University of Vermont

Information Technology

Recommended Hardware and Configurations

In order to telecommute efficiently and successfuly, the following hardware specifications are recommended:

  • a laptop, notebook, tablet, or otherwise portable computer with a minimum of 2 GB of memory, with power cable
  • audio input (microphone) and output (speakers or headphones)
  • webcam or other video relaying device

Setting up audio

Audio systems are frequently the most troublesome component of remote teleconferencing so you'll need to be careful about your audio setup. In many cases, sound input and output can be handled through your computer's internal (built-in) devices, but for better quality and performance we recommend that you upgrade to external hardware, especially for microphones. You can buy combination headphones/microphones, or rely on your computer's speakers for sound and use a headset microphone-only.

For sound output, you have the option of using your computer's internal speaker(s), external speakers of your choice, or a headset with earphones. Earphones can be uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time, but allow you to listen privately without disturbing those around you. If you use internal or external speakers, be careful not to position the microphone in front of them or you may generate "feedback" – the squealing sound you sometimes hear in audio systems. Again, the best option for extended use is a headphone/microphone combination.

For sound input, if you plan to use voice-over-IP, digital audio recording, or webconferencing services through your computer, it is recommended that you use an external microphone, rather than the internal microphone that comes with your computer.

Microphone set-up (Windows)
  1. Plug the microphone jack into the matching port on your computer
  2. Make sure the microphone volume on your headset is set to high or low (not mute)
  3. On your computer, go to Start > Control Panel* > Hardware & Sound** > Sound***
  4. Under Sound, click on Manage audio devices**
  5. Select the Recording tab, select your microphone (probably the icon with the green check mark), then select Configure in the lower left
  6. From the Speech Recognition menu, select Set up microphone
  7. Choose headset microphone and click Next
  8. Click Next
  9. Read the test sentence and then click Next
  • * Windows 8 & up: type "Control Panel" to search for it if it's not in your Start screen/menu.
  • ** Only appears if viewing control panels by category.
  • *** Windows 8 & up: type "Sound" to find it quickly.
Microphone set-up (Mac)
  1. Plug the microphone jack into the matching port on your Mac
  2. Make sure the microphone volume on your headset is set to high or low (not mute)
  3. On your Mac, open System Prefences > Sound > Input tab
  4. Select the your external microphone in the list, then adjust the Input volume level using the Input level meter below the slider.

Setting up video

Most newer laptop PCs and all Mac laptops come with built-in video camera or web camera (webcam). If your PC doesn't have a video camera and you wish to use video chat, webconferencing, or videoconferencing services, external webcams can be purchased for $40-$100. For PCs, the software for the webcam should come with the camera. Install the software per the instructions that are included with the camera. If you no longer have the instructions, go to the vendor's website and download the appropriate software.

Last modified October 06 2016 09:46 AM

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