Discussion:
Zoom participants and/or my laptop webcam occasionally freezing
(too old to reply)
Bill Saunders
2020-08-21 15:51:17 UTC
Permalink
I am using the latest Zoom for Ubuntu 16.04. Since I don't own an
external webcam presently, I have been just using the built into my
laptop webcam (Dell Inspiron 1545). When I first tried to start using
Zoom a few weeks ago, there was frequent freezing, either of just my
video, or both my video and video participants. The first step was to
eliminate wireless and plug directly into the router with the cat5
cable. I then retested the other night and, over a three hour period
with three participants, I myself froze twice, but stopping and
restarting my camera solved it. At one point, everyone froze but
stopping and starting again solved it.

I may be using Zoom soon for situations other than for family and I'd
like to get the freezing issues solved. I realize that sometimes native
Win based programs revamped for Linux are left with errors and, if that
is the case, I'll have to live with it, but I wanted to first rule out
any other possibilities first.

Thanks in advance for any help. BTW, I did double the memory in the
laptop from the native 4 GB to 8 and swapped out the traditional hard
drive for a solid state drive... no reduction in freezing.
azigni
2020-08-21 16:48:35 UTC
Permalink
I have the same problem with a year old Dell XPS and gigabyte dl speed.
Freezing is a bandwidth problem, possibly on the other end or somewhere
in between.
Bill Saunders
2020-08-21 17:06:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by azigni
I have the same problem with a year old Dell XPS and gigabyte dl speed.
Freezing is a bandwidth problem, possibly on the other end or somewhere
in between.
I've been suspecting this (bandwidth issue). I use Verizon and their
router, but I have their slowest Internet speed. I can watch all the
videos I want to, but perhaps as Zoom participants increase, it is
bottling up my bandwidth. No one else I talk to has the problem, but
they might all be paying for faster rates.
Paul
2020-08-21 23:51:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Saunders
Post by azigni
I have the same problem with a year old Dell XPS and gigabyte dl speed.
Freezing is a bandwidth problem, possibly on the other end or somewhere
in between.
I've been suspecting this (bandwidth issue). I use Verizon and their
router, but I have their slowest Internet speed. I can watch all the
videos I want to, but perhaps as Zoom participants increase, it is
bottling up my bandwidth. No one else I talk to has the problem, but
they might all be paying for faster rates.
My ADSL is 15Mbit/1Mbit, so there is 1Mbit upload speed to make
a camera work.

The actual call to the hospital with their video system, used
576 Kbit/sec during the call.

During the test (loopback) calls, the rate it uploaded at was
around 100 Kbit/sec.

Talking head videos don't necessarily need a lot of bandwidth.

When doing transatlantic conferences, our link was 2x64Kbit,
with one channel for sending Powerpoint slides, and the other
channel was the live feed. If you moved your hand and pretended
to wave, there was a bunch of pixels where your hand used to be,
and the 64Kbit really wasn't enough for a "tennis match".

But those numbers should give you some idea how miserable
a connection you can use and still get through.

A number of Internet offerings are 3/1, 5/1, 10/1, 15/1 for
ADSL2+, then 15/10, 25/10, etc for various VDSL. That means
even a relatively painful 3/1 should be able to make a phone call.
In my hospital case, I could still do the 576Kbit/sec call
using the 1Mbit/sec upload pipe.

Paul

Paul
2020-08-21 16:50:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Saunders
I am using the latest Zoom for Ubuntu 16.04. Since I don't own an
external webcam presently, I have been just using the built into my
laptop webcam (Dell Inspiron 1545). When I first tried to start using
Zoom a few weeks ago, there was frequent freezing, either of just my
video, or both my video and video participants. The first step was to
eliminate wireless and plug directly into the router with the cat5
cable. I then retested the other night and, over a three hour period
with three participants, I myself froze twice, but stopping and
restarting my camera solved it. At one point, everyone froze but
stopping and starting again solved it.
I may be using Zoom soon for situations other than for family and I'd
like to get the freezing issues solved. I realize that sometimes native
Win based programs revamped for Linux are left with errors and, if that
is the case, I'll have to live with it, but I wanted to first rule out
any other possibilities first.
Thanks in advance for any help. BTW, I did double the memory in the
laptop from the native 4 GB to 8 and swapped out the traditional hard
drive for a solid state drive... no reduction in freezing.
If you want an unsubstantiated rumor, it's my opinion that
some nitwit has been fooling around with the webcam architecture.

