Videoconferencing at UVa
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.
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.
- VCON vPoint HD (Basic Instructions)
- Polycom PVX (Basic Instructions)
- Note: Use version 8.04 with Windows 7 (available on Polycom's website). The Polycom site does not (yet) mention Windows 7, but local testing has determined that version 8.04 does work with Windows 7.
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