When using a Labs session, itopia constantly monitors and optimizes your network connection to provide the best possible experience. Labs provides two different tools for you to check your network performance: the Preflight Checklist and the Session Side Panel.
Each tool performs a different set of tests and may present you with different information. The Preflight Checklist performs a quick test of latency and bandwidth, as well as the availability of the WebRTC protocol across your network's firewall (if one is present). Latency and bandwidth are measured using itopia's test services in the nearest Google Cloud datacenter.
The Session Side Panel provides more accurate network performance metrics that includes round-trip network latency to your actual desktop session, video rendering and compression, and other elements that affect the overall session connection quality. For this reason, the statistics reported by the side panel may not match the statistics provided by other network monitoring tools (such as a basic ping utility).
Labs Adaptive Bitrate
If Labs detects a drop in network speed or quality such as an increase in dropped packets (network data loss), the session will attempt to automatically adjust its streaming quality to provide a reliable, responsive session; this feature is referred to as an adaptive bitrate. If Labs must significantly decrease the bitrate, your session may appear "blocky" or show other compression artifacts, and in severe cases the session may periodically seem unresponsive or frozen.
Once your connection quality improves, Labs will automatically increase the bitrate and provide the best possible streaming experience.
Troubleshooting Poor Connection Quality
There are many factors that can contribute to poor connectivity, and while it is possible that the Google network is experiencing issues, most often the connection quality is dependent on your local network and Internet bandwidth.
If you're connected via a wireless network (such as WiFi or cellular data), the wireless signal may be weak or suffering interference from other nearby networks. Check the signal strength on your local device (usually a wifi icon). Try moving closer to the WiFi router or away from other devices that may be causing signal interference.
If you have a strong signal, it's possible your local network is suffering from congestion. This may be due to too many people connected at the same time, multiple people streaming content such as videos or music, or possibly an issue with your Internet provider.
If you consistently encounter poor quality, try connecting from a different location or using a different wireless network if you can. If the problem persists, please let your instructor or school IT department know.
The Preflight Checklist is a quick series of network tests that runs each time a user signs in to Labs. The checklist helps to ensure that the user's browser can communicate with Labs services and performs some basic network speed tests.
If everything looks good, the user will only see a brief "toast" notification:
However, if a connectivity issue is detected, the checklist will open and notify the user before they launch a session:
Session Side Panel
The session side panel provides useful information about the current connection status, and users may see a network performance alert if the connection quality drops past a certain point.
To open the side panel, click the tab that is always present on the right-hand side of the session window:
The side panel provides real-time information on the network quality and statistics for the session.
Users may also see a desktop notification in their session if their connection quality drops: