3 Factors That Affect Webcasting and Your Hybrid Even
I. Bandwidth We are not concerned here about download speed. What we are concerned about is upload speed. When planning a webcast a critical factor is your upload bandwidth. If you’re sharing the connection with others, all you get is your share at that time. You can ask the venue to let you (or better yet, your webcasting folks) speak with IT and have them give you a dedicated connection. This means an assigned IP address and a portion of the bandwidth. Your webcast equipment should also be connected with an Ethernet connection. You don’t want to worry about possible signal interference over a wireless network.
II. Upload Speed Talking about upload speed can be confusing, but essentially, if your webcasting partner knows that you will need 1.5Mb upload, twice that amount of bandwidth should be requested: 3Mb, as there could be spikes of upload bitrate during a broadcast, (e.g. lots of sudden movement on the screen, or picture-in-picture shots) and we don’t want the broadcast to fall apart.
III. Shared and Dedicated Service. Basically these are the two types of broadband Internet access at home, in your office or in a venue.
1. Shared Internet service works like this: You sign up for what you are told, for example,10 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload. But if you look carefully at the supplier’s or venue’s disclosure, they say that you get “up to 10 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload.” Be careful, as “up to “ means a maximum, not a minimum or even an average value. In other words, 10 Mbps is the fastest line speed you can ever expect to see and don’t count on seeing it at any particular time. If your meeting is being broadcast in, say, a large company office, you could be sharing bandwidth with all the guys sitting in their cubicles checking their Ebay accounts or sending important massive documents to business colleagues. If it’s in the auditorium or another public area, guest wi-fi users could be on the same network watching Youtube or uploading photos. These are things that take up a lot of bandwidth and will negatively affect your webcast transmission. Why is this the case? It’s the way that the shared Internet connection is organized. The venue figures that not everyone will be online simultaneously. Even those who are at their computers aren’t likely to be all downloading or uploading huge files at the same time. So they sell that 10 Mbps service to 10, 25 or even 100 different users. If most people are composing email or reading web pages, you’ll have the lion’s share of the bandwidth to yourself. But as soon as one or more users start downloading, that 10 Mbps is divvied up to support as many users who want to use bandwidth at that time. You can see, then, that the amount of shared bandwidth you have available can vary greatly and will change from minute to minute and impact your ability to stream your meeting.
2. Dedicated Internet Connection This is of prime importance. The venue must give you an assigned IP Address. This means that it is only for you and your webcast. This is the key. IT folks may call this a Static IP Address, but it means the same. If it is not dedicated and someone else shares the IP address and its bandwidth, you will have problems streaming your event. You wouldn’t want your broadcast to go off line or freeze. Even worse, the network could dynamically assign a new user just logging into your IP Address, and you get kicked off the internet entirely.
If a venue will offer only wi-fi or shared access, you may be forced into an exotic solution such as HD over 3G/4G cellphone networks (pricy), to forego webcasting your event, or to contract a different venue. Basically, though, part of your initial planning should include the webcast and its needs so you are able to make all the right decisions. Certainly there are webcasts planned as an afterthought, but a planning professional knows that carefully planning logistics is essential.
If you would like more information or clarification please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “3 Factors” or 212-534-3052. We can also webcast your conference or event for you.