Ultra Experience - Bandwidth Consumption FAQ's

Ultra Experience - Bandwidth Consumption FAQ's

Date Published: Sep 21,2017 Category: Product:First_Time_Users_Ultra; Version:Ultra_Experience   Article No.: 000042979

Product: Collaborate - Ultra Experience

Document Type: User Documentation

Document Summary: This FAQ answers questions about Collaborate with the Ultra experience bandwidth consumption.
Document Details:

What are the primary factors in bandwidth consumption when using Collaborate with the Ultra experience?

The June 2017 release introduced dynamic bandwidth adjusting for Chrome and Firefox users. This allows us to actively monitor a users network connection and adjust the the download speeds before a user should experience issues. (The Sept 2017 release included a raise to the application sharing minimum).

The primary factors in bandwidth consumption for Collaborate Ultra are sharing webcam videos and sharing applications.  

  • Webcam video bandwidth uses ranges from 360kbps down to 20kbps per camera, up to 4 cameras
  • Audio always uses 48kbps
  • Ability to receive application sharing and audio as low as 88kbps
  • Application sharing bandwidth uses ranges from 500kbps down to 70kbps
  • Can show 4 cameras with audio as low as 128kbps and with a max of 1488kbps.

A small amount of overhead is also required for chat, etc.

If network conditions falter we will turn off cameras and application sharing if the users network can no longer sustain the minimum bandwidth needed. For 1 camera and audio this will be 68 kbps and for application sharing and audio 118 kbps. 

When network conditions improve, the cameras and application sharing will turn back on automatically for Chrome and Firefox users. 

See our Low Bandwidth Management page for more information.

What should I do if bandwidth is a concern?

For sessions where bandwidth is a concern, Blackboard recommends that no users share their webcam video unless required for the instruction. We also recommend that the moderator/presenter use file sharing and whiteboard for content instead of application sharing unless required for the instruction. Under this scenario, a user with 128kbps connection will be able to participate fully in the session.

Support Hint: We recommend that you inform your instructors to disable video sharing for participants and rely more on file sharing than application sharing.  Please also keep in mind that bandwidth is not only a concern regarding the network.  Other factors, such as latency, jitter and packet loss can all affect the quality of the session.

Visit our page on Managing Participants for help with in session settings and permissions.