Web Conferencing Equipment

COVID-19 Note

Due to Covid-19, web conferencing equipment is in short supply. Many items, especially web cameras are sold-out / backordered. We've also noticed that prices have gone up on some equipment, you're more likely to have to pay "Manufacture's Suggested Retail Price", for equipment you are able to find.

Web Conferencing Information

Web Conferencing is a great way to have one-on-one conversations, meetings with remote staff members, and also for delivering content to clients. Equipment you need is speakers/headphone, microphone, and an optional camera.

Of course, you also need web conferencing software. Whether you’re using Adobe Connect, WebEx, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or some other software packages, the equipment you use will be basically the same. The main difference in equipment requirements will depend on where you are going to using it. The main advice, is you usually get what you pay for, it's usually worth spending a few extra $ on web conferencing equipment.

We recommend that you use wired Ethernet connection when doing any web conferencing. This is beyond the scope of this page, but Extension IT can help you determine how to get a wired connection to your computer.

At Your Desk / In Your Office

Many modern laptops come with built-in speakers, microphone, and camera. In many cases, this may be enough to get started. However, you may want to upgrade some of these components.

  • Earbuds / Headphones - With earbuds/headphones, you can turn up the volume, and it won’t interrupt people around you. Also, for interactive meetings, you can keep your microphone unmuted without degrading the sound quality of the meetings. Many headphones will come with builtin microphone (gaming headsets).
     
    Any, good quality earbuds/headphones should work. Corded headphones typically use USB connections while corded earbuds typically use 3.5mm audio cables. Cordless earbuds/headphones will use a Bluetooth connection. If you plan on using the earbuds/headphones a lot, noise cancellation may be useful.

    Earbuds are usually smaller, and don't stand out so much in your video camera. Headphones will cover the whole ear, and will block out more outside noise. Different people like different models and styles, you'll want something that is comfortable to wear. Cost: $20-200+
     

  • Microphone - Typically, you won't need to buy a microphone for use at your desk, because you can use the one that's built into your computer, headphones, or camera.
     
    If you do a lot of recording, and may want a really good quality "Podcasting" microphone. These mics usually have a stand, and are connected via USB. Cost: $100+
    Example:
     - Rode NT-USB USB Microphone, $169
     
  • Camera  - For may people, a laptop's built-in camera works just fine. If you don't have a built-in camera, you want a little better quality, or it's inconvenient to use the built in camera, you can buy a external camera. These cameras usually sit on top of your monitor, and are connected via USB. Cost: $70-200+
    Examples:
     - Logitech C920s HD Pro Webcam, $70
     - Logitech BRIO Webcam, $200

Small Conference Room

For the most part, you can use the same equipment in a small conference room as you would at your desk. With a couple exceptions.

  • Speakers - External speakers may be beneficial. Many options here, what you need will depend on how many people your conference room holds. A speaker set you'd typically buy with a desktop computer may be enough, but you may need something that provides more sound than that. Cost: $25+
    Examples:
    - Logitech Multimedia Speakers Z200, $25
    - Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speaker System, $99
     
  • Microphone - As a general rule, you get better sound if you're closer (within reason) to the microphone. As people get farther away from the mic, the sound quality will degrade, and it will sound hollow, or like you're in a cave. An external, onmi-directional microphone will help with this. Cost: $50
    Example:
     - MXL AC-404 Portable USB Conferencing Microphone, $65

Large Conference Rooms / Classrooms

Many times, the upper end of the equipment for small conference rooms will work in this setting as well. However, if you're looking to equip a larger conference room, you may want to spend a little more, and get more for full multimedia room experience. The sky is really the limit here, with pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, multiple microphones (lavaliere mics, cordless mics, whole room mic systems, etc), and room sound systems. If you are looking at equipping a large conference room, beyond what you'd use in a smaller room, we recommend you call Extension IT to discuss your needs.

Places to Buy

If you're buying with ISU funds, you should buy through Workday - CyBuy ( includes B&H Photo, Office Max, Amazon, and more). You can also use these companies for county funds, but you could also use Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc.

See Also

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