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Tech tips

This app lets you fake a bad connection during Zoom calls

The pandemic has made video conferencing a part of our everyday communication. Whether we’re brainstorming with coworkers or celebrating a birthday, virtual meetups let us keep in touch while maintaining social distance. You don’t even need to wear pants.

There are plenty of video conferencing platforms to choose from, including Zoom, Google Meet, Skype and more. Tap or click here to see which one is right for your needs.

Constant video chats aren’t for everyone, and some think all this convenience makes it too easy to justify the calls in the first place. Fortunately, a new tool lets you simulate a bad connection, which can help relieve “Zoom fatigue.” Let’s check it out.

How to easily get out of a video chat

According to the Bufferi.ng website, the tool simulates slow-downs, freeze-frames and lag on your video calls.” It also messes with your sound and is compatible with Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams.

To use Bufferi.ng, you need to install its Snapcam software onto your PC or MAC. Snapchat made this program and it allows you to apply the app’s filters and lenses to your live streams and video chats. You don’t need to create an account to use it.

Related: 11 Zoom tricks you wish you knew sooner

Once Snapcam is installed, search for the “too many meetings” filter and click the screen when you want your webcam to freeze. After clicking the screen and freezing the webcam, your sound will also glitch out. It’s the perfect ruse.

Note: The site states that the tool is just a simulation and won’t affect your computer’s performance. As with any download, stick with trusted, reputable sources.

Up your Wi-Fi game

While it may be fun to mess with friends, family and coworkers, a good connection is important for serious video conferencing. Here are some ways to improve your Wi-Fi:

  • Reposition your router for a better signal. Ideally, you want the router to share the same floor as the devices you’re working with. Place it high off the ground and leave some space around it. A router inside a floor cabinet won’t perform as well as one on top of a bookcase. Keep in mind that the fewer walls between you and your router, the better.
  • Keep your router updated. Updating your router’s firmware not only keeps it running smooth, but it can also protect you from malware attacks. Your router’s user manual should include instructions for updates, as does the manufacturer’s official website. You can manually update your router by typing its IP address into your web browser and logging in with your admin username and password. Following that, look for an option to update your firmware or router. Tap or click here for the easiest way to get your router’s IP address.
  • Protect your system. Make sure your router is encrypted and has a strong password. Check your router settings to see if it’s using WPA2 encryption. If not, change it right away. This not only keeps neighbors and passersby from leeching onto your network and slowing you down, but it also repels hackers. A strong password adds even more security.

A strong or weak network connection affects everything you do online. Tap or click here for more tips on speeding up your Wi-Fi signal.

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