Educational Technology User GuidesZoomLearning to Use ZoomHow can I improve my Zoom network connection?

How can I improve my Zoom network connection?

When using Zoom you may get an error message that your Zoom connection is slow or unstable, or you may notice that the Zoom audio or video are choppy, or freeze up at times.

These issues can be caused by problems with your internet connection (bandwidth), or they may be caused by slow processing on your computer (CPU activity).  

It's also worth noting that different users' network connectivity contributes to everyone's experience in a Zoom meeting, so you may have to investigate if the source of the issue is with your equipment.

Here are a few ways to troubleshoot and improve Zoom's performance —

Check the speed of your network connection

If you're working from home or on the road your connection maybe slow because of the service being offered by the internet service provider.

To check the connection speed (measured in megabits per second or Mbps), open a web browser, visit this site , and click the "GO" button.

The speed test will take a minute or so. When it's done it will show you the average download and upload speeds being provided by your internet service provider.

A network download speed above 50Mbps is considered fast, but for media-intensive activities like Zoom, and/or if others in your household are streaming media simultaneously, you may need a faster download connection of at least 100Mbps.

See: Verizon: Understanding Internet Speeds

E.g. the test below showed a download speed of 331Mbps, and an upload speed of 11Mbps, both of which are considered very fast. The bandwidth on this connection is more than adequate for a Zoom meeting.

Steps you can take to improve your network connection:

Make sure your computer is within range of your router

  • Remove large metal objects, appliances, and other obstructions from in between the router and computer
  • Move your router closer to your computer, or your computer closer to your router
  • If it's not possible to move the router or computer, add a wi-fi "repeater" in a space somewhere between the router and computer.

Learn more about these tips here: How to Improve Your Laptop's Wi-Fi Reception

Switch to a wired connection if necessary

If you computer is in a place where wi-fi is just not reaching, you can use an ethernet cable to connect the router directly to the computer.

Consider upgrading your internet service

Tip: If, after taking these steps, your download speed is still slower than 100Mbps, visit your internet service provider's website to learn more about the internet connection speeds they offer.  Then call to speak with a customer service representative to better understand the options. You may decide to switch your service to a higher-speed connection.

Check excess activity on your computer

If you've confirmed that your internet connection is reasonably fast, either because you have fast service at home, or are on a Tufts campus (where internet connections are consistently stable and fast), then Zoom may be slow because of something else occurring on your computer.

Things which make the computer processor (CPU) work overtime may hamper Zoom. These include:

  • Too many apps running simultaneously
  • Apps streaming content unnecessarily in the background
  • Browsers running with many tabs open
  • Other CPU-intensive activity on your computer

Steps you can take to reduce excess CPU activity and optimize Zoom's performance

Keep Zoom up to date

Upgrade Zoom to the latest version to insure it's running optimally —

See: Upgrading Zoom to the Latest Version

On your computer:

  • Check your computer's CPU usage
    • On a PC hold down three keys on your keyboard: CTRL-ALT-DELETE. This will show the Task Manager including CPU usage data for open apps.
    • On a Mac run the Activity Monitor app found in the Utilities folder to see which apps are running and their CPU usage data.
  • Quit out of unused apps on your computer including unused browsers and other apps using a high percentage of the CPU

In your browser

  • Close unused tabs in the browser you are using. Leaving dozens of tabs open slows down both your internet connectivity and your computer's performance.

In your Zoom app

  • Modify your Zoom video settings:
    • Turn on "Original Ratio" for the camera
    • Turn off "Touch up my appearance"

If you will be using the Gallery View, set the maximum participants displayed to 25

In your Zoom meeting

  • Use Speaker View instead of Gallery View, to show a single video feed instead of multiple