Why your terrible broadband speeds won’t stop your Microsoft Teams calls for much longer

Why your terrible broadband speeds won’t stop your Microsoft Teams calls for much longer

03/15/2021

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If you’re struggling to connect with colleagues over Microsoft Teams because of a bad internet connection – don’t worry, you might not have to fork-out for an expensive upgrade to your home broadband in order to come through loud-and-clear on your next video call. That’s because Microsoft is believed to be working on a new “Low Data” mode for its immensely-popular remote working solution, Microsoft Teams.

The new development was confirmed by Microsoft in a post on its Microsoft 365 roadmap, which reveals future plans and updates planned for its software solutions. Microsoft confirmed the new mode would help those struggling with poor connections as well as Microsoft Teams users looking to preserve the amount of data they’re using on video calls.

The latter could be especially useful when travelling and piggybacking on the 4G or 5G mobile connection from your phone. While this works well enough when checking emails, replying to texts within Microsoft Teams, and checking documents… using a tethered connection like this for video calls can quickly gobble through your monthly allowance of mobile data.

For those working at home with partners, flatmates and other family members streaming Netflix, making their own video calls, collaborating on documents with colleagues, backing-up their data, or playing online multiplayer… this can all be extremely taxing on your home broadband connection. With all of these high-bandwidth activities taking place at the same time, everybody’s connection can suffer. By enabling features like “Low Data” mode, Microsoft Team users can relieve some of the strain on busy broadband connections and help everyone else work (or play) online at the same time.

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Unfortunately, there’s no confirmed release date quite yet. However, Microsoft expects to have the new feature up-and-running within the next few weeks, so users really shouldn’t have long to wait until the functionality rolls out in a software update.

Crucially, “Low Data” mode will only be available on the desktop version of Microsoft Teams. Those who login to their account from their web browser will not be able to access the feature and will require the same amount of bandwidth as ever to answer calls, and join video presentations remotely.

The full description of the forthcoming feature on the Microsoft 365 roadmap reads: “Whether you want to preserve data or are in a location with a poor or limited network connection, sometimes it’s helpful to limit the amount of data you’re using during a video call. A new low data mode allows users to cap the amount of data that will be used during Teams video calls as well as establish different settings based on network availability.”

In the meantime, if you’re struggling to dial-in and catch-up with colleagues using a video call solution, try switching off the video component of your call to alleviate some of the strain.

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