One user can be heard, but hears no one else

Until last Saturday we had been using a private Jitsi server configured on a Debian VPS about July 2020. We used it 1-2 times per week; it worked acceptably well most of the time. As of last Saturday, that no longer works for us (which I may address as a separate topic later). On Saturday I tried to switch to the public servers, but I could not create a usable conference for our group of 6. So four split off to use Zoom, and I tried to find a configuration that would work with the public server at meet.jit.si.

In my testing, a Chromebook using the Chrome browser to connect, and a Samsung Android tablet using the Chrome browser to connect, worked fine. (the new Android app, released a few days ago, on the Samsung tablet was not reliable.) So, I arranged for a test with me on the Chromebook, my wife on the Samsung Tablet and Chrome, and two other people using Chrome browsers on laptops with OS not known to me. Worked fine. Tonight, we had our weekly boardgame session with my mother-in-law and various friends and relatives. These are the same people and the same computers that we have had successful conferences with weekly on the private server for more than a year. My mother-in-law uses a dedicated Chromebook for the conference – only used for Jitsi conferences. We could hear her, but she could not hear any of the other four people in the conference. She configured the Grid view, and reported that all other users showed as muted. They were not, because I could hear them. The rest of us all disabled video, because sometimes reducing the required bandwidth helps. Nope.

Suggestions for how to track down what I need to fix to make conferences work on the public server?

Ken

You need to update to the latest stable. You are hitting the problem where chrome browser has dropped support for PlanB and you need one of the last few stable releases to be able to support UnifiedPlan.

And you say it was not working for you and on meet.jit.si … that would be strange?

Damencho:

Thank you for the reference to findable terms (“PlanB” and “UnifiedPlan”) in your response. I suspected that browsers had moved on from the stable release circa July 2020. I stopped updating circa Sept. 2020 because my attempt to move to a more recent stable version failed after several attempts. I am reluctant to invest time in updating the private server if I cannot make conferences work on the public server.

“And you say it was not working for you and on meet.jit.si … that would be strange?”

I do not merely say so, it was so, though I have no concrete evidence to offer. That was an unpleasant surprise, because I had run the 4-user test on meet.jit.si just fine two days earlier. I would still be very grateful to receive pointers on how to track down what I need to fix when a conference fails in the ‘one user can be heard, but hears no one else’ mode.

Otherwise, we had a long good run with Jitsi. The fact that it did not require installing clients other than a Chrome or recent Edge browser was a huge plus for us. Some of our attendees lack technical skills, two have been burned by conference client installs that left systems unusable, some fall in both categories. I am very thankful to the sponsors and developers of the project; I am not sure there exists a paid service that will meet our needs so well as Jitsi did during the roughly 20 months since I set up that private server.

Regards,

Ken

So, I guess no one else has useful experience where one user can be heard, but hears no one else when using meet.jit.si. The user receiving no sound sees all other users as muted.

I completely believe that the problem is caused by the client software (Chrome browser on old Chromebook), or a problem with the user’s network connection, or ? on their end. I was just hoping someone here could point me in a more limited direction before I replace everything but the user.

Regards,

Ken

Usually the way it goes is if you experience an issue in your private server and can replicate the same issue on meet.jit.si, there’s a strong chance the issue is server-side (meaning something in Jitsi).

But if that issue is experienced by just one (or a specific set) of your users, if no one else outside of your group (meaning other users on meet.jit.si) is reporting the same issue, then it’s almost certainly something with that user’s setup (meaning network, machine e.t.c…).

Your case sounds like the latter. I think I’ve seen someone else in the community report some issues with Chromebook. That’s where you should focus your investigation.

Executive Summary: User had Chromebook which lost support in 2019. Chrome 76 vs. 96.

Timeline (Approximate)

Mar 2020: I set up Jitsi on a rented Debian Linux VPS. Jitsi uses WebRTC. Apparently, (learned later), the ‘PlanB’ aspect of WebRTC.

Apr 2020: Begin using that server for weekly board game night with my mother-in-law and for every two week Tarok games with my local group.

Jun 2020: Last update to Jitsi on rented VPS

Sep 2020: Jitsi updates available and easy to install for rented VPS: aptitude update, aptitude safe-upgrade. But, the configuration files contents required have changed, and I cannot find instructions that allow my preferred configuration, where you must log in to create a conference. Drop back to version circa June 2020.

Dec 2021: An attempt to use a conference for Tarok games on the public servers fails. Dropping back to the rented VPS server fails. Investigation begins.

Learn that Jitsi Meet App, version 21.6.0, released early Dec 2021, when used on a Samsung Tab A from 2019, makes conferences on the public server behave poorly. Fortunately a work-around exists – use Chrome Browser on the Tab A. instead.

Learn that current browsers have dropped ‘PlanB’ WebRTC in favor of ‘UnifiedPlan’ WebRTC. Rented VPS won’t work with modern browsers without an upgrade to Jitsi on the rented VPS.

An attempt to set up a conference to support board game night on the public servers works for every user but one. That user can be heard, but hears no one else. Discover that the Chromebook used by that user lost update support two years ago, and is therefore roughly 20 versions (76 vs 96) behind. Order new Chromebook for that user.

Chromebook support cutoff seems to occur based on the type of device. I was able to find dates by device type here: