In recent weeks, I have participated in a few WebEx conferences. While those organized by Cisco mostly relied on traditional telephone connections for audio delivery, others used an integrated VoIP solution, which has a more attractive price.
While good old telephony works pretty well no matter where you are or what you are doing, this is not always the case with voice-over-IP (VoIP) solutions, and WebEx is no exception.
It is pretty obvious that the host of the session needs a decent Internet connection to enable all participants to experience a satisfying level of quality. Things start to get more complicated when a few participants are having audio problems and cannot hear the presenter clearly, while other users don’t experience any audio problems. This was the case for Ivan Pepelnjak recently, while he was delivering one of his new seminars.
I started to look for a solution to audio problems after I attended a session via wireless connection and the audio quality was heavily affected by jitter and noise. With a little exploring, I found what I was seeking. Setting the voice buffer level enables users to sacrifice delay in order to reduce the jitter. Most of the sessions in which I participated were more or less one-way discussions, where one person was speaking most of the time. Increased delay in that case causes no significant obstacles in communication. On the other hand, reducing jitter greatly improves audio quality, allowing the audience to survive what would otherwise be an unbearable session.
In order to set the proper level of voice buffer while you are attending a WebEx conference over integrated VoIP, choose Audio-> Integrated VoIP-> Options… to find the voice buffer setting. If you are experiencing audio issues, increase buffer length by sliding the bar to the right.
Interestingly, even though the mentioned setting is easily accessible, I found no evidence of it in the WebEx Internet documentation or via Google on some other sites.
Last but not least, there is a chance that the host of the WebEx session may disable certain features and options for a particular session. For example, if you participate in a WebEx demo session , even though you can also use integrated VoIP, you may not be able to find the buffer setting.