Are you experiencing regular dropouts in audio or video playback on your PC or mobile device when viewing live webinars? Is the webinar's video/audio "cutting in and out" whilst you attempt to view a live webinar? Does the webinar playback feel "choppy"?
If the above is representative of your live webinar experience then you are highly likely to be experiencing a common media playback issue known as "Buffering".
Let's take a look at the common causes of buffering:
- Insufficient bandwidth available within your viewing (office/home) environment
Buffering issues are usually symptomatic of a lack of local bandwidth availability. Your office/home network environment may allow you to successfully view live webinars (without issue) for the majority of the working day but could be susceptible to peaks of heavy demand; such as during the lunch period when other users in your office could be consuming high-bandwidth content such as HD videos.
You may discover that a single user viewing a live webinar results in a successful, buffering-free viewing experience. However, if you begin to factor in additional viewers within your office, then bandwidth requirements can quickly escalate beyond the capabilities of your network. Consumption of live webinars is ideally suited to a one-to-many distribution of users, who are viewing from diverse geographic locations i.e multiple viewers aren't occupying the same physical/network environment. Your live webinar viewing experience is dependent upon the availability of sufficient home/office bandwidth.
- Poor quality connection to your wi-fi network
If you are not using a wired connection, and rely on wireless connectivity to access live webinars, then the cause of your buffering could be due to a weak wifi signal, or an indication of a problem with the wifi router that you connect to.
- Your office employs a proxy/application layer firewall which sits between your computer and the public internet
When your IT department utilizes a number of technology layers between yourself and the public internet, you could find that your viewing experience is affected/limited as part of an internal IT policy. Your IT department will be able to offer advice on whether this is something that you need to be aware of and may be able to offer a resolution.
Fortunately, there are a number of approaches that can be taken to help alleviate buffering issues:
- Try switching to a different internet connection/network
You can view webinars on your mobile device using a 3G/4G connection. You may also find that your home network provides a better viewing environment than a busy, high demand, office network. Perhaps you can tether your computer to your mobile phone to avoid using your office network.
- Ascertain how many of your colleagues intend to watch an upcoming live webinar and arrange a meeting room
If you and your co-workers view together on a single computer (with a projector/large display), this will significantly reduce the bandwidth requirement within your office environment.
- View the on-demand recording
If viewing live webinars is beyond the bandwidth requirements of your local network then you will still be able to view the webinar on-demand at your convenience. On-demand webinars are delivered via HTTP and progressively download to your computer. Often, users experiencing live buffering issues will not have a problem viewing the on-demand recording.