So here’s the problem. Everybody is in isolation and a long weekend is coming up – one of the few times a year some people get to see family and unwind with them! If only there was some way to see them and be with them from some distance away, while everyone is safe in quarantine.
Your solution: Zoom. Zoom is a video conferencing app that allows you to call groups of people from the comfort of your own home. It’s taken the world by storm, being used by people to socialize, hold work meetings and attend university lectures. In this article, we’re going through the ins and outs of Zoom, so if you want to video call your loved ones during the quarantine, you’ll know exactly what to do.
You should also check out this list of messenger apps to stay in touch!
Is Zoom free?
Yes! Zoom is free to an extent. You can use a free account version of Zoom and have unlimited calls with screen-sharing and group calls.
However, each free call is capped at 40 minutes. If you’d like to speak on a call for more than 40 minutes, you’ll need a paid account.
For free versions, you can have up to 100 participants, and for the paid versions, you can have up to 1,000!
Pricing for Zoom is pretty steep, but don’t worry – the features of the free version are very forgiving. Because the main intention for Zoom is businesses and universities, it’s priced around such, with the plans starting at $20.99USD a month.
Having a video call ready internet plan
You’ll need to make sure that your internet plan is ready for video calls! Video conferences chew through bandwidth, and the last thing you want is a laggy connection if you’re busy downloading something and in a Zoom call. We’ve put together a list of great Standard NBN 25 plans for you.
Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans
The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost (excluding discounts), from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
Or if you need a bit more kick out your NBN plan – for example, if you do a lot of high definition streaming or online gaming, we’ve got some great Standard Plus NBN 50 and Premium NBN 100 plans here.
Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans
The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans
The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
How do I use Zoom?
1. Setting up your account
Firstly, everybody involved needs to set up an account. It’s easy! You can use your personal email to sign up and login. Next, you’ll need to have the app installed – these two steps can be done from the Zoom website. For ease of access, you can also sign in with your Google or Facebook account. It’s a pretty standard account setup.
2. Downloading Zoom
From here you’ll want to click either ‘join a meeting’ or ‘host a meeting’, once you’re logged into the website. Clicking either of these will take you to a prompt getting you to download the Zoom app. Download the app, let it set up on your PC or Mac, and log into the app.
3. Starting a call
From here, you’ll have the Zoom app up on the screen of your computer. You’ll have to decide whether you’re the host or a participant, because that’s essential to getting the Zoom call working at all. Make sure everybody else knows if you’re hosting.
4. Hosting a call
Once you figure out if you’re hosting the call, click the “New Meeting” button. It will start your computer camera up, and you’ll get a bunch of buttons to press down the bottom. Notice the “Invite” button – click it and you’ll be prompted with a bunch of options. You can email an invitation out to people, or you can copy a URL link for people to join – this is great if you’re just going to text or Facebook message the meeting code to somebody. Make sure you also send the meeting password, or they wont be able to get in!
5. Joining a call
If you’re not the host, you’ll be waiting to receive an invitation to join the meeting. You’ll be sent a link and a password to use when you join the meeting – this could be emailed to you, texted to you or messaged to you, it’s really down to you and the host’s discretion as to how you get the invite.
6. Have fun!
From here, the call should be started! You can add up to 100 people to the meeting, so have fun chatting over the internet in these strange times. When you’re done chatting, click the “end meeting” button in the bottom right of the screen.
Is Zoom safe?
For general social use for seeing loved ones – absolutely! Use Zoom to your heart’s content. However, it’s been reported that “Zoom bombings” are a thing – where hackers can hijack video conferences and show things like pornographic material.
Zoom’s calls are also not protected by end-to-end encryption, which means that hackers can use Zoom to hijack your computer and have a look in your personal files. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about if you’re just calling loved ones, but try and steer clear if you’re using Zoom for business or for education purposes – it’s not ideal for that.
Since news organisations picked up on Zoom’s security flaws, they’ve made it a priority to patch these issues – it might be great to use for businesses one day, but not at the moment.