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Videoconferencing at UVa

Desktop Videoconferencing

H.323 (or Internet-based) videoconferencing can be done from a U.Va. office using an existing computer. Endpoints can range from inexpensive to more expensive.

H.323 videoconferencing is primarily a PC-based technology at this time. The status of Macintosh and Linux platforms is here

A videoconference client is referred to as an endpoint. This term encompasses hardware, software, and appliance-based resources for videoconferencing. Desktop videoconferencing can be accomplished using any one of these types of endpoints.

Software Endpoints

A software endpoint is an application that allows use of pre-existing hardware (camera and microphone) on a PC. Several years ago Microsoft NetMeeting was the only software endpoint available. It is still included in the XP operating system, although the standard configuration does not provide a link from the Start menu.

Now, manufacturers of hardware-based solutions have started to make their software interface available for use with pre-existing webcams and microphones as current PCs have proven capable of running software-based CODECs.

Hardware Endpoints

In past years this type of endpoint would consist of a kit that included a card to be installed in the PC, a camera, a microphone and handset, and software. More recently, the separately-installed hardware has been transformed into a tiny module that is included within the supplied camera, and communicates with the host PC via a USB connection. The software is still separately installed. These hardware endpoints are more than just a nicer camera -- the additional module is a hardware-based CODEC (jargon for a coder/decoder) that processes the video and audio signals.

  • Polycom ViaVideo (Basic Instructions)

    Note: this product is no longer sold, but will be supported by Polycom until 09/30/2010 (according to their website).

  • VCON Vigo (Basic Instructions)

    Note: The Vigo is no longer listed as a product on the Emblaze website, but is still being supported at this time.

What to do about Firewalls

A personal firewall on your computer is problematic, but can be easily turned on and off to allow videoconferencing. This guide presents troubleshooting methods and advice.

Good news for home users: Chances are that your home DSL hardware has a firewall that kept you from using a personal endpoint like Polycom PVX. If you use UVa Anywhere you will be able to connect to a U.Va.-based videoconference endpoint.

Page Updated: 2013-12-19