Hardware, Software, and Network Requirements
In this article
We designed appear.in with ease of access in mind. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to invite people to your room, which is why we don't require any logins or downloads to join a conversation! We do this thanks to WebRTC, which can be built-in to most modern browsers.
However, because this is a relatively new web technology, some browsers don't have full support for it yet, so to use appear.in your browser needs to support WebRTC (see below for a list of supported browsers). Additionally, because we are a web-based service, the capabilities and quality can be affected by your network speeds and stability.
Appear.in is built on a WebRTC framework which utilizes a peer to peer connection and MESH networking. With these types of connections, audio and video data streams are sent directly between two or more user devices. This can be a great way to send data for smaller groups, but it relies on a fast internet connection and minimal latency. As more users join in on the call, more network speed and bandwidth is required.
We don't currently have a way to measure exactly what the required speed of the connection is between each of the callers, but we can recommend some average network speeds that are suggested for WebRTC products like ours! In general: the higher your internet speeds, the better quality of video and audio you will receive.
For a one to one person chat, the recommended connection speeds are at least 2.0 Mbps outbound and 2.5 Mbps inbound or higher.
For a conversation including 4 participants speeds of at least 3.2 Mbps outbound and 3.2 Mbps inbound are required. Due to the way peer to peer connections are designed, the more participants you add to the call the higher bandwidth you will need.
WiFi vs Ethernet
Poor WiFi connections are the biggest cause of quality and connectivity problems with appear.in. In many cases, the connection may be fast and stable enough at the modem, but a bad router or excessive traffic on the router can cause problems in the call. In an office environment for example, a router may be overloaded due to the number of computers connecting.
If you're experiencing issues with echo, audio falling in/out, or disconnects from the room, it's a good idea to try out a few different networks to rule out the possibility of a WiFi issue. Switching to a different router or trying an ethernet connection may resolve the issue, so this is the first recommendation.
If you or your company use a firewall, you may experience some connection problems depending on your firewall settings. For a smooth experience, we recommend opening port 443 for outgoing traffic for both TCP and UDP. Additionally, outgoing traffic should preferably be direct and not sent through a proxy.
Right now we don't recommend using appear.in with a VPN. Because our service is peer to peer, not having a consistent IP address can cause problems connecting to rooms, or in some cases a specific guest in the room. Our recommendation is to turn off your VPN when having an appear.in conversation, and then turn it back on after finishing the meeting.
For latency, you will want to make sure you are experiencing less than 100 ms on your network for the best experience. Up to 400 ms is acceptable, but not ideal for high-quality conversations. You can check your latency by running a Ping test or TraceRoute.
Desktop & Laptop Computers
The great thing about being entirely browser-based is that we're able to support any operating system that's capable of running one of our supported browsers. Whether it's a Unix based system like MacOS or Linux, or a DOS-based system like Windows, we've got you covered as long as you can run an up-to-date & supported browser!
Full Browser Support
Any browser that has built-in support for WebRTC should be able to use appear.in without issues. All of the below browsers have full support for WebRTC, and will deliver the best experience when using appear.in
We support the two latest versions of all of these browsers, so if you're experiencing problems, try updating your browser (typically you can update your browser under Settings>About). As we roll out support for more browsers, we'll be sure to update this article!
Partial Browser Support
Safari and Microsoft Edge are currently in the experimental stage of development, and have limited support. WebRTC support was only recently released in both systems, and our team is working hard to thoroughly test these browsers before we roll out general support for all feature sets of appear.in.
Apple added support for WebRTC with version 11 of Safari, so you'll need to make sure that your computer is able to run Safari 11 (although ideally you'll want to be on the latest build of Safari). Safari is updated along with your Mac's operating system, so if you need to update Safari you'll also need to update your operating system.
At the moment screen sharing isn't available in Safari, but we are working to add this in the future! Additionally, Safari does not currently support the VP8 video codec. Because the server infrastructure delivering video for calls in appear.in PRO rooms relies on VP8 for video routing, we won't be able to support video for Pro room users in Safari at this time. However, the Free version of appear.in rooms use a peer to peer connection, and these will work as expected in Safari browser.
Joining rooms with a Microsoft Edge browser is possible, but certain features of appear.in like screen sharing are not supported. However Edge has full support for the VP8 codec, so this should work without issue in appear.in Pro rooms!
As a team of remote and distributed workers, we know that you don't always have access to a laptop or desktop computer, so we made sure to build out support for the most popular mobile devices! We offer support for joining appear.in rooms in both Android and iOS devices, however not all appear.in features are supported on all mobile devices, so we've detailed what you can do on each device below! Don't see the feature you're looking for? Tell us what we should develop next by writing to email@example.com
For iOS devices, we have a fantastic app that very closely matches the features of our desktop version of appear.in! The only feature currently missing from iOS is screen sharing capabilities, but this is something that's currently being developed! You can download the iOS version of appear.in in the App Store
On Android devices, you can use the Chrome browser to go directly to any appear.in rooms! Simply type the Room URL into your browser, and you'll join the meeting in our new Progressive Web App experience! Don't know what a Progressive Web App is? Click Here for more information.