How to setup and join a virtual TriadEA meeting

Our virtual TriadEA meetings run as RingCentral Video meetings. The group that hosts this meeting is based in Winston-Salem, NC. Our meetings are held each Wednesday evening from 7:30 to 9:00 Eastern time.

If you are on a computer or Chromebook (with Chrome or Edge browser) and don't need instructions, just CLICK HERE to continue. Next time, you can bypass this page by heading to triadea.org/join instead.
On a mobile device you can go directly to your downloaded RingCentral icon. In this case, you need to know our meeting ID: 555 333 444 222.
You can also join from any phone by calling 1-650-419-1505, meeting access code 555 333 444 222.

RingCentral Video meetings run on recent Windows, Mac and Linux computers, as well as Chromebooks and all mobile devices. Note that while mobile devices require an app download, computers and Chromebooks do not. Meetings can be joined by VOICE ONLY in two ways: 1) Just don't turn on your video when entering the meeting. (You can then, if you like, watch the meeting without yourself being seen. If you are on a computer, this assumes you have an available microphone.) 2) You can call into the meeting by phone (no computer required): the # to call is 1-650-419-1505 (valid throughout the US). Call numbers are also available for many other countries, including numerous options for Canada. On the call you will be asked to enter our meeting access code: 555 333 444 222.

For mobile devices only: You must first download and install the RingCentral Video app. Browse to the RingCentral app download page and select the app for your device. Following installation, open it or not as you wish; its icon has already appeared on your home screen. At any time you can join our meeting by simply clicking on this (RingCentral) icon.

On the app's opening screen, click Join a meeting. Then enter our meeting ID (555 333 444 222) on the top line, and your screenname on the second line (the unhelpful default is the name of your device!) Do not enter your complete name. For purposes of EA anonymity, a nickname, first name, or first name + last initial is appropriate. (A space within your name is allowed, not required.) You'll have the opportunity to change your screenname any time you enter a meeting. At this point you can also opt to turn off your video or not. Finally, click Join; you immediately enter the meeting. The first time through, you'll be asked for various permissions; answer OK to all, except (optionally) to Contacts. On the way in, choose Use internet audio.

For computers and Chromebooks only: On Chrome (v78+) and Edge (v79+) browsers, CLICK THIS LINK. On the Welcome screen, enter your screenname as outlined above (no complete names, please). Click Join meeting now. This is the simplest way of joining a meeting.
On most Other Browsers (notably Firefox and Opera), CLICK THIS LINK. On the Welcome screen, click Join a meeting. On the ensuing popup, enter the meeting ID (555333444222) and your screenname (see discussion above), then hit Join. IMPORTANT NOTE: This option may only be available if Chrome is already installed on your machine. If the above procedure fails, your best alternative is to download Chrome, and access the meeting directly through Chrome.

If asked, click Allow (or Always) for requested mike and video permissions. Immediately a new window appears: Check the Automatically join audio with computer box, and (if asked) verify that your Video setting (on or off) is what you want. (It's off by default.) You can check your mike and speaker levels here if you wish. Finally, click Join audio by computer.

You have now joined the meeting, audio only (video is probably off until you click the Start Video icon on). But here is where problems can and do arise. The two main issues seem to be: 1) Sporadic, intermittent audio and video; 2) No incoming or outgoing audio. (Note: Issue #2 should only occur on desktop computers.) In general, desktop systems - which lack integrated audio (mike) and video (camera) capability - will prove more difficult to set up properly.

Issue #1 (Sporadic audio/video): Your internet connection is weak, as shown by the three-bar icon at the bottom left of your maximized screen. Anything less than three bars is problematic. (Hover over the icon to see the details.) Remedies: If available, use an ethernet connection to your router rather than wireless. If a wired connection is not feasible, position yourself as close to your router as possible. As a last resort, shut down all other open applications before opening a meeting. Periodically reexamine the strength of your connection by viewing your "bar report." Other contributing factors to intermittent behavior are low CPU power of computers and large numbers of persons on a call. (Desktop computers are usually more powerful than laptops. However, desktops don't normally come with built-in cameras and microphones, though camera and mike can be purchased as a single, inexpensive accessory. On the other hand, accessory camera/mikes can complicate setup - particularly if you are frequently connecting and disconnecting them.)

For more on the above issue, see CONNECTIVITY TIPS FOR RINGCENTRAL VIDEO at the bottom of this page.

