Using EVDO with WebEx

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Tuesday, 08 March 2005
Article by Scott Wilson

I do not work for WebEx or represent them in any way. My company offers a web-based telematics portal through which our clients can track their vehicles and other mobile resources. We frequently use WebEx in the sales process to avoid travel costs and to drill home the value of a remote web-based application. Some clients prefer to meet outside their offices, meaning I now need a decent wireless connection if I�m going to make the right impression. In the past using a GPRS card, lunch would be over before the application fully loaded.

Still, clients are often compelled show the data to someone else - usually outside their office. It�s not uncommon to hear something like �Joe has got to see this.� In the past, Joe would just have to wait. Now, I can start a one-click wireless WebEx meeting and invite Joe from my laptop and have sufficient bandwidth to get my point across.

Using a 1.2 GHz Compaq PIII laptop, I connected to the WebEx Meeting Manager server via a 5220 EVDO connection at approx 530k down and 161k up. I started an imbedded webcam session at 15fps and ran our web portal. The receiving end was a similar Compaq laptop connected to a corporate 100mbps LAN.
Our application is heavily loaded with Flash animation objects and connects to a series of database servers in our NOC for various reports, fleet positioning, and sensor updates. As a general rule, we recommend our clients have a broadband Internet connection. WebEx has an inherent WebEx latency that is usually not noticed by users on either end. It�s usually less than one second if all participants are on a stable broadband connection.

In this trial, using the webcam and with our web portal application running, our latency never exceeded three seconds, which is quite acceptable. After all, just as with a long-distance phone call, you don�t recognize the delay if you can�t hear/see it. Disconnecting the webcam from the session improved the latency to less than one second.


We repeated the process with both Compaq laptops using 5220 cards with almost the exact same latency both with and without the webcam. I considered running the trial in reverse using my EVDO connection as the remote WebEx client but figured what�s the point? If I can serve up my content with unnoticeable latency at 161k, then as a client on the receiving end at 500k or better, the session could only be improved.

Discuss using WebEx with EVDO at EVDO Forums.

Last Updated ( Monday, 25 September 2006 )
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