When evaluating video SDKs, it is crucial to zoom out and look at the big picture of performance under varying conditions and scenarios. That’s why we decided to take a deep dive comparing the performance of real-time video SDKs from Agora and Zoom.
This blog covers the key results from performance tests analyzing how Zoom and Agora’s SDKs compare to each other in four scenarios. For the full test setup, detailed results, and charts for each test case, check out the links to the specific blogs outlining each scenario here:
- 1:1 Desktop PC Video Calls
- Multi-Party Desktop PC Video Calls
- Multi-Party Mobile Video Calls
- Multi-Party Web Video Calls
1:1 Desktop PC Video Calls
In this test, we compare Agora and Zoom for 1:1 calling scenarios between PCs. You can view the full test setup, detailed results, and charts for this test here: Agora vs. Zoom Video SDK for 1:1 Desktop PC Video Calls.
- Normal network conditions: Under normal network conditions, the frame rate averaged 29 Frames Per Second (FPS) for Zoom and Agora, which is an expected value as frame rate will seldom maintain 30 FPS. The sending bitrate for Agora and Zoom was the same, however, Agora’s receive bitrate remained higher than Zoom.
- Packet loss and jitter: Overall, Agora maintained a higher bitrate through changing network conditions, providing users with a better-quality experience overall. As demonstrated, Agora’s bitrate adapts based on the network conditions to provide the best experience.
- 25% packet loss with 1Mbps network bandwidth limitation: After approximately 5 seconds of the throttle being applied Agora rapidly adapts to this situation and gets back to above 25 FPS, and then of course maintains that level after the throttle is lifted. Zoom, however, appears to be struggling at 0 FPS for over 15 seconds and then at less than 5 FPS on average while the limitation is still applied.
- 25% Downlink Packet Loss: Throughout the bitrate focused testing, Agora was able to adapt to the changing network conditions, maximize throughput, and maintain a quality video experience more consistently than Zoom.
Agora’s SDK maintained stable frame rate and bitrate under varying network limitations, particularly outperforming Zoom in conditions involving packet loss and jitter.
Multi-Party Desktop PC Video Calls
In this test, we compared how Agora and Zoom video SDKs performed side-by-side during Multi-Party Mobile Video Calls with up to 32 participants, under varying real-world network conditions. You can view the full test setup, detailed results, and graphs for this test here: Agora vs. Zoom Video SDK for Multi-Party Desktop PC Video Calls.
- Normal network conditions: Both Agora and Zoom performed well with fluent video and audio and with an average received frame rate between 27 and 28 Frames Per Second (FPS) in calls (8, 16, and 32 participants).
- 25% uplink packet loss: Agora holds a slight 2 to 3 FPS advantage against Zoom on the received frame rate in calls (8, 16 and 32 participants). Agora’s sent and received bitrate remained higher than Zoom.
- 25% downlink packet loss: Agora performs better than Zoom with a 4 to 6 FPS advantage against Zoom on the received frame rate in calls (8, 16, and 32 participants). Agora and Zoom had similar sent and received bitrate performance.
- 1Mbps bandwidth limit: Zoom dropped to 0 FPS for a few seconds and frozen video was experienced during that time. With Agora, no choppy or frozen video was observed. After the 1Mbps limit was removed, Agora recovered to achieve an average frame rate close to 25 FPS, while Zoom struggled to recover with significant fluctuations in FPS.
- 1 Mbps limit and 25% packet loss: the receive test PC measured a frame rate drop both for Zoom and Agora. Zoom dropped to 0 FPS for over 15 seconds total and frozen video was experienced during that time. After the impairments were removed, Agora recovered to achieve a higher average received frame rate (FPS) than Zoom.
The Agora SDK demonstrated considerable advantages and adaptability under all network scenarios. Agora performed more reliably and efficiently overall, especially under more challenging conditions. When network conditions changed and degraded, Zoom froze or had choppy video while Agora delivered fluent, natural audio and video.
Multi-Party Mobile Video Calls
In this test, we looked at how the Agora and Zoom video SDKs performed side-by-side during multi-party mobile video calls with up to 32 participants, under varying real-world network conditions. You can view the full test setup detailed results, and graphs for this test here: Agora vs. Zoom Video SDK for Multi-Party Mobile Video Calls.
