Low Bandwidth Options for Zoom

In this guide you will learn some helpful tips for reducing your bandwidth while using Zoom.

Leave video off when you don't need it

For meetings where seeing each other isn't that important, turning your camera off is the easiest way to reduce the amount of data going in and out of your computer. You can adjust your settings, so you always join meetings with your camera off, and choose to have attendees' cameras off for meetings you set up.

Turn off HD video

Providing video in HD resolution requires significantly more data, so consider turning it off when the quality of the image you're sending isn't critical.

To turn off HD in your Zoom client:

  1. In your desktop Zoom client, click Settings (the gear icon).
  2. Click Video in the left-hand menu.
  3. In the My Video section, uncheck the box beside Enable HD if it is checked.
When you do screen share, only share as long as absolutely necessary

Be sure to stop screen sharing when you no longer need to show your screen. Also, request that other users turn off their screen sharing when they are done with their example.

For details about turning screen sharing on and off, see Share Your Screen on the Zoom website.

Use online collaborative documents rather than screen sharing

Certain services, like Box Notes, Office Online Documents, and Google Apps let multiple people open and edit the file at once. These services can use less data than streaming video, while still allowing everyone to see changes as they happen or close to it.

Mute your audio when not speaking

While it doesn't use as much bandwidth as your video, you can also reduce your bandwidth somewhat by muting your audio when you're not speaking. Use the Mute button in the bottom left corner of the Zoom screen to toggle your audio off and on.

You might also consider using a phone call to connect to Zoom meeting audio instead of using computer audio within the meeting. The phone numbers to connect to a Zoom session are usually included in the invitation you receive from the host under the heading "Dial by your location."

Improving your Zoom performance overall

1. Limit high-bandwidth activities by others at your location

Other people using the Internet from your remote location will affect the bandwidth available to your Zoom session. Avoid having others stream video or music, play online games, or upload and download large files, as all of these activities can noticeably impact your Zoom performance.

2. Avoid running other data-intensive applications during Zoom sessions

Improve your overall Zoom client performance by not running other applications during meetings that might also be using a large share of your bandwidth. Examples of data-intensive programs might include streaming video or music sites, or other websites with dynamic content. You can always check your network usage using Activity Monitor on the Mac or Task Manager in Windows to pinpoint which programs are data hogs.

Reduce screen sharing frames-per-second

Reducing the maximum frames-per-second of screen sharing can prevent Zoom from causing 100% CPU load and help prevent slowdown of your computer.

To do this:

1. Go to Zoom's settings by clicking the settings icon in the top right

2. Go to the Share Screen tab

3. In the Share Screen tab, click advanced settings at the bottom.

4. In the advanced section set the "Limit your screen share to X frames-per-second" to whichever number you wish. It is suggested you keep this at 4, as this is enough to show demos or do pair programming while being low enough to not cause strain on your CPU. If you are trying to show a video you might want this higher.

From the Zoom home screen, click the grey cog in the top right.
Navigate to the "Share Screen" tab on the left and click on the "Advanced" option on the bottom.
From the "Advanced" page, check "Limit your screen share to X frames-per-second, and click the dropdown menu to select how many frames-per-second you wish to limit your screen share to.

Adapted from Cornell University