When using a CloudApps Classroom session, itopia constantly monitors and optimizes your network connection to provide the best possible experience. CloudApps 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 data center.
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).
In this article, we'll review:
- Preflight checklist
- Session side panel
- Network bandwidth and performance
- CloudApps adaptive bitrate
- Troubleshooting poor connection quality
The preflight checklist is a quick series of network tests that runs each time a user signs in to CloudApps. The checklist helps to ensure that the user's browser can communicate with CloudApps 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:
Network bandwidth and performance
itopia CloudApps is designed to dynamically adapt to clients' network performance and deliver the best available experience. However, itopia recommends the following minimum network connectivity specifications to ensure a stable and performant session for users.
|Download speed / bandwidth||
Graphics-accelerated sessions (e.g., Adobe Creative Cloud or Blender):
4 Mbps or higher
Non-accelerated sessions (e.g., Microsoft Office or Computer Science):
2 Mbps or higher
|Download speed refers to the rate that data can be received by the client. Higher bandwidth allows CloudApps to stream the desktop with less compression and higher frame rate, resulting in a smoother, clearer image.|
|Upload speed / bandwidth||1 Mbps or higher||Upload speed refers to the rate that data can be transmitted from the client. Typically, upstream data is restricted to keyboard and mouse input and therefore does not require much bandwidth.|
Recommended: 60ms or less
Maximum: 200ms or less
|Latency refers to the delay between data being sent from CloudApps and received by the client, or vice-versa. Lower latency means that user input (keystrokes or mouse movement) are represented more quickly in the CloudApps session.|
|Packet Loss||0.25% or less||Packet loss refers to the number of data packets that must be re-transmitted between CloudApps and the client and reflects the stability of the client's connection to the CloudApps environment. Higher rates of packet loss mean more data has to be re-sent, resulting in intermittent delays or garbled displays.|
Users can view their network status from within their CloudApps session using the "flyout" menu on the right hand side of their browser window. This menu monitors the metrics listed above and is useful for troubleshooting poor connectivity issues. Users are automatically notified if CloudApps detects persisting network performance issues.
CloudApps adaptive bitrate
If CloudApps 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 CloudApps 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, CloudApps 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. 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 suffer 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.