Virtual Event Hosting and Video Streaming Troubleshooting
Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Updated: September 27th, 2020
In March, thousands of IT professionals and students joined us for CORE-IT, a free training/mentoring/badging event that we'd begun planning back in 2019.
Special thanks to the CORE-IT presenters/mentors who graciously shared their time, knowledge, and advice during CORE-IT: Jim Aragon, Sake Blok, Jasper Bongertz, Doug Burks, Jeff Carrell, Terry Cutler, Henry Danielson, Don Donzal, Betty DuBois, Tony Fortunato, John Gonder, Andrew Lewman, Keith Parsons, Stephen Pearson, Mike Pennacchi, Phil Rzewski, Ginny Spicer, Kirk Thomas, Paul Vixie, and Ryan Woodings During the CORE-IT event, we hit video streaming issues at times. If you watch the news all day (like I do, sadly), you've seen the video glitching and complete disconnects plaguing the news feeds.
Given that everyone in the world has jumped onto the Internet to feed video, it's interesting to analyze the video streams when things go wonky.
Here are things to look for:
1. High Initial Round Trip Time (path latency)
2. High server response time (slow server)
3. Indications of packet loss
In the image below, we see the indications of massive packet loss along the path. Notice the ugly striping in the Packet List pane? Stripes never look good on a network. I applied a filter for just one of the video streams (tcp.stream==2). I opened the Expert window and limited it to the Display Filter and also added two graph elements to the IO Graph.
One graph element (the blue line) depicts the packets per second rate of TCP stream 2. The second added graph element (the orange bars) depicts the TCP analysis flagged packets of stream 2.
Clicking anywhere on the orange bars, Wireshark jumps to that point in the trace file and we see the familiar pattern of packet loss recovery using selective acknowledgments.
There's no way a video is going to feed smoothly with that nasty level of packet loss.
If you haven't captured your video streaming traffic - now is the time! Compare the bits/second rate when you are streaming HD (1080p) vs. standard (720p). Many of the online meeting/webinar services (such as Zoom) have "minimum requirements" defined - and right now many companies (including Zoom) are throttling down their feeds because of streaming issues from saturation.
Make a point to capture your traffic during your next online meeting. If things look great, you have a baseline trace file. If things are lousy, dig into the trace file to find out what caused the problems.
We know a LOT of companies are now looking to pivot their in-person events to online events. We know there are a lot of self-service and full-service virtual event platforms fielding a tremendous number of potential customers knocking on their doors.
Don't start from scratch!
The team behind CORE-IT has put together the Virtual Event Survival Guide, an all-in-one guide that contains real-world event examples, essential planning, development, and troubleshooting checklists. This book breaks the planning, organizing, hosting, and analysis steps into manageable objectives and ensures that everything goes smoothly when it's time to open your (virtual) doors. Grab the book to start taking real strides toward your own successful and memorable event.
Looking for help hosting a virtual event? Contact us at events@chappellU.com.