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Top 10 things to ask about Kopano Meet

It is great that more and more questions about Kopano Meet are reaching us. Although we have a FAQ section in our documentation, it is quite technical. That’s why I’m trying to answer the questions we hear in the sales team in a more understandable way in this blog post.

These are the top 10 questions about Kopano Meet that we were asked in the sales team:

Questions by users

Which devices are supported?
What is the maximum number of participants that can attend a meeting?
Can other participants see my screen?
Do I need to install an app or browser extension?
Something’s not working. What can I do?

Questions from IT managers or those who want to run Kopano Meet themselves

Can I run Meet myself?
Can I use Meet as a cloud service?
Which bandwidth is required?
What influences the quality of the video meeting?
What does a TURN service do and why do I need it?

Which devices are supported?

Kopano Meet works with all devices supporting the WebRTC standard. This standard has been an integral part of modern Internet browsers for more than two years now. It can be used on devices with Android or iOS as well.

On all devices, the following applies: The more up-to-date the Internet browser, the better. Please update if possible and necessary! You should always do that anyway. On iOS devices, we recommend version 13.4, but older versions also work with some minor restrictions.

In order to relieve the system processor (CPU), graphics data are processed hardware-supported (graphics card, GPU). In Chrome browsers, a look at the page chrome://gpu/ tells you whether hardware acceleration is used for “Video Decode”. In some cases (especially on Linux systems) you can and should try to force this on the chrome://flags/ page by setting “Override software rendering list” to “Enabled”.

We recommend using one of the chrome browsers: Google Chrome, Chromium or Iridium.

check if Chromium's/Chrome 's video decode is hardware accelerated

What is the maximum number of participants that can attend a meeting?

As of today, Kopano Meet does not support channel bundling. We are working on a service for it. Until it is ready, the Meet connections will be directly point-to-point between the devices.

This means, for example, for a meeting with five participants, that four video and audio streams are sent from your own device and four video and audio streams are received by the other participants. If screen sharing is used, this data stream is added on top.

Each participant’s browser has to encrypt and decrypt the incoming and outgoing video and audio data, decode it, mix it, and then pass it to the video or audio output device. All this happens in real time.

This explains what influences the number of simultaneous participants in a meeting:

  • The available bandwidth of all participants.
  • The power of the respective end device (CPU, GPU).
  • The actuality of the used internet browser.
  • In case of screen sharing the screen resolution

Can other participants see my screen?

The screen of a PC or notebook can be shared with other participants. No additional software (plugin or app) is required. Shared screens can be seen on smartphones or tablets too, but these devices cannot share a screen themselves.

The larger a screen, the more data is transferred. It is therefore recommended to share only one window instead of the entire screen. This also makes the information much easier to read at the receivers.

The bandwidth for screen sharing is limited to 2.5 Mbit/s. Three frames per second are transmitted. The larger the shared section of the screen is and the more often information changes in it, the higher the CPU load. If the bandwidth limit is reached, Meet adjusts the quality of the transmitted image downwards.

Do I need to install an app or browser extension?

No. Kopano Meet uses the standard WebRTC precisely for this reason. The internet browsers directly support this standard.

Something’s not working. What can I do?

In the unlikely event of problems ;-) … we need to know as exactly as possible what is happening. Only then we can approach the error. Since Kopano Meet uses a standard with WebRTC, errors are very often found in its implementation in the end devices.

By far the most extensive implementation of WebRTC can be found in Google Chrome. So if you have problems, you should always check if they occur in Chrome, Chromium or Iridium as well.

Please always make a note:

  • When did the problem occur?
  • How many participants were in the meeting at that time?
  • Which end devices / Internet browsers were used?
  • What exactly happened?
  • The output of chrome://gpu/.
  • Which meet service do you use?
  • If you know: Which TURN service do you use?

Can I run Meet myself?

Yes! Kopano Meet is a decentralized service. There is a Meet Appliance or Docker Container for it. Likewise, Meet and its additional services can be operated individually.

Can I use Meet as Cloud-Service?

Yes. We ourselves provide a SaaS service at splash.meet-app.io. On this system no registration is required and the rooms are therefore public. However, the users themselves define their names. We add a random number to the room name to minimize the risk of unexpected strangers entering your room. The connections within the rooms are encrypted end-to-end.

What bandwidth is required?

Kopano Meet works reliably with all state-of-the-art Internet connections available today. Helpful hints to estimate the required bandwith are:

  • A maximum of 1 Mbit/s is required per participant in a video meeting.
  • Screen sharing requires a maximum of 2.5 Mbit/s.
  • The latency (ping to a nearby server, for example the Google name server 8.8.8.8) should be about 20 ms or less.

These are average values, not the minimal requirements.

What influences the quality of the video meeting?

For the transmission of video data Kopano Meet uses the VP8 codec, for audio data it is the Opus codec. These formats compress data very well, so they require a relatively low bandwidth of the Internet connection. Nevertheless they deliver high quality. Audio data encoded with Opus is still acceptable at a bandwidth of 8 kBit/s.

We limit the bandwidth per participant to a maximum of 1 Mbps and 15 frames per second. In a video meeting with 5 participants this means that each participant has to decode (to display) and encode (to send) four times 15 frames per second. If a device is not powerful enough, images are discarded from the video transmission.

The end devices transmit a status to each other about how often this happens. This can result in a data stream being sent with lower quality right from the sender if a device is rather weak. The WebRTC devices thus adjust themselves to the most sensible quality to be achieved. Audio quality always takes priority over video quality.

What does a TURN service do and why do I need it?

Devices are typically located behind Internet routers and firewalls. So they are – hopefully! – not directly accessible from the Internet. In order to send a video and audio stream directly from one device to another, these devices have to find a direct path to each other. To do this, you use a TURN service.

The devices connect to the TURN service when Meet is activated. The TURN service now knows which way leads to this device – exactly the way back to this connection. When a device joins a meeting, this path is used directly by the other participants of the meeting. If this is not possible, the TURN service must serve as a relay and all data must flow (encrypted) through it.

This is explained in a very simplified way. A more detailed and complex explanation can be found here for example: https://github.com/coturn/coturn

Kopano provides a free TURN service. This service is preconfigured in the Meet Appliance. For other setups the access data can be requested by e-mail.

Andreas
Andreas

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