- Normal network conditions: Agora and Zoom performed similarly. However, Agora outperformed Zoom by 2 Frames Per Second (FPS). With fluent video and audio, and an average received frame rate of 26 FPS, Agora outpaced Zoom’s 24 FPS.
- 25% uplink packet loss: Agora held steady maintaining an FPS advantage of 2 at 25 FPS. Zoom dropped to a frame rate of 23.
- 25% downlink packet loss: Agora outperformed Zoom with a 5 FPS advantage against Zoom on the received frame rates. Agora 25 FPS, Zoom 20 FPS.
- 600ms uplink and downlink jitter: Agora holds steady at 23 FPS, while Zoom drops precipitously to 3 FPS on uplink and 4 FPS on downlink, a result that is generating a very choppy video and participants possibly dropping the call.
- Low bandwidth of 500Kbps: Agora performs much better than Zoom. Zoom dropped to 0 FPS for over 10 seconds total with frozen video, then struggled for 20 seconds to recover to 25 FPS.
While Zoom and Agora performed similarly under some scenarios in this test, Agora maintained more fluent, natural audio and video with more consistent frame rates. When jitter and low bandwidth were applied, Zoom froze, delivered choppy video, and was slow to recover while Agora maintained performance.
Multi-Party Web Video Calls
This test compares the Agora and Zoom Video SDKs, examining how each performed during multi-party web video calls with 32 participants. You can view the full test setup, detailed results and graphs for this test here: Agora vs. Zoom Video SDK for Multi-Party Web Video Calls.
- Normal network conditions: The frame rate (FPS) for each was steady, 23 FPS for Agora and 21 FPS for Zoom.
- Packet loss and jitter: Agora consistently achieved a better frame rate than Zoom under numerous conditions, including when the network had uplink/downlink packet loss of 25%, as well as in cases where the uplink/downlink experienced jitter of 600ms.
- Limited bandwidth: When throttling to 1Mbps on the send side and then on the receive side, Agora performed significantly better than Zoom, rapidly recovering to 23 FPS once the throttle was removed. It took Zoom 30 seconds to recover to 13 FPS.
- 25% packet loss with 1Mbps network bandwidth limitation: Agora rapidly recovered to a frame rate near 23 FPS, while Zoom struggled to recover to a much lower frame rate near 15 FPS. Zoom had a frozen video for 18 seconds while the limitations were present.
- CPU and RAM: Agora consistently consumed fewer CPU resources vs. Zoom and had lower RAM usage than Zoom.
The Agora Video SDK outperformed Zoom in poor network scenarios, recovering much more quickly and avoiding freezes. The Agora SDK also used less RAM and CPU resources than Zoom.
Each of these four comprehensive tests comparing Zoom and Agora’s video SDKs examined various common video call scenarios and conditions. Here’s a recap with the main takeaways from each comparison of the Agora and Zoom video SDKs:
- For 1:1 video calling scenarios between PCs, the Agora SDK performed better than Zoom in every scenario, with stark advantages in common scenarios with packet loss and jitter.
- For multi-host video calls on PCs, Agora outperformed Zoom in all five scenarios, but Agora’s advantages were especially noticeable under more challenging conditions.
- For multi-party mobile video calls, Zoom and Agora performed similarly in some scenarios, but Agora maintained more fluent, natural audio and video with more consistent frame rates in all cases.
- For multi-party web video calls, Agora outperformed the Zoom SDK in all scenarios, while avoiding freezes and recovering more quickly and while using less RAM and CPU resources.
When it comes to real-time communication, the ability to deliver a high-quality and consistent end user experience is critical. Our testing shows that Agora consistently outperforms Zoom in common RTC scenarios. Agora’s performance advantages become more pronounced in any scenarios involving challenging conditions like limited bandwidth, jitter, and packet loss. Agora has such a large advantage in these conditions because the SDK runs on Agora’s global SD-RTN (Software Defined Real Time Network™), which uses AI to intelligently route traffic for optimal performance, even when local network conditions are poor.
At Agora, our customers—ranging from some of the largest social media companies in the world to innovative bootstrapped startups—continue to leverage our SDKs to easily integrate video, voice, and interactive live streaming experiences into their applications. We empower developers to deliver best-in-class real-time experiences, offering simple implementation and flexible customization with global scalability.