This article was first publish in 2016 and has been updated for freshness.
If you’ve ever endured a poor quality video call on a free service where the picture is lagging the audio is out of sync, or the call just drops due to a bad connection you will understand the frustration of a poor quality video call.
But whilst it might be extremely annoying, it's not always so vital it’s a social call with friends or family abroad. But this kind of unreliabe performance is not quite not so ideal for trying to running a business. Time wasted in a video meeting simply trying to reconnect, or asking someone to repeat themselves for the third time is not such a professional look.
Coverage in a professional video meeting is particularly important then because:
- It’s essential for efficiency and productivity that the picture and audio performance are both high quality and reliable, for all participants wherever they’re calling from
- The data from video calls is especially sensitive to network disruptions, so when network conditions are suboptimal the results will be lag, jitter and poor video hindering your collaboration efforts
- As business video use becomes more widespread users want to know they will get great performance wherever they are
So, how can you improve your coverage?Often the problem with these consumer video platforms is that they rely only on the public internet to deliver your calls. This means that your video data is competing with all the other traffic on the network.
Cloud video addresses the problem of poor coverage by offering a dedicated gloabal network just for video users. And whilst cloud video doesn’t have cell towers you can see providing network coverage, we can understand coverage for cloud video works working in a similar way:
- Instead of cell towers, cloud video networks rely on a series of data centers, or PoPs (points of presence) connected to one another around the world
- Just as if you have more cell phone towers in a network it will offer better overall coverage, the more PoPs there are, the better coverage a cloud video network can offer
And it’s not just the number of PoPs that matter. The physical locations of those PoPs can be important if you’re planning on calling specific places regularly. For example, if you’re planning on regular video calls and meetings with your office in China then it’s important to note that most services don’t have PoPs located inside China. The closer your nearest PoP the more effective your performance will be.
Cloud video addresses the problem of poor coverage by offering a dedicated gloabal network just for video users
How you connect to the network matters too
Another important difference between cloud video services is how you connect to the PoPs. Every service should connect your “local” PoP, the one at the closest location to you. With smart roaming, you should always be connect to your nearest PoPs where you are right now.
But many services lack this feature and once registered to your “home” PoP, will always connect you there. So for instance if you usually work from London but are traveling to LA on business, calls whilst you’re out there will be rerouted back to London first.
Without smart roaming if you need to move dedicated videoconferencing hardware, say to anohter regional office, you'll have to re-register your devices on the service to connect them to the new local PoP.
Smart roaming also means that if there is a technical issue with your local PoP, you will automatically connect to the next close PoP to maintain your quality of service.
Better Coverage for all
The best thing about cloud video is that it doesn’t just provide better coverage for your own company network, but provides improved performance for your guest users as well. A cloud-based solution provides great flexibility for allowing users to join a video meeting in any number of ways and from any device to offer high quality videoconferencing where it’s needed, when it’s needed.