Best broadband plans for Video Conferencing

Online Zoom meeting from home
Monday, 24 August 2020

The Commerce Commission’s latest Measuring Broadband New Zealand report, from independent testing partner SamKnows, looked at broadband video conferencing performance for free accounts for the first time.

Before 2019, the importance of good videoconferencing performance may not have been high on your list when choosing a new broadband plan. But as 2020 has developed in unprecedented and unexpected ways, videoconferencing is increasingly vital as we work and learn from home.

The latest Measuring Broadband Report measure the performance of Google Meet, Microsoft Team, Skype and Zoom by looking at latency. The report compared ADSL, VDSL, Fixed Wireless, Fibre 100 and Fibre Max.

What is Latency?

Latency refers to the reaction speed of your network connection. It is measured as the time it takes to send data and receive a reply, measured in milliseconds (ms). The lower the number the better.

Poor latency speeds cause noticeable delays between video and audio – those awkward pauses between you speaking and the other person hearing your voice. Latency is also an important metric for serious online gamers, as issues with latency can delay response times and mean the difference between winning and losing.

How does copper broadband, fibre and fixed wireless compare for Video Conferencing?

"The tests show fibre is best at supporting uninterrupted video calling via increasingly popular platforms including Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom. Meanwhile, copper and fixed wireless plans were more likely to experience delays during a call," says Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson.

"COVID-19 has highlighted how important having good home internet is for work and keeping in touch with family and friends. The more volunteers we have, the more detailed we can make our reports and the more we can do to lift internet performance for all New Zealanders."

The report found that:

  • The average latency to Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom servers is within a usable range for all plans.
  • ADSL, VDSL, and Fixed Wireless are more likely than Fibre to experience delays during a call,  with higher average latencies across the board,.
  • Zoom free services leverage data centres in the United States, which results in an average latency approximately a tenth of a second higher, compared to the paid version of Zoom which makes use of Zoom’s global data centres, including Australia. The impact of the additional network latency in routing via the USA is imperceptible to most end-users and in rare occasions it may impact end user experience. It should be noted that network latency is just one factor that affects end user experience. For example, the use and efficiency of video compression will also have an impact on user experience.

Top Tips to Improve Video Conferencing Performance in NZ

  1. Quick fix: Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking, so you’re not using internet bandwidth to transmit background noise (and it’s good meeting etiquette anyway!)
  2. Quick fix: disable your webcam video when you don’t need it. If appropriate, try disabling your video to save on internet bandwidth.
  3. Quick fix: try a different platform. If you are using the free version of Zoom and experience delays, try moving your video meeting to the free version of Google Meet, Microsoft team or Skype.
  4. Quick fix: close un-needed apps and programmes running in the background to free up memory.
  5. Permanent fix: upgrade to the paid version. Try upgrading to the paid version of the video conferencing software you use. If you regularly use video conferencing for your business it may be worth the investment
  6. Permanent fix: get the best internet connection you can. Check your broadband speed and look at upgrading to a faster broadband connection.

Check Broadband Speed

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Terms and conditions

  • Offer is available to new customers only.
  • A minimum 12-month contract applies. Early Termination fee of $250 applies.
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  • Offer will revert to standard prices as advertised on Slingshot.co.nz after 12 months.
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Offer available for a limited time to new customers on a 12 month fixed Unlimited Broadband Plan only. Price includes $10/m Pay Monthly discount. Plan discount: Standard plan charge after 12 months. $15 rental modem shipping fee applies. Early exit fees apply if you end your plan within 12 months. Non-standard installation fees apply. Prime Video: Valid for 6 months after the date of activation. Offer subject to change. Cancel anytime. Amazon.com, Inc. and its affiliates are not sponsors of this promotion. Must activate within 30 days of receiving the activation link email. Prime Video is $8/month after the promotion period. Prime Video and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. 2degrees reserves the right to cancel or amend this offer at any time. Broadband and Promotion T&Cs apply. See 2degrees.nz for full T&Cs.

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Broadband: 
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$10 Per Month For life of plan

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