Issue #2 (No incoming or outgoing audio): Your audio device selections and levels are inappropriate. Click on the up arrow to the immediate right of the Mute icon, then select Test mic and speaker settings to deal with this situation. Remedy: First, before going further, make sure that your computer speakers are not muted or set to a very low level, and make the same determination for any external speakers that are connected. (Both settings are responsible for how much sound you hear.) Scroll down and click Test speakers. If you hear nothing, make another choice in the Speaker selection box, and keep going until you find a selection that works. Then adjust the volume control for your computer (and/or external speakers) to the listening level you desire. (The Sound volume control is for mike volume, not speaker volume.) This procedure should take care of any incoming audio issue.

Now for the outgoing (mike) audio. Scroll up to Microphone, and click on Microphone test. Record some brief speech and see if the newly displayed level meter shows significant activity. If not, abort the test, and make another Microphone selection - repeating until you get some meter activity. The speaker level(s) should not need adjustment, as you have already set an appropriate overall volume above. (Moving closer to the mike will increase the output level. For participants only [not hosts unfortunately], you can also boost output by increasing the Sound volume slider.) Scroll down to see that the Automatically join audio with computer box is checked. Finally, and most importantly, you must click Save if you have changed anything on the page. These suggestions will hopefully solve any outgoing audio (mike) problem.

Once made, these revised settings should endure until your audio setup changes, or you adjust your computer and/or external speaker levels. Once you go through this audio setup, you only need tweak the speaker level(s) occasionally. If you again experience these audio issues, redo the above procedures. You - as well as various programs (particularly other virtual meeting software) - may often modify your audio setup, sometimes unbeknownst to you. Periodic review of your settings is highly appropriate.

For those struggling with ongoing computer audio/video issues: you might try joining or hosting meetings on a large tablet. With tablet (or smartphone) it is easier to position yourself closer to a wifi source and to insure good lighting (i.e., from the front). Probably most important: the mike and speaker issues discussed above are nonexistent (and headphones an easy plugin).


Your two best friends are the Mute and Video icons at the bottom of the screen. It is extremely helpful (and good net etiquette) to Mute yourself when you're not speaking. Doing so cuts way down on background noise and mike feedback. A simple computer option that turns Mute on or off is to tap on the space bar; if you are on computer, we urge you to make use of this feature. Audio feedback in particular can absolutely wreak havoc in a meeting.

A final note: At least one TriadEA member will enter the meeting 10 minutes before its scheduled start time, to help with any technical/user issues. (Feel free to come earlier; the door is always open, and there is no "waiting room".)

Ready to join us? If on a computer with Chrome or Edge, CLICK HERE; with another browser, CLICK HERE. If on a mobile device, click your RingCentral icon.

We look forward to welcoming you soon!


CONNECTIVITY TIPS FOR RINGCENTRAL VIDEO

Connectivity is largely a question of how much data can get into and out of your device in a given period of time. It's a data transfer or throughput rate. (How powerful your device is plays an important, if secondary role; but even recent, inexpensive tablets can minimally handle RingCentral Video meetings. The basic requirement is 1-2MB RAM and a quad-core processor.)

The ideal virtual meeting setup consists of a fairly recent desktop or laptop with high-speed internet (preferably cable). Your best connection is always via direct ethernet cable. With a wired connection, the distance between router and device is unimportant.

On the other hand, with wi-fi, distance is crucial, and should always be minimized. The fewer the objects and walls between router and device the better. With direct cable, the signal strength is constant; with wi-fi it varies, sometimes widely - causing dropouts. Wi-fi signal strength can also change from one connection to the next. If you've got a weak one, disconnect and try again.

Monitor the strength of your wi-fi connection either with its three-bar or radiating beam icon (the former within your RingCentral display, the latter on your device). Whenever the bars or beams are less than full, you will likely experience difficulty.

Tablets are somewhat problematic because they are not as powerful as computers, and so experience more connectivity issues. A Chromebook, in comparison, is a good and less expensive alternative, comparable in performance to a laptop. However, it must be a relatively recent model that runs Chrome v78+, and preferably includes 4MB RAM.

With less powerful devices, close proximity to your wi-fi router is mandatory. Reception falls off rapidly; beyond a room or two away you probably won't even be able to connect. Here, however, is where a Wi-fi Range Extender - an inexpensive device that you plug into a wall outlet - can be helpful. It's easily moveable, and can be positioned close to wherever your device is located. Its distance from your router is relatively unimportant; it's the close and unimpeded proximity of device to extender that is crucial.

The extender shows up as an alternate wi-fi selection on your device, and you can install multiple extenders if you like. (Your original wi-fi connection remains available.)

A few final suggestions: Don't use multiple wi-fi connections when you're in a meeting. Try to be the only one using your internet connection. Don't have any other applications running on your device either. Whatever you do, keep an eye on those bars and beams; otherwise your ability to see and hear others in a meeting - as well as to be seen and heard by others - may well be compromised.