Improving Zoom/Skype connections (Take my bandwidth, please!)

I’ve been using Zoom/Skype/Facetime to teach music lessons during these times. I’ve moved mostly to Zoom since you get the most freedom to adjust audio settings to reduce audio processing and compression. Being the nerd I am, I’m always watching the stats of the session and I noticed Zoom isn’t using a ton of bandwidth. At most I’ve ever received is 2 Mbps and sent is usually around 1 Mbps. There are all of 2 internet options in this suburban area, and I am on the standard Charter plan of 200 down/10 up. I recently wired up and speed tests confirm I’m getting full bandwidth.

Is there any way to increase the bandwidth that video chat clients use?

I know there’s a ton of factors, many of which are not under my control. I’m sure my clients have less than great connections (at&t is notoriously inconsistent in my area), and I’m sure they’re using WiFi. But I would think if we’re both using the same Charter plan, bandwidth could double or triple without issue.

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It is down to the protocols the services use for audio and video. There isn’t much you can do about it - in fact, most people want less bandwidth.

It doesn’t look like Zoom allows much:

Likewise Skype uses a standard codec, based on bandwidth. I believe SILK is/was the preferred codec for Skype-Skype calls.

The problem is, these systems are designed to provide good voice quality at as lower bit rate as possible. So it wouldn’t surprise me if it is clipping music, for example.

Normally, they will start at the full quality codec they support and gradually reduce the quality, until the connection is constant and there is little or no drop-out. Once you get above 128kbps or so free bandwidth, it doesn’t make much difference to the audio quality - the rest is video.

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I was hoping there was a network setting I could fiddle with. There is an Upstream QoS, but it’s actually recommended to disable on higher speeds, and there tends to be issues with it anyways.

Audio-wise, I’ve got my clients using the Original Audio setting, and that works really well for what I need. Skype is very good as well, I don’t notice the compression as much, at least if they’re using a computer (I’m not sure about mobile). FaceTime is the worst, as both video and audio quality changes constantly and you get no settings to change.