Troubleshooting Video Quality Issues

If you are experiencing poor video quality during a video call, use this article to diagnose the problem and find the best troubleshooting steps to solve them.

 

Important: Regardless of your conclusion and whether or not you are able to resolve the problem on your own, please report any instances of poor video quality to Highfive Support by clicking here or emailing help@highfive.com with a photo/video/screenshot and time of the problem. Not only can we help you verify your results, this information is valuable to our team and can help drive future improvements to the service.

 

 

In general, video quality issues are caused by one of the following:

 

  1. Network connection issues: Highfive will always attempt to compensate and adapt to network conditions; however, if a connection is too poor or inconsistent, noticeable degradation in video quality will occur. 
  2. Device issues: These can vary, as there are a myriad of devices and specifications available out there that you can use with Highfive. 

 

Step 1: Characterization

 

Being able to describe the type of video quality issue(s) you're encountering will make it easier to report the issue to your IT team or Highfive. Some examples are below:

  • Pixelation: Regions of a video feed, typically in areas of movement, appear blocky.
  • Freezing: Video stops, while audio may continue. The duration of the freeze can vary.
  • Blurry: Can be difficult to tell apart from pixelation in some cases, but looks as if the video feed is smudged, either in all or some regions.
  • Grainy: Small specks are visible either throughout or in regions of a video feed.
  • Out-of-sync with audio (lag): Video does not match up with audio. 

 

Step 2: Identify the source and impact

 

If you can determine which participant(s) is seeing poor video quality during a call, it will become easier to narrow down who and what's causing the problem. Here are some questions you can ask yourself, coupled with responses to help you arrive at a conclusion:

 

  1. Who is seeing the poor video quality?
    • Just me: On a multi-way call, if only I am experiencing issues, the problem is likely on my end, either with my connection or with the device I am using. On a 1:1 call, it can be harder to tell and the problem could be on my end or the other participant's.
    • A specific user: On a multi-way call, if only one other person is experiencing issues, the problem is likely on their end, either with their connection or the device they are using. On a 1:1 call, it can be harder to tell and the problem could be on my end or the other participant's.
    • Everyone, including me: The problem is likely on the end of the person who is sending the poor quality to everyone else, either with their connection or the device they are using.
  2. How often does the issue occur?
    • Not often, every once in a while: The problem was likely caused by temporary connection issue that resolved itself. Attempts at recreating the problem may not reveal any issues and troubleshooting will not create a high impact on improving your Highfive experience.
    • Very often, on every single call: There is a consistent problem with a sufficient number of data points that can be investigated further. Troubleshooting has the capacity to create a high impact on improving your Highfive experience.

 

Step 3: Troubleshooting

 

Once you have determined which endpoint(s) is the source of the issue and gauged it's impact, it's time to begin troubleshooting. 

  

  1. Is Highfive currently having any issues?
    • You can quickly check Highfive's status page to see if there are any problems that can result in video quality issues - http://status.highfive.com/
      • Fix: Highfive will work to resolve any problems displayed.
  2. Does my network and device meet Highfive's recommendations?
    • Highfive's recommendations/requirements can be found here
    • A connection that does not meet our recommendations can result in degraded video quality.
      • Fix: Improve or change the network connection that you are on. Highfive will continue to work on improving quality, even when network conditions are not ideal.
    • A device that does not meet our recommendations may not be able to process high quality video, resulting in degraded video quality.
      • Fix: Use an alternate device that meets our recommendations for your Highfive video calls.
  3. Is this a Wi-Fi performance issue?
    • As a simple first troubleshooting step, try disabling and re-enabling the Wi-Fi feature on your device. If your location has multiple wireless access points, this often allows your device to connect to the closest one, which provides the best signal strength.
    • Computer: You can test for Wi-Fi issues by hardwiring your computer into the network and disabling it's Wi-Fi feature. Get on a Highfive video call and compare the quality on your wired connection with what you observed on Wi-Fi. If the result is the same, move on to step 4.
      • Fix: If there is a noticeable improvement while on a wired connection, your problem is poor Wi-Fi signal strength and you can report the issue to your IT team or network administrator so they can investigate further. 
    • Mobile: Try connecting to a different wireless network or use 4G/LTE if it is available to you (this will use data, so check with your mobile service provider for limitations and potential charges). Get on a Highfive video call and compare the quality with what you previously observed.
      • Fix: If there is a noticeable improvement in quality, the issue is likely related to Wi-Fi signal strength and you can report the issue to your IT team or network administrator so they can investigate further.
  4. Is this a network-specific issue?
    • If your colleagues or other devices also experience video quality issues while they are connected to the same network as you, this is usually an indication that the problem is network-specific. 
    • A common test to verify this is to connect your device to a completely different network, such as your home network, to compare quality between the two.
      • Fix: If Highfive performs better on a different network, you can use it as a temporary workaround. Long term, improve the problematic connection by reporting the problem and your results to your IT team or network administrator for further investigation. The Highfive Support team can partner with them to provide any technical information they need to help improve your experience.
        • Note: In some cases, a network may have enough bandwidth for Highfive, but network firewall policies or certain configurations can bottleneck Highfive traffic and degrade video quality. Sharing these network optimization steps with your IT team or network administrator can help ensure that Highfive traffic is flowing optimally.
  5. Is this a device issue?
    • As technology improves, hardware (physical) problems are usually the least common type of root cause and can be easily tested.
    • Computers/Mobile devices: You can test and see if a webcam or integrated camera problem is the root cause on the poor video quality sender's side by using it with other services. Windows users often have integrated camera software installed on their PCs, macOS users have the Photo Booth app, and mobile device users can utilize their Camera app. 
      • If the issue is seen in another app, this device is affected by a hardware issue.
        • Fix: This needs to be reported to your IT team or desktop administrator so they can determine what the next best steps are.
      • If the issue is only seen in Highfive, you are affected by a Highfive product bug.
        • Fix: Report the problem to Highfive Support at help@highfive.com.
    • Highfive device: Please report any video issues you experience on a Highfive device to Highfive Support at help@highfive.com. Include the time of the issue and photo or video of the problem for a quicker diagnosis.
      • If one is available, temporarily swapping the Highfive device with another one will allow you to determine if the problem is specific to the hardware or conference room.

 


 If you have questions about any of the steps above, contact Highfive Support at help@highfive.com.

 

Brian Huynh -

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