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ISP Issues - Do You Need To Change To Do Videoconferencing?

Aug 18, 2007
Video conferencing enables corporate entities as well as individual citizens to interact with one another across the country and even across the globe simply and easily from the convenience of the corporate boardroom or the living room.

Business meetings may be held at any time, even scheduled without little or no advanced notice, whereas the old method of business travel required copious preparation and much advanced notice and planning.

Additionally, families and individuals may now conference in their pajamas wearing bunny slippers. Gone are the days when you needed to dress up and trek over to the in-laws. Now you can simply dial up, and talk, reminisce, spend some time, or simply allow the kids to say hi to grandma and grandpa.

Of course, all this relies on the actual video conferencing software. Most of this software will run on any PC, assuming it is running a compatible operating system, such as Windows 95, 95, 2000 or the ME or XP editions. In addition to the foregoing, your computer will need to have a Pentium processor that runs at 90 MHz and has about 16 MB of RAM. Most new machines should be able to fulfill these requirements easily.

It gets a bit trickier when it comes to the audio capabilities; if you are not certain you probably will want to purchase a SoundBlaster 16 compatible sound card. Before you buy, of course, be sure to read your computers documentation to see if this is already a part of your system setup. Your video input device needs to be compatible with Video for Windows, and if you are thinking of making streaming moves or mp3 files a portion of your video conferencing experience, be sure to run QuickTime as well.

If your system is thusly equipped, you would think you are in business and ready to do some video conferencing, right? Wrong! As a matter of fact, your video still could be grainy and the motions jerky, your audio reminiscent of Donald Duck, and the connection could falter at the drop of a hat. The problem that you may now be facing is ISP related.

ISP is the acronym for Internet Service Provider. Such a provider permits individuals and businesses access to Internet. Many ISPs are connected to telephone companies, but more and more cable companies and even satellite service providers are now getting in on the action. Because of the various technologies involved, the service that these providers offer also varies greatly.

Probably the oldest service that is still in operation is the dialup. Dialup access is readily available almost everywhere there is a telephone line but the downside of this inexpensive service is the fact that it is a rather slow method of connection.

Requiring a modem and a telephone line to contact the Internet Service Provider, this then routes the user to the World Wide Web. The connection speed is stated as being 56 k bit per second, but in reality it is usually more at the 32 k bit/s level. Since there is a bit of a lag, dialup users are often disconnected from gaming sites. It is this latency; the time difference between the given command and its execution, that most bothers users who attempt video conferencing on a dialup connection.

Since there is a good chance that the network will disconnect the user, reconnections have caused more than one would-be videoconference participant to pull out her or his hair in utter frustration.

In addition to the foregoing, because of the slow data transfer, the video and audio may not be in sync, and sometimes the screen may even go black when one component of the video conferencing experience is temporarily lost. In order to avoid this, it makes sense to invest in the kind of ISP technology that will permit for the great bandwidth needed to facilitate the data transfers that come with successful video conferencing. For many, this may mean a simple upgrade to broadband Internet access, which can be done via a cable or DSL service.

As you can see, your Internet Service Provider may make or break your video conferencing experience. Why not go ahead and invest in a reliable, speedy connection that will allow you to have great data transfer ability?

You are already investing in the hardware aspects of your system by the purchase of peripherals and you are also spending some money on your software set-up. In light of the foregoing, skimping on your Internet connection is not a wise choice.
About the Author
For several years now, Jason has been reviewing hundreds of online products and services. Many consider his reviews to be very insightful and reliable. Visit his website 1VideoConference.com
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