Many of you are using a mobile hotspot to access the Internet. This device allows you to get online from wherever there is a cellular signal. These devices are growing in popularity as they allow the user to access their favorite websites and e-mail from virtually anywhere.
One of the limitations of this type of internet connection is limited monthly allotments for bandwidth (also known as “data caps”). This means that usage of the hotspot device is monitored monthly. Once you go over the data cap you are charged for the additional usage. These overage charges can increase quickly, making your monthly bill unusually high.
If you use Google Hangouts to perform a video conference then you are basically downloading video during the entire duration of your meeting. If you are doing this over a hotspot connection then you may be consuming your data cap faster than you think. If you have any questions about your bandwidth usage you should contact your mobile phone provider. Please keep in mind that if you are just starting to use Google Hangouts then you cannot look back at your past usage history to estimate your current usage. You should keep a close eye on your bandwidth usage for the first few months that you are using Google Hangouts.
To help reduce the overall bandwidth usage you can turn down the quality of your video during each Hangout session. When you open the hangout you can specify how much bandwidth to use. Be sure to click the bandwidth icon next to the settings icon when you start each individual Hangout session.
The resulting video won’t quite look as good as the high bandwidth connection but your cell phone bill will appreciate it. Be careful with your data caps in the beginning so that you don’t get hit with a larger than normal bill!