Optimizing public meet.jit.si rooms for many participants (more than 30)

No! This will not be another post starting with “In the Corona crisis, …”. In fact, it starts with “No!”

In each case, people (your step-father) and groups (his regulars table, the orchestra, …) you would have never thought of started to hold video conferences on public platforms with the most diverse browsers, devices and numbers of participants far from being thought effective for collaboration. But hey, its better than no social exchange.

One of my preferred platforms is meet.jit.si for its simplicity, its scaleable “out-of-the-box” behaviour and a (developer) community really caring about such issues. Hence, with a little bit of background knowledge, public meet.jit.si rooms can be “tweaked” such that non-tech-savvy invitees will enter the conference in a most resource-saving manner which makes both their own conferencing experience as well as those of their companions satisfying.

Of course the ultimate measure would be to setup your own, tailored instance of jit.si, but this is out-of-site for most people this post targets at.

So usually, you start a meeting (room) by simply typing in a URL

https://meet.jit.si/4711PerformanceTest

Fortunately, jit.si accepts URL parameters in a very consistent manner, so we can simply add configurations by appending to it.

https://meet.jit.si/4711PerformanceTest#config.constraints.video.height.ideal=360&config.constraints.video.height.max=360&config.disableH264=true&interfaceConfig.SET_FILMSTRIP_ENABLED=false&interfaceConfig.DISABLE_VIDEO_BACKGROUND=true&interfaceConfig.DISABLE_FOCUS_INDICATOR=true&interfaceConfig.DISABLE_DOMINANT_SPEAKER_INDICATOR=true&interfaceConfig.DISABLE_JOIN_LEAVE_NOTIFICATIONS=false&config.disableAudioLevels=true

Most effect will have the default video resolution which we enforce to the “medium” setting and some other fancy processings to the images and the audio. We can argue over the contraintuitive config.disableH264=true. Usually, this is one of the most effective codecs, but users have reported a performance issue in Firefox on MacOS. If you will not host such companions in your virtual party, leave it.

And if that is still not enough, you can strim down the video resolution even more:

https://meet.jit.si/4711PerformanceTest#config.constraints.video.height.ideal=240&config.constraints.video.height.max=240&interfaceConfig.SET_FILMSTRIP_ENABLED=false&interfaceConfig.DISABLE_VIDEO_BACKGROUND=true&interfaceConfig.DISABLE_FOCUS_INDICATOR=true&interfaceConfig.DISABLE_DOMINANT_SPEAKER_INDICATOR=true&interfaceConfig.DISABLE_JOIN_LEAVE_NOTIFICATIONS=false&config.disableAudioLevels=true

Reportedly, aquaintances have been able to run congregations with more than 30 people. After that, it really depends on the network quality and the attached devices whether you will experience some partial freezing. That said, please remember that you cannot really “test” above parameters with only 1-2 participants, as jit.si won’t switch from P2P-mode to the conference mode (for which most of above parameters do hold) under 3 partitipants.

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