Network bandwidth limitation in Zoom
Zoom gives you the ability to configure settings that limit audio and video bandwidth based on IP ranges to minimize network traffic. There are policies that can be used for local area networks with known limitations in specific locations, and this feature is intended for administrators who have experience with network configurations.
Zoom’s support team strongly recommends that you contact them for advice and support prior to using this feature. Only very specific circumstances should be used to limit bandwidth, and then it should be done. As part of Zoom’s meeting client, bandwidth is metered based on the needs of the meeting and allocated as needed. As the client adapts to changes in available bandwidth or limitations in availability due to changes in deployments and situations, no additional policies are required. If the customer is allowed to charge for what is available to the user, the best user experience is always offered to the user. I would like to point out that if you decide to implement policies that limit bandwidth, you should be aware that the quality of your service will suffer.
This article will cover a number of topics including:
- How to manage bandwidth limits
- Bandwidth Limiting Policies
How to manage bandwidth limits
You can access this option by following the steps below:
- Any administrator with permission to edit account settings on the Zoom web portal can access the Zoom web portal.
- You can access your account settings by clicking Account Management in the navigation menu.
- To access the Meetings tab, click the Meetings button.
- On the Meetings (Advanced) tab, click the Manage Bandwidth Limits link if you want to change your bandwidth limits.
A dialog box called Bandwidth Limits will appear.
- You can create, view, and organize your policies in the Bandwidth Limits dialog box that appears.
Bandwidth Limiting Policies
Both essential and optional information are considered when defining bandwidth throttling policies. For each of the policies there are a number of fields that are included in the summary.
- Name (required – maximum 50 characters)
- Description (optional – maximum 100 characters)
- IP range (required – standard format for IPv4 values)
- Upstream (required – at least 800k)
- Downstream (optional – at least 800,000)
- label (optional)
- Exclusion area (optional)
- options (optional)
- Do not send video (check box)
- No video received (check box)
Fields for each policy
The identification of the limit policy to be created is a mandatory field that must be filled out. It’s important to note that there are no rules for entering a name, but it is strongly recommended that you choose a name that can be used to associate the IP range you are creating a policy for with a location or link to a network identity.
This field allows you to enter more detailed information about how the policy was created and is an optional field. It is recommended to describe a policy to ensure that anyone reviewing the configuration can understand what is at stake.
You might want to give a little more thought to adding a description to your policies as they will increase in number over time and it will be helpful if you review them later or if someone takes on an admin role who needs to know what was previously configured.
Note: When creating IP ranges, you must ensure that they are in IPv4 format.
As you can see, this is a required field and provides us with the key information needed to determine how the bandwidth limits are determined. Both the range and the subnet mask can be specified in this field. The first step before configuring policies for IPv4 ranges is to become familiar with the network terminology used to define IPv4 ranges.
During meeting setup, this field is required to set the maximum bandwidth allocated to send audio and video from the meeting client to the meeting server.
This value also limits the amount of bandwidth that can be allocated for sharing presentations, audio and video files from participants, and sharing their presentations. A low value affects the quality other participants receive when configured to a low value. In particular, limiting the available bandwidth has a significant impact on video quality. Generally, when bandwidth is limited during a meeting, other meeting participants will see lower quality video when the video quality is limited. There’s a chance that the screen’s reduced resolution will be especially noticeable when speaker mode is on and a large portion of the screen is occupied by the speaker.
The following field is optional and can only be configured if network bandwidth is severely limited. There are a number of different display options that users can choose from. The amount of bandwidth allocated to different layouts may vary depending on the number of audio/video streams received by participants along with other broadcast content. If bandwidth is an issue on a multi-user network, users can limit the amount of bandwidth they receive by capping the value through a policy to address limitations.
However, it must be noted that the cap, while helping to address maximum capacity, also has the effect of limiting quality for a single user even though the bandwidth may be available. It has been found that when software clients are able to negotiate and adapt to changes in network bandwidth conditions over the course of a deployment, they can more appropriately respond to those changes, rather than throttling bandwidth by default at all times. If you wish to restrict audio/video/content through the downstream policy, please contact Zoom before making any changes.
I’m adding this field to the network bandwidth limit configuration options in 2022 to expand the possibilities of the configuration options. As a result of this addition, administrators can more easily organize bandwidth throttling policies.
It can be difficult to find a specific policy among the large number of policies, and given the large number of policies available, it can be difficult to understand how a set of policies is intended to support a site. Labels allow administrators to organize related policies into easily identifiable groups. It is possible to take multiple policies for a location and organize them by a combination of labels and sub-labels, with the ability to create both labels and sub-labels for a specific location.
This optional field allows administrators to specify a range of IP addresses that can be allowed on their system. To achieve the same goal, it may be more efficient to create two policies to achieve the same goal than using an exclusion zone.
To completely disable video sending or receiving, you can use two checkboxes on the sender or receiver side: Do not send video and Do not receive video. As a result of these options, meeting participants can use significantly less bandwidth than they would otherwise have to, but their user experience will be severely limited. A network should only use these options when there is a limited amount of available capacity and no other choice is available for the network.
Besides creating bandwidth limit policies individually using the Add Limit dialog box, it is also possible to import multiple policies at once using the Import button if you want to bulk import by selecting a file containing multiple policies. If you use the import option, you must provide a comma-separated values (.csv) file with values in the correct order.
In the import dialog you will find more information about the format requirements to be met. In addition, a link is provided in the import dialog box that can be used to download a sample file. Besides creating some policies via the Add dialog, it is also possible to export all of them by selecting the Export All option in the Export dialog. If you use any of these methods, you can use a spreadsheet to define the IP ranges and policies you need.
Each line in the file is checked to ensure that the format and input requirements have been met when importing policies using a CSV file. If the import process encounters an error, it will stop when an error is found. In order for the admin to understand which lines need to be corrected, there will be an option to download a file containing a list of errors. The import process is allowed to continue once all error conditions have been resolved and the contents of the CSV file have been added to the database after the CSV file has been imported.
Using the import option means that the existing rules that already exist will be replaced if the imported rule matches the IP ranges of the existing rules. Rules that specify overlapping IP ranges cannot be imported.
The Export All option allows you to export existing policies that have been created and they can be imported as comma separated values (.csv) into a spreadsheet that can be edited and edited as required.
The import option allows you to use the spreadsheet to import any changes you made to the web policies back into the spreadsheet.