Videoconferencing at UVa
For Off-Site Guests
Arranging a videoconference between a U.Va. endpoint and an off-site endpoint may require temporary reconfiguration of the remote endpoint. Connection requirements and suggestions are presented here.
Who provides videoconference services at U.Va.?
Information Technology Services (ITS) provides general central services to the U.Va. community. These include a gatekeeper, two Multipoint Control Units (MCU), configuration and testing assistance, other consultation as needed, and a website of information. Loan of Polycom ViewStation equipment is also available to U.Va. faculty and staff.
Other entities within U.Va. also offer videoconference services. These include
- U.Va. School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS)
- U.Va. Medical Center Office of Telemedicine
- ITS Labs & Classrooms
The staff of these units frequently find themselves working together to accomplish a successful videoconference.
What type of client?
H.323 (Internet-based) videoconferencing is the standard for most U.Va. videoconferences. H.320 (ISDN) and H.321 (ATM-based) services are available on a limited basis from SCPS. Many older legacy systems are H.320, which cannot communicate with an H.323 system unless it is routed via special equipment called a gateway. ITS does not offer a gateway service, but there are commercial providers of this service, or a company may have its own gateway available.
What kind of Internet connection?
U.Va. is a member of Internet 2. Thus, if an outside videoconference site is also a member of Internet 2 the network packets will travel over this large, uncongested pathway. This results in optimum videoconfrence performance. If an external site does not have an Internet 2 connection, the network traffic must travel via the commercial Internet. That traffic is then subject to less optimum conditions, which will impact videoconference quality. External sites can check the Internet 2 web page for their membership status.
Are multi-site conferences available?
Yes, but these are slightly more complicated than simple point-to-point videoconferences. U.Va. has a Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) that can be reached in one of two ways:
- ViDenet gatekeeper
Members of ViDenet have configured their gatekeepers to use a "hub" system for dialling address resolution. They can then make use of a Global Dialing Scheme (GDS) to access any other ViDenet-affiliated endpoint. U.Va. is a member of ViDenet. External sites that are also affiliated with ViDenet may access a videoconference on the U.Va. MCU by prepending "001179" to the identifier being used for a specific videoconference. Your UVa contact can supply this number.
- IP Address
Does your site have a firewall?
Firewalls and videoconferences don't mix well. Unless an external site has made special provision for firewall traversal by a videoconference endpoint, it is highly recommended that the external endpoint's network connection be placed outside their firewall. If the videoconference endpoint is software on a PC, the personal firewall should be temporarily turned off. Endpoints at U.Va. are generally not firewalled.
Page Updated: 2012-02-16