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Feb 28, 2021 0 comments

How much bandwidth a video call uses

The way we communicate today has changed from just a few years ago. There are countless tools that allow us to keep in touch with friends and family over the Internet. We can make use of instant messaging platforms or make calls. Now, if there is something that has become very popular in recent times, it is video calls. How much bandwidth does a video call need? We will explain it in this article.

The rise of video calling

Video calls have been around for a long time. We are not facing any news. However, it is true that they have been a boom lately. Teleworking is something that is increasingly present in our daily lives and that means that we will have to make use of different tools to maintain contact with other users. Video calls have gained significant weight in this regard.

We can make use of many tools, both free and paid, to make video calls over the Internet. They are available for all types of devices and operating systems. However, they will always require that the Internet connection is acceptable, with good speed, quality and stability.

That is why it is sometimes necessary to know how much bandwidth is needed to make a video call. The objective is not to have cut-off problems that may affect the initiation of communication.

How much bandwidth do you need for a video call

Keep in mind that the necessary bandwidth will be directly related to the quality of the video call. It is not the same to carry out a conversation configured in HD than to do it at a lower quality.

Typically, bandwidth requirements are measured in megabits per second (Mbps). We can move it to megabytes (MB / s). But also if we want to orient it better and have data per minute, we can change MB / s to minutes, which would basically be multiplying by 60. In this way we would have megabytes per minute.

We can say that the simplest applications, video calls with minimal quality, consume around 4 MB per minute. It would be the minimum bandwidth that you will require. If for example that video call lasts 10 minutes, we will need 40 MB.

Now, if we go to a medium standard, what a video call usually consumes, the figure would become about 7-8 MB per minute, while the maximum quality, what we could say HD, would exceed 25 MB per minute.

This means that a video call in good quality and for 10 minutes could consume about 250 MB. It will always also depend on the application we are using, but we can take these measures as a basis.

How much bandwidth do Zoom and Skype use?

The exact measurement of the amount of data being used in a video call depends on many different factors, which is why most programs probably publish "minimum" and "recommended" numbers instead of usage estimates. However, converting Mbps to MB / s and using the "recommended" bandwidth to measure minutes and hours is a fairly safe way to estimate traffic. This yes, we will have to multiply by two to take into account both the loading and unloading traffic.

If we start with Zoom, which has become one of the most popular tools, we can say that it consumes 9 MB per minute in the case of making a standard video call, at 480p. The figure would increase to 18 MB per minute if it goes to 720p and it would reach about 27MB per minute when the quality is at 1080p.

Now, the figures differ if what we are doing is a group call. Logically in this case we would be receiving more data. In this sense, we could consume, on average, 13.5 MB per minute, 22.5 MB per minute and 45 MB per minute, respectively according to the aforementioned quality.

If we go to Skype the data goes down somewhat. It is another of the applications most used by users to carry out video calls. In this sense, the 480p quality would consume about 4.5 MB per minute, the 720p quality about 7.5 MB per minute and the maximum, 1080p, would go up to 22.5 MB per minute.

Likewise, the figure would increase if we made a group call. We would go to about 37.5 MB per minute in a call at 3, 67.50 MB per minute in a call at 5 and 127.5 MB per minute if we are more than 7 users.

Ultimately, this is the bandwidth that applications such as Skype or Zoom need to function properly. We leave you an article where we talk about the minimum latency for a video call.