Web-Based Video Conferencing: Best Options for Your Business

An employee having web-based video conferencing with his colleagues.

Through choice (or force), more and more companies are turning to remote meetings. And to facilitate these meetings, the best option is web-based video conferencing.

Favored over on-premise video conferencing because you don’t need to physically install something for every user, web-based video conferencing provides a virtual meeting space that’s accessible via software or a web browser.

What is web-based conferencing?

Web-based conferencing, or web conferencing, is an online service where companies and individuals can hold remote meetings.

Using web conferencing software, you can provide an online environment to host a virtual meeting. Typically, you can join web conferences via a desktop or mobile app. You can also join web conferences via a web browser by using WebRTC.

Video conferencing and messaging done over desktop and mobile

A web conferencing solution can be for audio conferencing, video chats, or both. Web conferencing software provides an alternative to in-person meetings and dialing in to a conference call using a phone system, landline, or mobile device. This means you no longer need to attend all physical meetings.

One of the benefits of joining meetings through online meeting software is that you can do it from anywhere with internet access. That means that meeting participants no longer need cell reception or a landline phone to take part in these catch-ups and important decisions.

Within almost all of these online meetings tools, you have access to a standard set of conference software features. In audio-only web conferences, you can expect features like:

  • Multiparty audio
  • Host controls like virtual lobby and mute
  • Cloud recordings (the ability to record is standard in all web conferencing but video is also captured in video conferencing)
  • Cloud storage (to save call recordings)
  • Desktop and mobile join access
  • Instant messages
  • File sharing

When upgrading to video conferencing software, advanced features like screen shares and video call recording become available too.

How do you do video conferencing on the internet?

To join video conferences from anywhere, you’ll need a video conferencing software platform or you may be able to just join by clicking a link in your browser.

You can schedule video meetings via your video conferencing tool — or collaboration tools (like Google Calendar and Outlook) if they integrate with your video conferencing platform. Choose your desired meeting time, cross-reference with other people’s calendars, and send an invite with the video conferencing details included.

Meeting participants who have the meeting ID or passcode can join via a desktop and mobile app, a web browser, or through a meeting room. When more than one party joins the video conference, the online meeting begins.

In any case, all these forms of web meetings, audio and video, will need access to the internet or if you just need audio, a phone line is fine. (You can connect to video conferences using your phone system for audio-only calls).

For the video connection, you’ll need your laptop or mobile camera. You can also use external webcams for high-definition video quality.

When joining video conferences on the move, you could opt for a portable speakerphone or just join via a mobile app and your smartphone’s camera. If you’re fancy, you can have a fully fledged conferencing system, but often all you need is a phone or computer.

Pro-tip: When joining web conferences on the move, or in remote offices, make sure you check network and connectivity restraints. Video conferencing solutions, in particular, have some prerequisites for video quality.

Video quality is usually affected by a lack of bandwidth or network settings that could be prioritizing bandwidth to other areas in your business. For example, if your CRM is the most important tool, a higher amount of bandwidth will be allocated here.

Here are some bandwidth suggestions for different elements of web and video conferencing:

Upload Speed

Activity Minimum Suggested
Audio-only 3kb 24kb
Audio and video 300kb 2.4mb
Screen shares 200kb 1.6mb

Download Speed

Activity Minimum Suggested
Audio-only 6kb 48kb
Audio and video 180kb 2mb
Screen shares 250kb 1.5mb

You can test your speed in remote locations by conducting a speed test online. (If you search “speed test” in your web browser, you will find a selection of tools to test your connection.)

How do you use web conferencing?

One of the perks of web conferences is that they let you join traditional conference calling, like audio-only calls too. Instead of joining an audio conference call by dialing in from your phone system, you can just join a web conference and turn your video off.

You can schedule and join a web conference just as you do video conferences—no fancy advanced features needed. Most of these tools either integrate into your existing calendar, like Google Calendar or Outlook, or your web conferencing app calendar.

Just choose a meeting time, cross-reference with other people’s calendars, and send an invite with your web conferencing details.

Manager sending meeting invites from his mobile phone

Pro-tip: Include video joining details even if you plan on joining via audio-only. Your other meeting participants might want to join with video and use other software features.

Connect to the web conference using your phone system or by using your computer's speakers  through a VoIP connection. You can use external speakers, microphones, and headsets for advanced audio setup.

