If you are seeing lagging audio, choppy video, delays in the connection, or other call quality issue, this guide will walk you step by step to help diagnose the issue, and resolve the problem.
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Step 1. Understanding the Technology
Doxy.me is a peer-to-peer based system, which means when you connect to another person through audio and video, that data is being transmitted directly between those two peers and not through the Doxy.me system. The exception to this, is when one (or more) of the participants is behind a firewall or secure network (like a hospital or larger corporate environment). If you think this might apply to you, see Section 4: firewalls and secure networks for further information on this case. This is important contrast to other services like FaceTime, Skype, VSEE ect that have servers between you and the other participant. This is important to note, as if you can have a good quality call on one of those services, it doesn't mean you are setup ideally for a Doxy.me session.
As a peer-to-peer based technology these are some normal items to be aware of:
- Sometimes the audio and video will be choppy for the first minute or two as the connection is being established. This is normal. Usually after a minute or two the video connection will clear up.
- Also make sure you or your participant don’t have concurrent internet connections taking up large amounts of bandwidth (examples: downloading large files, music, movies, several web pages open at the same time as trying to have a call, etc).
- If you are on a slow internet connection, the video quality is limited by how fast your internet service is able to upload and download the video feed.
- If you have an older computer or if you have several programs open and running, sometimes the video card will have a hard time keeping up with the video rendering. It may help if you close unused desktop applications to free up computer power for the video call.
- Sometimes wireless networks can get really busy with internet traffic if you have a lot of people using the same router, we’ve found that connecting directly to your network with a ethernet cable can improve connections.
- Doxy.me was not built to have a connection with someone on the same local network (calling to a co-worker or family member in the next room for example). If you tested the system like this and saw issues, please connect to someone in a remote location before following this guide further.
- Both you and the person/people you connect to could possibly be the reason for the poor quality. If you think it might be on their end, send them this page to help them resolve the issue.
Step 2. Pinpointing the Source of the Problem
There are 6 possible reasons the video or audio can be poor during the call. They are as follows:
- Internet Connection: having the ability to download and upload data at an appropriate level.
- Ability to have a webRTC call: this is the underling technology of Doxy.me
- High latency in the network: the delay between when information is sent and the response is received on the internet.
- Device Processing Ability: the ability of the device (computer/phone) to encrypt/decrypt video and audio data, and display it on the device.
- The actual camera or mic: if the camera or mic is of poor quality, that will be the limiting factor in how high of quality you will see.
- Browser or Operating System software: if a system's software is out of date, it is possible to be missing needed software patches to perform optimally.
Ways to pinpoint the issue based on above:
- Test your network speed: https://www.measurementlab.net/tests/ndt/ - for an HD quality call you'll want approximately 2mb/s up and down. While the minimum needed speed in 750kb/s, that isn't enough for an HD quality call.
- Test your device's ability to have a webRTC call: https://test.webrtc.org/ - run the automated tests found on this page, and see if any of the tests fail. Note: a warning isn't usually a problem.
- To the network latency, run https://test.webrtc.org/?test_filter=Network - Important: keep the page in the forefront on you device and let the test run till completion; 3-4 minutes.
- Quit other programs running on the computer: any program not need for the call should be close to see if the problem persists. A quick way to ensure this is to close all the programs, and then restart the device.
- Camera/Mic quality: usually only applicable on older devices, but if needed, go out and buy a 720p webcam for $20 online.
- Software updates: most devices and browsers nowadays have automatic updates, but they do need a restart to take effect. Restart the program or computer if you haven't in a while.
Once you've gone through these steps, try having another call. If you see no improvement, it might be the person you are connecting to. Try someone else, or have the other person follow the steps in this guide.
Step 3. Resolving the Pinpointed Issue
Based on the tests above we can now step through and resolve the issue, going from easiest to hardest.
If you got poor results on the network speed tests (1-3 above) follow these steps:
- Plug into the modem with a ethernet cable instead of using wifi.
- Try a different network that you believe might be better than yours. Good quality networks can found in most public places, like Starbucks/McDonalds, the public library, ect. (Do not try wifi or MiFi hotspot devices. These can have issues or their own and shouldn't be trusted to fix network related issues).
- Call your internet service provider and let them know about the issue. If they tell you, your bandwidth is too low you might need to upgrade the bandwidth connection. If they say it should be high enough, then the problem could be with your router or modem. You might need to get a new one if it's old.
If quitting other programs allowed you to have a good call, your computer might not be able to handle too many programs at once. Keep the programs running at one time on your computer to a minimum.
Common ways to upgrade system and browser software:
Section 4: Extenuating Situations
In rare cases the above doesn't solve the problems you are seeing there are some other issues that can be diagnosed and resolved.
Firewall and Secure Networks
If you are in a hospital or clinic with a network firewall it's possible it is blocking access to websites or ports used by Doxy.me to make a successful call. Try running this test first: http://tokbox.com/tools/connectivity/
If any of the tests fail, you may need to talk to your IT team to 'whitelist' several services or ports Doxy.me uses to optimize call quality.
To ensure you can make a successful call please ask your network admin 'whitelist' the following:
api.tokbox.com and anvil.tokbox.com
*.doxy.me (api and all subdomains)
doxyme-assets-production.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com (static assets)
access to ports 3478, 443 and UDP ports 1025-65535
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