 - Know your internet speed
The reality is that viewing a live stream broadcast requires a high speed internet connection to ensure a seamless experience. The general rule of thumb is that you need a download speed of at least 10mbps to view a standard live stream at 720p without buffering.
If you don't know your internet speed, you can test it quickly using a service like the below:
You are likely to experience at least some buffering with speeds lower than this, which can become frustrating during long events. If you are unable to upgrade your internet speed with your provider, have a look at the below tips to get the most out of what you have.
#2 - Use an ethernet cord
The single biggest thing you can do to improve performance in your internet connection (aside from calling your provider to see if higher speeds are available in your neighbourhood) is to plug into your router directly with an ethernet cord. These are readily available on amazon or at any electronics store for about $20 and are the best investment you can make if you are going to be working online or participating in virtual events.
You can even get really really really long cords, so don't let the distance to your router stop you from getting yourself connected!
#3 - Check your browser
We always recommend downloading and using Google Chrome as your default browser. Any web based applications are typically optimized for Chrome but many devices default to either Internet Explorer or Safari, which are not always compatible with all functionality. If you ever experience an issue with blank pages or content that never loads, please try visiting the same site using Chrome.
#4 - Use a computer vs. mobile device
Computers tend to have more processing power than mobile devices and many virtual event platforms are optimized for a larger screen. We recommend always starting out with a desktop or laptop computer and then trying tablets or mobile devices if you are experiencing issues with your device.
#5 - Close all other applications
This makes a huge difference in overall performance. Some of us are guilty of having many browser tabs and application tabs open at once and that can be very taxing on a computer. If you are experiencing loading or buffering issues, try closing out of everything else on your computer and you should see some improvement.
#6 - Get off of the VPN
In some cases, your corporate VPN can block certain platforms. If you are experiencing blank pages or access errors, try exiting your VPN and trying again.
#7 - Ask (nicely) if other people on the network can limit use
Other users on your network can eat up much needed bandwidth, especially if you are unable to plug into ethernet or if you have low internet speeds. Asking others to refrain from streaming or downloading large files during your virtual event will help to enhance your experience.
#8 - Refresh
Refresh your browser if you experience buffering or freezing video. You may have to do this a few times throughout the event if your internet speeds are low, but sometimes that is enough to keep you going.
#9 - Restart
Sometimes restarting your device fixes everything! We always recommend a reboot before you join a virtual event. You may have applications and tasks running in the background that you don't even see. Computers need a reboot, so if it has been a while, give that a shot!
#10 - Watch the Replay
Most event organizers will provide access to a replay following the event. If you have a very poor internet connection and are getting frustrated, just wait for the replay. These are typically easier to watch and can be made available in lower quality which can make them accessible to those with very poor internet connections.
The single best thing that you can do is try to avoid frustration. This is a new and challenging world for everyone and technology can be on your side one day and not the next! Remember that everyone is doing their best and we all need to be patient with each other and with our internet connections.
We hope these tips help you to get the most out of your virtual events!