Tracking the Performance of Online Meeting Tools

Tools for online collaboration, and online meetings in particular, have begun to replace face to face contact since the global COVID-19 emergency. A prerequisite for smooth and reliable video conferencing is sufficient bandwidth and low network latency. How does this matter when everybody is working from home and IT teams have no control over the environment of individual employees?

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The fact is, not everybody is working from home. There are industries where on-site is the only option, such as hospitals. For them, the need for reliable network bandwidth and performance is now more important than before. Video conferencing tools are replacing traditional meetings with suppliers and government authorities.

Flowmon has responded to the current need to track the performance of video conferencing tools by creating new configuration templates for the most common platforms in use today - Cisco Webex and Zoom. Both configuration templates will create a bandwidth utilization and performance metrics dashboard for the selected platforms for you. The network traffic is filtered and aggregated to report on the overall usage as well as performance metrics that reflect the experience of individual clients using the platforms. In addition to bit/s consumed by the service, you can understand network delay (RTT = round trip time) and application delay (SRT = server response time) and distinguish network/connectivity issues from application-related issues. Retransmissions help to understand the number of lost packets and assess the potential impact on the quality of the video conference.

Figure 1: A Cisco Webex call displayed on the dashboard with related performance metrics and breakdown to the individual client devices.

According to the configuration template you choose, Flowmon will configure a profile on your behalf, which reliably filters only the network traffic that corresponds to the selected platform. On top of that, report chapters are automatically created to summarize the traffic of each client using those platforms and display their bandwidth utilization and network performance metrics. Chapters are then compiled into a report instantly available for a selected time frame and placed on a new dashboard tab created for the corresponding platform. No manual configuration is needed.

Figure 2: Configuration templates available in the category of “Video-conferencing apps”.

Configuration templates for Cisco Webex and Zoom are ready to be used in Flowmon 11.0 and are available via our update service. And, by the way, we have come to recognize that the terms “configuration” and “templates” are somewhat overloaded, so in the upcoming release we are going to change the name of this feature to “presets”.