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Collaborate monitors and adjusts to your connection speed. This means you can take part in sessions even when your connection is slow or your network is poor. 

For sessions where bandwidth is a concern, we recommend that no attendees share their webcam video unless required for the instruction. We also recommend that the moderator or presenter use file sharing and whiteboard for content instead of application sharing. Use application sharing when it is required for the instruction. With no video and application sharing, a user with 128kbps connection will be able to participate fully in the session.

Instructors should disable video sharing for participants and rely more on file sharing than application sharing. Please also keep in mind that bandwidth is not only a concern regarding the network. Other factors, such as latency, jitter, and packet loss can all affect the quality of the session.

Connection status

You can check the connection status for everyone in the session, including yourself.

  1. Access the Attendees panel. 
  2. Look for the connection status indicator on the right side of the attendee's name. 
  3. Move your mouse pointer over it.

From the details that appears you can tell if the connection is great, okay, or poor. If your connection is poor, a connection status indicator appears over your profile picture. Move your pointer over it for the connection details. 

An attendee's network connection is either excellent, good, fair, or poor.

  • Excellent: Attendee can share, see, and hear everything with no issues.
  • Good: Attendee can share, see, and hear everything with little to no issues.
  • Fair: Attendee may experience some changes in their experience.
  • Poor: Attendee may have difficulty hearing, seeing, or sharing anything.

This information is always updating. Collaborate adjusts your experience based on your current connection.


Up & DownBitrateLoss (Audio)Delay

The Up and Down shows the attendee’s ability to upload and download information at that time. This includes their ability to share or see audio, video, and content.

If Up is poor, the attendee may have difficulty sharing their video. 

If Down is good, the attendee should have no trouble seeing and hearing everything.

Up data only appears when the attendee is sharing something.

Bitrate is a measure of how much audio and video data is being delivered. Generally, the higher the number, the better the quality. However, the content being shared has an impact on this number as well. For example, if you are only sharing audio, this number will be low simply because audio does not have a very high bitrate. 

Fortunately, there is no need to figure out from these numbers what an attendee might be experiencing. Collaborate does the math for you. The connection status indicator tells you what an attendee’s experience is most likely to be (excellent, good, fair or poor).

As audio and video streams over the network, some information may be lost. Video loss generally isn’t important, but audio loss is. The Loss (Audio) row indicates the percentage of audio data lost on the up and down link. These are the thresholds Collaborate uses to determine the attendee’s experience:

  • 10% and lower: Good or Excellent. Attendees should have no trouble hearing anything.  
  • 10% to 20%: Fair. Attendees might have some trouble hearing. But even at this level of loss, audio is often very good. 
  • 20% or higher: Poor. Attendees will likely notice audio dropping out, or sounding robotic periodically.

Blackboard’s audio processing algorithms can often mitigate even very high rates of data loss. Losing 20% to 30% of audio data can still result in usable audio if the data is lost evenly over time. If someone’s Loss is at those levels, communication may still be possible, but it is not guaranteed.

The Delay value indicates how long it is taking for audio data from the attendee’s machine to reach the Blackboard servers.

Attendees that have particularly high delays of 1 or more seconds may not appear to be responding in a conversational way. Please allow time for them to respond before assuming they won’t.

Dynamic adjustments

Collaborate dynamically adjusts to sending and receiving connection bandwidth changes in the quality of your internet connection. As your connection improves or degrades, the bandwidth use for video is adjusted up and down. Some situations may require additional adjustment. When the experience changes, you are notified and told why.

The primary factors in bandwidth consumption for Collaborate Ultra are sharing webcam videos and sharing applications.

  • Webcam video bandwidth uses ranges from 360kbps down to 20kbps per camera, up to 4 cameras
  • Audio always uses 48kbps
  • Ability to receive application sharing and audio as low as 88kbps
  • Application sharing bandwidth uses ranges from 500kbps down to 70kbps
  • Can show 4 cameras with audio as low as 128kbps and with a max of 1488kbps.

A small amount of overhead is also required for chat, and so on. If network conditions falter and can't sustain the minimum bandwidth needed, we'll turn off cameras and application sharing. For 1 camera and audio the trigger will be 68 kbps and for application sharing and audio 118 kbps.

When network conditions improve, the camera and application sharing turn back on automatically.

Experience changes for download conditions

When your network connection can't handle downloads the video and application sharing experience changes.

Optimal bandwidthReduced bandwidthWhy it changes
Video for one active speaker is showing. Audio is on for all attendees.The active speaker's video is replaced with their profile picture.

There is no change in the audio.

The connection can't handle the video download.
Video for one active speaker is showing while an application is being shared. Audio is on for all attendees.The active speaker's video is replaced with their profile picture.

There is no change in the audio and application sharing.

The connection can't handle the video and application sharing downloads.
The profile picture for one active speaker is showing while an application is being shared. Audio is on for all attendees.There is no change in the active speaker profile picture and audio.

If there is enough bandwidth, application sharing sends in reduced quality. A broken sharing badge appears in this case. If there isn't enough bandwidth, application sharing stops.

The connection can't handle the application sharing download.
Video for multiple speakers are showing. Audio is on for all attendees.Video shows for only the active speaker.

There is no change in the audio.

The connection can't handle multiple video downloads.

Experience changes for upload conditions

When your network connection can't handle uploads the video and application sharing experience changes.

Optimal bandwidthReduced bandwidthWhy it changes
A user is sharing high quality video. This can be their camera video or video content that is shared.The video switches to a lower quality video stream.The connection can't handle uploading high quality video.
A user is sharing high quality video. This can be their camera video or video content that is shared.The camera is disabled and video is no longer sent.

Audio is still being sent.

Others will see this attendee's profile picture instead.

The connection can't handle uploading video.
A moderator with disabled video is sharing an application.Audio can still be sent. If there is enough bandwidth, application sharing shows in reduced quality. If there isn't enough bandwidth, you can no longer see application sharing.The connection can't handle application sharing uploads.

Joining and reconnecting

Collaborate also tells you when attendees are in the process of joining or reconnecting to the session.

  • If an attendee is still joining you see Joining... with their name. In the Attendee panel their avatar is circled in purple and then green. After they have joined the avatar appears as normal.
  • If an attendee is reconnecting you see Reconnecting... with their name. In the Attendee panel their avatar is circled in red. After they have reconnected the avatar appears as normal.
  • If you are reconnecting your status changes to indicate you are reconnecting and your main tools, such as audio and video, are disabled.

You can turn on visual and audio notifications to let you know when someone is joining or reconnecting. Go to My Settings and select Notification Settings. Choose the notification you want.

If bandwidth is a concern:

For sessions where bandwidth is a concern, we recommend that no attendees share their webcam video unless required for the instruction. We also recommend that the moderator or presenter use file sharing and whiteboard for content instead of application sharing. Use application sharing when it is required for the instruction. With no video and application sharing, a user with 128kbps connection will be able to participate fully in the session.

Instructors should disable video sharing for participants and rely more on file sharing than application sharing. Please also keep in mind that bandwidth is not only a concern regarding the network. Other factors, such as latency, jitter, and packet loss can all affect the quality of the session.



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