Reducing latency

The internet as a whole is struggling with the increased demand for video streaming; lag and latency on Tuple calls is most often caused by strained internet connections.

You can learn more about your connection while on a Tuple call by checking out your call stats.

Most degraded internet related issues can be fixed by taking the following steps:

  1. Set a lower stream resolution and or webcam resolution to reduce the number of bits being sent and hopefully reduce local congestion.
  2. Ensure all computers are plugged into a power supply. MacBooks sometimes throttle CPU usage when running on battery power. We're judicious about our CPU utilization, but doing a call while on battery can affect your latency.
  3. Pick either screen sharing or webcam sharing instead of both at the same time to reduce bits being sent and avoid congestion.
  4. Use a wired ethernet connection. This will reduce packet loss significantly which can really improve Tuple's performance. WiFi setups can be quite noisy and introduce a lot of local packet loss. If you can't use an ethernet connection, make sure you are as close as possible to the WiFi access point. If you're nearby other WiFi networks, you might be competing on the same channel which can lead to dropped packets. Depending on your router software, you may be able to manually change to a different channel which might not be as crowded.
  5. Drop your system resolution before your call. This tip is particularly salient if your guest has a much smaller screen than you. If you're on a 5K iMac and they're on a 12" Macbook, not only will sending that many pixels cause higher latency, but the text on your guest's side will be near-unreadable.

Eliminate competing bandwidth consumers

Bandwidth drops can cause latency, and are usually caused by other programs or other people using the same network. For instance, an automated network backup that always causes available bandwidth to drop dramatically. You can get an idea of what's using bandwidth on your computer with the Network tab of the built-in Activity Monitor app, and you should be able to get an idea of what's using your entire network bandwidth (if you have other people or devices on your network) by visiting your router's settings page.

Using Tuple with a VPN

Latency can also occur when you are pairing over a VPN, or through a particularly strict firewall. VPN's can introduce latency various ways, especially through how they route the calls. Read more about troubleshooting your VPN setup here.

But my internet speed test says my connection is ok?

Many internet speed tests only test upload and download speed serially, instead of in parallel. While you are on a Tuple call, you are both uploading and downloading simultaneously. Some internet connections can be deeply affected by doing both at once. Please make sure to try out a test that simulates uploading and downloading in parallel for a more accurate result.

If you're on macOS Monterey, for example, you can check out the networkQuality command line tool:

But it works on Zoom?

Tuple uses peer-to-peer connections, instead of going through an intermediate server, so call quality can be affected by how the call is routed which is outside of Tuple's control. It's very likely the connection is going over a completely different network than Zoom.

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