Is slow data transfer in online meetings a result of server location?

Another question rolled in just the other day: “Are there delays in online conferences due to the location of the vendors’ servers? And if so, are there vendors that guarantee quick transfer of data?”

That is a valid question, the scenario being that the host and attendees are all located e.g. in Europe meeting online with a web conferencing solution hosted in the U.S. In that case all data would be routed from Europe to the U.S. and then back again. Even though the data has to travel quite a bit that should not lead to any noticeable delays.

There are days on which an online meeting will be tedious, however, when images just won’t load or there is a lag between picture and voice. This cannot always be blamed on server location but rather has to do with conditions at the attendees’ locations as well as the size of data packages you are sending and receiving. The server’s capacity naturally also plays a role – so a tiny little server next door might perform worse than a high-performance server park on another continent.

Bottom line: If your network is slowed down for whatever reason your online conference will be slow, too, and as long as the servers don’t crash they are not likely to be the cause of slow performance when meeting online. And that also answers the second part of the question: Vendors can only do so much to influence quick data transfer. They cannot guarantee that it will be quick 24x7x365.