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Videoconferencing update A. Flavell, Glasgow Univ. For HEPSYSMAN meeting July 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Videoconferencing update A. Flavell, Glasgow Univ. For HEPSYSMAN meeting July 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Videoconferencing update A. Flavell, Glasgow Univ. For HEPSYSMAN meeting July 2004

2 Overview Technologies and protocols CSMM Working Group Services JVCS services bundle (studio-class upwards) JVCS Conference on Demand (ad hoc H.323) ESnet (ECS) services bundle (USA AUP) VRVS services bundle Access Grid (AG) GDS Global dial(l)ing Scheme Kit and client software

3 Technologies: protocols H.323: industry standard for v.c. over IP Vic/rat: early apps from Mbone, still used and developed by VRVS, by AccessGrid, and others; unicast and multicast-capable. SIP: lightweight protocol, VoIP and low- end videoconf., increasing in importance H.320/ISDN: fading (but some kinds of user insist on ISDN for confidentiality...)

4 * CSMM Working Group Christian Helft (LAL) is chairing a HEPCCC-HTASC working group on videoconferencing, with an international membership. Meetings are in the CERN Agenda system. Several meetings have been held this year with video participation

5 Services: JVCS JVCS = JVCSS (ISDN) + JVCS-IP (H.323) H.323 Kit was purchased centrally and deployed to sites. This is 2Mb/s studio-quality kit. Kit includes local gatekeepers. Users with own kit (hardware codec and Q/A testing are mandatory) may join via their campus v.c administration and gatekeeper. Sessions must be booked

6 JVCS continued QA tests at 6month intervals. (Else as "guest".) Bookable service intended for studio- or room-sized, not personal systems. JVCS also offers a separate data-sharing service, using the data sharing component of Windows NetMeeting.

7 * Conference on Demand (CoD) New JVCS H.323 offering, ~= to ESnet ad-hoc Pilot operation now open for applicants Low-end clients can use the system Must be booked, but booking can be immediate Uses Global Dialling Scheme Registration either via campus gatekeeper (preferred?) or direct with the service (discussed shortly)

8 * CoD Registration? CoD web page says register your existing E.164 GDS identity, or sign up for one of theirs Seems to me that longer-term, one will need a campus-based registration scheme anyway Glasgow networking staff are tending towards asking users to register with them first and then sign-up for CoD, but there's no definite scheme in place yet Campus identity will be more evidently associated with campus; any special networking requirements (firewall, QoS) can be more-effectively dealt with.

9 * CoD Registration...? There may be other situations where you need to use your campus GK; and reconfiguring H.323 clients is a chore. For all these reasons, I'd recommend taking advice on your own campus before signing up for CoD. PDF manual is online from the web page

10 * Using CoD Registered users access the system by a web page The system calls the participants who have been configured into the conference. Others can be added later, even while conference in progress Guest participants can be included by IP address or by GDS E.164 identity. Note the benefit of an E.164 identity for users who have a dynamic IP. Voice-switched or "continuous presence" modes Various chair-control features are available Overall it looks impressive.

11 ESnet ("ECS") ESnet AUP requires USA participation in principle Users of ECS services must in general register for use beforehand. Unregistered users cannot simply walk up and get service. New bookable system now in service, includes ISDN and H.323/IP connections, replacing old "DCS" under the general "ECS" banner Expanded H.323 "ad hoc" service A separate ECS service (MeetingPlace) offers data sharing plus voice-only phone conferencing

12 ESnet ECS Ad-hoc H.323 service: in general approves only hardware-based codecs, but GnomeMeeting now also permitted, and some users are reporting good results. Use the ALSA sound system! ESnet uses own H.323 addressing space: only very limited interworking with the Global scheme (GDS) In practice, many users of the old ISDN DCS have migrated to H.323 ad-hoc instead of the new bookable service Phone dial-in to ad-hoc meetings: 1-510-883-7860 and at the prompt, key the meeting-id followed by the # sign, e.g 821234#

13 ESnet user experience Our CDF users used DCS successfully via H.323 gateway for a long time. They were also early adopters of the ECS ad-hoc H.323 facility, and use it frequently. This with our Zydacron, or with ViaVideo (software version 2.2, or 5). Also used from laptop on wireless LAN; from home on cable... The ad hoc MCU does NOT have rate matching, and requires G.711 64k for audio (awkward for 128k home cable access; fine from 256k cable).

14 ESnet user experience... A large-ish multipoint meeting was held by the CSMM (meeting 2), with audio/video via the ad hoc H.323, and data sharing via MeetingPlace. Some teething problems with the data sharing, as many participants were using it for the first time; but overall good results. Several participants presented application windows or whole desktops during the course of the meeting. Cluttered screen display - probably best to have separate displays or even separate PCs/laptops for the video and for the data sharing.

15 VRVS Users must register and assign a password Several dedicated communities. Users outside those communities register in Universe Service offerings as before: browser-based control panel, vic/rat, H.323 etc., chat window, data sharing via VNC. Added SIP. Browser compatibility improved.

16 VRVS user experience Experience with the new VRVS version is good. Chief problems with VRVS are casual users with random PC hardware. Regular users typically get better results. Poor video display on some H.323 clients (Zydacron, GnomeMeeting) can be worked- around by going to the video display mode menu and choosing "All Streams": the VRVS server then launches vic and the H.323 video display can be minimised.

17 AccessGrid An ambitious multi-site continuous-presence studio-quality offering. Based on IP multicast (this still causes some problems at the edges.) I'm showing Glasgow just as an example... Glasgow eScience accessgrid node in our building, V.good results, but needs an operator. Somewhat incompatible with other technologies.

18 AccessGrid (2) Central video studio is also setup for AG Excellent for large-scale multi-site events Our users want less-formal self service day to day working contacts which don't involve planning, booking, going to a special room, needing an operator...

19 H.323 GDS: Global Dialling Scheme A world-wide dialling scheme for H.323 analogous to international telephone dialling, see 0 or 0 JVCS-IP participates in the scheme and uses it Example 004401158215454: 00 = international prefix, 44=GB/UK, 01158 is JVCS->Glasgow Univ., and 215454 is our Zydacron (while registered to the campus GK) ESnet does not use this scheme; access to/from it is quite limited (security worries).

20 * Kit purchase offers an updated review of: products costing from zero (given a suitable equipped PC), up to £15K and more, for different kinds of requirement and reports of interoperability testing

21 Kit purchase (2) If just VRVS is required, then anything which supports vic/rat will do (webcam etc) but beware of kooky audio. *Full duplex driver* (ALSA) For H.323, find out whether software codecs (e.g NetMeeting or GnomeMeeting) are acceptable to your MCU provider, or not. (Often "not", for justifiable reasons). Hardware codecs generally support only Windows OSes (or are self-contained products)

22 Kit purchase (3) ESnet evaluated new VCON Vigo package launched in USA, and were well impressed. USB- connected; allows external video input; also delivers a software codec (cannot be purchased separately) for travel use etc. US$699 - still awaiting European launch of the new model? Polycom Viavideo II - new model hardware (clue: grey instead of black). Current software (v5.1) supports both models. Eye-candy UI is not well liked by some, but it works.

23 Conclusions Desktop videoconferencing is working for the community: several groups say we couldn't have survived without. There are some glitches, complexity, and duplication of service offerings, but not of our making. For studio work we still look to our central campus service, or AG. Some other groups have own kit. AG good for big jamborees, less so for everyday I still feel that data-sharing is under-used, maybe because of the different service offerings and user perception of complexity, but I'd recommend promoting its use.

24 The End

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