When joining web conferences on the go, you could opt for a portable speakerphone or Bluetooth headset.

What is the difference between web conferencing and video conferencing?

You can use the terms web conferencing and video conferencing interchangeably. But, there are subtle differences depending on if video services are included.

When referring to video conferencing solutions, you can generally expect a full suite of features that are accessible via a video screen. Video conferencing is typically seen as an upgrade over traditional conferencing calls, and gives you access to other special features like screen shares and team collaboration tools.

Standard video conferencing features include:

  • HD video
  • 1:1 video meetings
  • Desktop and mobile join access
  • Instant messages
  • Cloud recordings (the ability to record is standard in all web conferencing but video is also captured in video conferencing)
  • Cloud storage
  • Schedule meetings
  • File sharing

We’d recommend video conferencing for longer remote meetings like formal one-to-ones.

When scheduling ad-hoc online meetings, you may not need video, so a standard audio conference is fine here. As more remote workers become used to video, it may become natural to turn on both video and audio out of habit. Right now, it looks like video conferences are slowly becoming the go-to choice for remote teams.

The term web conferencing is also sometimes used to describe video conferencing. Be aware that web conferencing could be referring to audio-only conferencing—when you roll out conferencing software for business, it’s a best practice to make this difference clear by using different terminology for audio-only web meetings versus full video conferencing.

Ongoing video meeting with participants that share and don’t share their video

What is the best online video conferencing?

When you’re looking for conferencing software for business use, free web and video conferencing solutions can be a good starting point for small businesses since they usually include basic features like HD video, screen shares, and cloud storage.

But regardless of business size, you should try out a few free trials to see if your communication and collaborative needs can be met by a free video conferencing tool.

What is the best free video conferencing?

Video conferencing software providers often encourage people to take their web conferencing solution for a spin via a free trial. Some video conferencing software platforms even have a version that’s free forever (though they’re often limited in what they can do).

Finding the best free video conferencing tool could be as simple as contacting your existing VoIP provider. (Some VoIP providers offer conferencing features rolled into their monthly packages.) So, as a first step, we’d suggest checking with your business VoIP provider to see if they offer any video conferencing tools.

For example, RingCentral Video offers business VoIP as well as web-based video conferencing. Your package may already include some of the conferencing calling features you need!

Remote employee dialing into a web conference while on a train

In some instances, your phone system may include a dial-in conference calling option, but lack access to web conferences or video conferences. If this is the case, you should probably look for a standalone video conferencing platform (unless you want to consolidate your tools and find one platform that does both).

If you’re looking at standalone tools, generally it’s possible to integrate a new video conferencing platform into your existing phone system.

Pro-tip: Often, the best free option is the trial version of a paid video conferencing solution. That said, you can get a perfectly robust option with something like RingCentral Video by RingCentral.

What is the best paid video conferencing?

Online meeting software usually comes in paid tiers. Pricing is on a per user per month basis, and can be scaled up or down as the video conferencing software allows. For example, you may lose a user per month due to maternity or paternity leave. You could also increase users per month during peak season when you hire temporary staff.

If you’re hosting a virtual event or leading a virtual classroom or any online trainings, you might need to upgrade to more advanced features.

If you’re upgrading to paid plans in a video conferencing platform, you can use advanced features like:

  • Unlimited meetings
  • Webinar software
  • Higher number of meeting participants (than a free version)
Team engaged in a video meeting

When you compare product features between free and paid plans, make sure you only compare the software features you need. Some companies get carried away evaluating special features like virtual classrooms and webinar software—when they have no need for them.

Your desired software checklist should only include features that you are going to use. You can apply the MoSCoW method of scoring your needs if the list gets out of hand.

M Must have The bare minimum needs like HD video services
S Should have The next level which reduces your shortlist like access to video conferencing via a mobile app
C Could have The nice-to-haves that would add value to your business like screen shares
W Won’t have this time Features considered useful but you don’t have an immediate use for, like hosting a virtual event

Remember, the best paid video conferencing platform will be the one that suits your prioritized needs the most. And while there are a ton of web-based video conferencing options out there, we’re confident that RingCentral Video will cover them all.

To get access to unlimited meetings and a wealth of video conferencing features, see what our video conferencing software can do by trying out RingCentral Video. Call our sales team for information or get started for free.