This article is written for our customer's Help Desk agent to help them diagnosing common webcam issues.
There are a few issues that may prevent a user from sharing their webcam.
1. Unable to find available webcams
When the user clicks to share their webcam, the browser will first search for available webcams.
If none are available, you will see a NotReadableError: Could not start video source message.
This error is caused when there are no available webcam sources. The reasons for this are
- Another application (such as skype) is using the webcam and won't release it
- You have an older version of ManyCam installed (Windows 10)
First, if you have ManyCam installed, upgrade it to the latest version.
Second, restart your computer. This clears any access to you webcam so that the browser can access it.
2. Latest version of FireFox, Chrome, or Edge
While there are checks in BigBlueButton to warn the user, in general the user should use the latest version of Chrome, FireFox, or Edge (which as of version 18 is based on Chromium).
Users of the older version of Edge will have intermittent success sharing their webcam.
3. Permission not granted to share webcam
If the user didn't grant permission, there will be webcam icon on the browser's tool bar with a slash '/' through it. Click that icon will give the user another change to grant permissions (a refresh of the page may be needed).
4. Error Establishing Connection (1020)
If there is an error setting up a network connection with the BigBlueButton server, the user will get "Error 1020: media could not reach the server". The issue is usually network-related (usually due to a firewall).
Have them visit
and try sharing their webcam within a test session. This will test on a completely different BigBlueButton server.
If they are unable to share their webcam on test.bigbluebutton.org as well, then the issue might be their network related, in which case try
- Have them switch between FireFox or Chrome (there are rare cases where one works and the other does not)
- If possible, have them setup a wireless hot spot with their phone. This will keep everything the same, but use a different network path.
If it works on the hot spot, but not on their default network, then the issue is very likely network/firewall related. Explore if there is an option to use an alternative network.
If it does not work on the hotspot -- that is, they have tried two different BigBlueButton servers (from their LMS and test.bigbluebutton.org) and two different network connections (default and hotspot) -- then the issue is likely with their computer. See if there is a different computer available to them on the same network and then have them test sharing a webcam with https://test.bigbluebutton.org/.
If this second computer also fails, then there may be a firewall restricting UDP connections in the range 16384 - 32768 somewhere between their local network and the BigBlueButton server (either from their LMS or test.bigbluebutton.org).