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Video conferencing - connecting with external sites

Video conferencing - connecting with external sites

Video conferencing is a great way to collaborate with colleagues external to Deakin University - whether they're in another city, or even another country. A number of factors need to be considered when determining the best method for connecting with an external site.

Choosing the best video conferencing option

The following methods are available when determining the best connection type for a video conference with an external party:

  • Virtual Meeting Point (VMP)
  • Scheduled video conference
  • Direct dialing

Virtual Meeting Point

Virtual Meeting Points (VMPs) are the preferred method of video conferencing with externals. All sites dial the same VMP to have a conference together.

There are several ways to connect to a VMP. The method they use to dial depends on the connectivity of the external video conference site:

  • SIP and H.323 URI Dialling: Most video conference systems will use URI dialling, this is our preferred method. In URI dialling, the call is made using the IP network, and the address looks like an email address.
        Example: To connect to the Test VMP 36910 using URI dialling - URI Dial 36910@conference.deakin.edu.au  
  • Telephone Dialling: Call (+613) 92517000 wait for prompt, enter the 5 Digit VMP number followed by #Example: Call (+613) 92517000 wait for prompt, 36910#

If an external participant is joining a VMP, it is recommended to do a test call beforehand as issues such as the external participant's site firewall may prevent the participant from joining. The Test VMP conference may be dialled at any time. You may connect to the Test VMP from a Deakin video conference unit by dialling 36910

 

More Info on VMPs

Scheduled video conference connection

In order to schedule a video conference with an external site, we need to know the URI Address of the external site, contact details for their technical staff and the type of video conferencing equipment being utilised.  The URI can be SIP or H.323.  Example URI: loopback@cisco.com

eSolutions is happy to undertake a test call with the external site you wish to connect to in order to identify the best method of connection. We do this on request; please be sure to let us know if you would like a test call made. We prefer five days' notice for this service. The Remote Site Details form will help guide you in providing the information we require. At a minimum we require;

  • The URI Address (SIP or H.323 URI)
  • The phone number and/or contact details of the person at the remote site. Preferably this person should be familiar with videoconferencing. It may also be beneficial to provide the technical contact details at the remote site.
  • Optional: Make and model of the external's video conference system

Direct dialing

Deakin video conference sites can make outgoing calls to external sites using URI Address. There are no charges associated with a Deakin video conference unit direct dialing an external site via URI.

 

How to direct dial using the 'Cisco Touch 8' or 'Cisco Touch 10' Touch Screen

    1. Touch the screen to wake it up and select Dial.


       
    2. Select the Keyboard button.


       
    3. Type in the external site's URI address and select Call.


      Example: URI address

 

When the video conference has been connected, a short message to indicate the bandwidth that the call has been connected at (e.g. '768kbps', '1536kbps', '4096kbps') will appear on the video conference unit screen. The higher the number, the higher the quality you can expect from the video conference. Calls connected at less than 768kbps are likely to be poor quality with pixelated images of the participants at the external site.

 

Common problems and basic troubleshooting steps

 

Symptom Advice
When attempting to direct dial the external site, the error message 'Destination unreachable' is displayed on the video conference unit.

This error is often seen when the IP address of the external site is not a public IP address, or is not reachable on the public internet. eSolutions will need to work with the external site to find out their public IP address or find an alternative method of connecting.


Firewalls at the external site can often be a cause of this error because the videoconferencing IP traffic generally needs to go through a firewall on the external site, then through the Deakin firewall.
Again, eSolutions will need to work with technicians from the external site to find an appropriate method to connect.

The quality of the video conference is poor - the video is pixelated or jumpy.

If you are connecting via IP, the underlying internet connection to the external site may be slow or unreliable.
You may need to try again at another time, preferably when the external site's internet connection is not in a peak period of use.

 

The time arranged for the video conference is incorrect.

Please be aware if videoconferencing overseas that you may be meeting with people in a different time zone.
For reference, all Deakin video conference units are in the following time zone: GMT + 10:00hrs Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane. During daylight savings this changes to: GMT + 11:00hrs Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane.

 

In a scheduled video conference or Virtual Meeting Point (VMP), the external site has difficulty joining the conference by connecting to the Deakin video conferencing bridge and entering a Numeric ID.

If the external site is dialling in to Deakin to join a scheduled video conference or a VMP they will need to either enter a Numeric ID (such as 36910#) when joining the bridge or use the Far End Camera Control (FECC) keys on their remote control to navigate the menu shown.


Ensure that the remote party enters the correct Numeric ID, followed by the '#' (hash) key. The conferencing system refers to # as the pound key which can be confusing.

 


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