Best way to handle 4 simultaneous Zoom sessions

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Lee MacMillan

Regular Contributor
In a couple weeks my son's family will be visiting. There will be 2 adults and 2 kids and each will spend part of the day on Zoom (meetings for the adults, school for the kids). I have a 66U-B1 running the latest Asuswrt firmware. Is there an optimum way to divvy up the bandwidth? Should 2 be on the 2.4ghz band and 2 on the 5ghz? Does it matter who is on each band? Any suggestions are appreciated.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

derek87

Occasional Visitor
i agree with L&LD... the biggest bottleneck in our experience is the upload rate of your ISP. ideally, you have 6 Mbps or greater (ie, 1.5 Mbps per session) for the router to divide up between the devices. in my family's experience (we were provisioned for 6 Mbps but didn't receive it during peak hours), once your bandwidth drops into the 2-3 Mbps range, one or more of those 4 sessions will sometimes receive "unstable internet connection" messages.

once we changed our ISP, and now have a lot more upload capacity, the problems went away.
 

Lee MacMillan

Regular Contributor
The hardware can handle it all on either band, given a good signal/connection. What are your ISP speeds, up/down? How many others are they connecting with? That is the potential bottleneck.

System requirements for Windows, macOS, and Linux – Zoom Help Center
The kids are kindergarten and 2nd grade but I don't know if the entire class is online during the same session or not. For the adults, I would guess 3 to 8 but again, I don't really know.

Right now my Comcast tier is 100 down and 5 up and the upload usually tests close to 6. I told my son we'd try it for a day and if it's not enough, I can bump it up to 10 for a month. They'll be scattered around the house but I've walked around with the wifi analyzer app and the speeds don't seem to vary a whole lot from room to room.
 

derek87

Occasional Visitor
@Lee: you have the same Comcast plan i previously had. your line is provisioned for 120 Mbps down, and 6 Mbps up (20% overprivsioned for 100/5 plan).

i live in an area where, because of the pandemic and everyone working from and doing school from home, the nodes are saturated so that at midday and body using Zoom/webex/google classroom at our house, i was speedtesting as low as 1.8 Mbps.

if your local node is not saturated/overcommitted and you can get the promised 5-6 Mbps upload, you should be fine for 4 simultaneous sessions. in Zoom you can keep an eye on how well it's working by looking at the Statistics under Preferences. it will show any packet losses and actual bandwidth used.

but you have a good plan in place...if you get reports of "connection unstable" from Zoom, then the simple fix is to go for a higher tiered plan. i don't know if you are under contract right now or not, but depending on where you live, you can probably negotiate a decent price for a higher tiered plan.

YMMV may vary (and i don't know your budget), but in SF Bay Area, when i called to cancel my service (i did), they offered me their 600 Down / 15 Up plan for $60/month for a 1 year commitment. if AT&T Fiber is available, you should look into their promotional deals.

we thankfully had an alternative (a small fiber to microwave LOS tech) which is now giving us 700 down / 220 up with no contract for less than that Comcast offer i mentioned. (no AT&T fiber available at our house)

anyway, i digress. the biggest issue with Zoom will be your total upload bandwidth. if you can consistently get 5-6 Mbps, in my experience, you should be fine with your existing service.
 

Lee MacMillan

Regular Contributor
@Lee: you have the same Comcast plan i previously had. your line is provisioned for 120 Mbps down, and 6 Mbps up (20% overprivsioned for 100/5 plan).

i live in an area where, because of the pandemic and everyone working from and doing school from home, the nodes are saturated so that at midday and body using Zoom/webex/google classroom at our house, i was speedtesting as low as 1.8 Mbps.

anyway, i digress. the biggest issue with Zoom will be your total upload bandwidth. if you can consistently get 5-6 Mbps, in my experience, you should be fine with your existing service.
I will start checking my speeds at midday and see if they are deteriorating. I suspect not since we are in a relatively small metro area. (Just did a speed test at 11:30 a.m. to a San Francisco server and got 5.89 Mbps upload so that's encouraging.) My family is coming from San Francisco and they've been working and schooling from home since March. Needless to say they're pretty tired of it.
 

derek87

Occasional Visitor
our family is definitely weary of distance learning and work. (i don't miss my commute but i am far less productive working from home)

good luck with Zoom. it sounds like you should have a good handle on things if you upload bandwidth stays in that range.
 

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