- I want to videoconference to a remote site. What do I do?
- If the external site does not have an existing videoconference system, what advice can I give?
- If the open internet is not 100% reliable, how should I plan for contingencies?
- Webcams, Microsoft Netmeeting and many other webcam-based packages are available. What role do these have at RMIT?
I want to videoconference to a remote site. What do I do?
You need to determine whether or not there is sufficient bandwidth to the remote location. Discuss with the external group the availability of internet connectivity at their site. Specifically determine the network speed and internet reliability available at their location. You will also need to determine whether or not they have a firewall between the computer used for the videoconferencing and the internet. Following this, contact the IT Service Desk to arrange a trial videoconference connection.
If the external site does not have an existing videoconference system, what advice can I give?
Recommend the external site acquire a videoconferencing device that is compatible with the H.323 protocols that will connect to contemporary Polycom or Tandberg units.
Contact the IT Service Desk to establish the necessary quality of service with the external group.
Full and complete testing must occur before formal videoconferencing sessions can be planned. Advise the external group that the PC used for videoconferencing must have a secured configuration to ensure reliability of operation.
If the open internet is not 100% reliable, how should I plan for contingencies?
Videoconferencing places a high demand on network performance. The reality is that networks can fail and that network traffic can be intermittent. If network performance drops off, then the videoconferencing link will be lost.
With most videoconference products the diminishment of the videoconferencing service will occur in the following order:
- A warning sign appears on screen (indicating network performance problems)
- Videoconferencing signal is lost
- Audio signal degrades… then stops.
It is therefore necessary that contingency planning occur prior to any external videoconferencing session. This will ensure that alternative actions can be taken in the event that the network link is lost or becomes unworkable.
Before commencing a videoconferencing session, communicate clearly to the remote group what will occur in the event of a communication failure.
Some recommendations are:
- Exchange telephone numbers to enable communication in the event of a videoconferencing network failure
- It may be possible to telephone conference to the remote location
- Publish the presentation on a web site for use if the videoconferencing link is not available
- Have a backup scheduled booking for videoconferencing to occur if the planned session is halted
- Always have the contact telephone number for technical assistance at the remote location.