I've had failures where nothing but a reboot would recover
the webcam. Almost as if there was state information being
saved somewhere, between camera runs.

It does not work the way it used to. That's all I can tell you.
A couple of releases ago, everything was fine. (I could use
guvcview and the webcam "features" worked.)

When webcam support was originally moved from userland
to the kernel, the first release, the webcam caused a
kernel panic. That was the low point for webcams.

But something recently, maybe the last year to year and
a half, seems to have changed again, and I doubt someone
went into individual webcam drivers and fouled them up.
It's possible some architectural blocks were moved around,
something added, that sort of thing, but I've not been
able to find any mention of what that might be.

If I had to guess, my first guess is its not a flaw
in the gear you bought. It's something else. It's not
leaving tracks in dmesg either.

The last time I needed to make a "reliable" call, with
the doctor at the hospital, I used Windows 7 (because
there's no way that Windows 10 with its random
frameserve would have worked). And after my random
"quit and stay broken" behavior on Linux, I was kinda
between a rock and a hard place. The only good thing you
can say about Windows 7, is it wasn't receiving any
"updates" to destabilize it.

I was fortunate, that the hospital system allows
"test connections" for two weeks before your
appointment. (It's a kind of loopback test.)
And I could test, test, and retest the crap,
to improve the odds of it working when the appointment
arrives.

*******

Find the oldest release where the repository is
still available, set it up, and test your camera
again. Presumably the Zoom supports older releases
that are still "officially supported".

Paul
Bill Saunders
2020-08-21 17:04:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul
Find the oldest release where the repository is
still available, set it up, and test your camera
again. Presumably the Zoom supports older releases
that are still "officially supported".
   Paul
So you're suggesting to go back to the oldest release of Zoom and try
that?
Paul
2020-08-21 23:43:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul
Find the oldest release where the repository is
still available, set it up, and test your camera
again. Presumably the Zoom supports older releases
that are still "officially supported".
Paul
So you're suggesting to go back to the oldest release of Zoom and try that?
Let's say Ubuntu has 14.04, 16.04, 18.04, 20.04 .

If the 20.04 webcam setup wasn't working, go back to a 16.04
and test there. The assumption is, that Zoom works on more
than one release of Ubuntu. Perhaps your webcam will run on
the 16.04 OS a bit better than some other one. Then, if you
have an important call to make, your "tested" setup is the
one to use.

I've done a lot of webcam testing over the years, and
I'm kinda sick of it :-) The Windows 10 saga did a lot to
piss me off (today, they pretend it works, while it
does different stuff every time you run it, which
is clever). The sad part is, my little webcam is a
nice one, but the software just won't leave it alone.

It would be too much to ask, for your "daily driver" OS
to be able to run your webcam satisfactorily. Instead,
you have to plan to "dual boot", even if the dual boot
is 16.04 Ubuntu and 20.04 Ubuntu. The idea is to find
some combo that works for you.

Paul
Anton Ertl
2020-08-21 16:40:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Saunders
I may be using Zoom soon for situations other than for family and I'd
like to get the freezing issues solved. I realize that sometimes native
Win based programs revamped for Linux are left with errors and, if that
is the case, I'll have to live with it, but I wanted to first rule out
any other possibilities first.
Thanks in advance for any help. BTW, I did double the memory in the
laptop from the native 4 GB to 8 and swapped out the traditional hard
drive for a solid state drive... no reduction in freezing.
I have not experienced freezing when I used the Zoom client on Ubuntu
18.04 from the end of March to June (Laptop: Lenovo E130 with 8GB
RAM). So at least for me the Linux port works.

I have also been using Jitsi and BigBlueButton, and plan to be using
BigBlueButton for the tasks for which I have been using Zoom before.
However, if you want to go there, that means that you have to find (or
maintain) a BigBlueButton server; same with Jitsi.

- anton
--
M. Anton Ertl Some things have to be seen to be believed
***@mips.complang.tuwien.ac.at Most things have to be believed to be seen
http://www.complang.tuwien.ac.at/anton/home.html
Bill Saunders
2020-08-21 17:09:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anton Ertl
I have also been using Jitsi and BigBlueButton, and plan to be using
BigBlueButton for the tasks for which I have been using Zoom before.
However, if you want to go there, that means that you have to find (or
maintain) a BigBlueButton server; same with Jitsi.
- anton
Unfortunately, I really can't switch. At this point, I don't even yet
have an account with Zoom, so any hosting has been done by others with
accounts. Since they'll not be switching to something else, I'll have
to stick with Zoom.
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