Zoom Hardware Checklist & Set Up

An important precaution to take before diving into leveraging synchronous video is to familiarize yourself with the hardware needed to seamlessly engage with students at a distance as well as how the hardware interacts with Zoom.  The list below, which can also serve as a checklist, identifies some of the equipment DTL recommends you become familiar with in order to facilitate a quality Zoom meeting. 

  1. A Computer 
    At an absolute minimum you will need a computing device to run Zoom. While you do not necessarily need a traditional desktop or laptop to run a Zoom meeting, DTL
    recommends you utilizing a robust device with a current operating system, such as Mac OS X 10.7 or later or Windows 7 or later.

    While mobile devices are supported, we recommend all participants refrain from using their phones
    . If you would like to know more about system requirements, visit this link.

  2. Your Network
    According to the Zoom website, the bandwidth used by Zoom will be optimized for the best experience based on the participants’ network. It will automatically
    adjust for 3G, WiFi or Wired environments. However, DTL recommends utilizing a wired connection whenever possible.Recommended bandwidth for Group Meetings:
    – 600kbps/1.2Mbps (up/down) for high quality video
    – For gallery view and/or 720p HD video: 1.5Mbps/1.5Mbps (up/down)
    – Receiving 1080p HD video requires 2.5mbps (up/down)
    – Sending 1080p HD video requires 3.0 Mbps (up/down)
  3. A Monitor (or two)
    Your monitor is important when running a Zoom meeting because you will want a sufficient amount screen real estate to easily manage
    everything that is going on. For instance, you may want to to see from multiple cameras at once, or share a slide deck while also watching chat questions, or annotate an image.
    While not completely necessary, DTL recommends at least one large monitor with dual monitors actually being ideal.

  4. Speakers or Headphones
    In many cases, the internal speakers on your desktop or laptop will be sufficient during a Zoom call. However, if an echo persists, headphones are a cheap and easy solution.

  5. The Microphone
    Which microphone you use is definitely something you should strongly consider. While the built-in microphone on your laptop might work in a pinch, DTL recommends utilizing an external microphone. Logitech‘s or the Blue Yeti are both products that DTL has experience using and could recommend and demo.

  6. A Web Camera
    Similarly to your microphone, your built-in webcam on your computer might be totally sufficient. However, if you want a higher fidelity image or more control over your camera’s settings (such as zoom or tilt), DTL recommends utilizing an external web camera. And just like microphones, DTL has utilized and can Logitech‘s line of web cameras.

  7. Lighting
    While this may not necessarily be a hardware requirement, proper lighting is essential for achieving a quality image from your camera. Try to find a bright, front lit area. Do not have your back to a bright window or light source. Lighting should come from in front of you and never behind you to avoid casting shadows on your face.

  8. Your Background
    Just like your lighting, your background is something easy and low tech for you to manage. Try to place yourself in front of a background
    that is clean and clear, without distractions.