Audio Conference Bridge other than Meetingplace?

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Dec 29th, 2008
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We are in the process of migrating our remaining legacy phones to IP Phones with callmanger 7. For this project I need to get a replacement for our legacy 48 port audio conference bridge that is part of the old legacy phone system. Cisco recomends Meetingplace for this, but I really only need basic audio conferencing (for both inside and outside callers). What other options are there other than meetingplace or meetingplace express for this? I'm trying to do this as cost effective as possible.

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Jaime Valencia Mon, 12/29/2008 - 09:26
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use the built-in CFB if you only need audio, the limitation is only G711 and wideband codecs, 128 simultaneous streams max.


HTH


java


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NPT_2 Mon, 12/29/2008 - 09:35
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I thought about doing that, but is there a way you can set a DID number to dial in to the CFB? As far as I knew with the built in CFB you could only create conferences for IP Phones and not external inbound callers?

Jaime Valencia Mon, 12/29/2008 - 09:41
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you can use meet-me if you need external users to join, be aware meet-me requires an internal users to initiate and there is no way external users can be the 1st participant


HTH


java


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NPT_2 Mon, 12/29/2008 - 09:44
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Unfortunately that will not work for us since we typically have 10 or 20 external callers and it would be disruptive to have to call all of them rather than just give them all a dial in number.


Any other suggestions?

Jaime Valencia Mon, 12/29/2008 - 09:51
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??????


u do know how meet-me works right???

NPT_2 Mon, 12/29/2008 - 10:01
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Meet me doesn't provide an external number though right? As far as I knew it was pretty much for internal IP Phone users and external callers could not join unless they are called? Is that not correct?

Jaime Valencia Mon, 12/29/2008 - 10:09
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well my friend you're absolutely wrong


meet-me DN is no different from the DN in your phone. it can be a DID if you want or you can set a translation pattern to reach it if you don't want users to know the real DN (both internal and external users)


ANYONE that can reach the DN you assigned by any means, can join the conference


you could even reach unity, a system call handler, dial the meet-me and join


HTH


java


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NPT_2 Mon, 12/29/2008 - 10:14
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My mistake, I guess I'm a little rusty on meet-me. With your info a touch of reading I have a good idea of how this works now. Thanks for your patience.


If we need a conference bridge that will let external callers be the first caller, is there another way to do this? Meet-me is almost what I need but I would like this to be as easy as dialing a certain number for all participants.

Jaime Valencia Mon, 12/29/2008 - 10:19
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no, since it requires pressing a softkey and dialing the DN to start the conference, there is no way to emulate this from a land line. you need someone internal to initiate the conference or use VPN + IPC to initiate it


once it's started then anyone can just dial in


HTH


java


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Sushil Kumar Katre Mon, 12/29/2008 - 20:14
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Hi,


Just to add to the excillent information provided by Java, one aspect you need to consider is securing the meetings.


Now imagine a case where you use the software conference bridge of Callmanager and the Meet-Me DN is mapped to a DID, so that external users can call that number and join the meeting.


As already pointed, the internal user initiates the meeting and now the meeting is open, anyone from the outside/internal world can dial the meet-me number (provided they are aware of the number) and can join the ongoing conference, which is not secured.


By default the Meet-Me conference provided by callmanager is not password protected and especially in your case since the bridge will be open for PSTN users, there is no way to control as to who is joining in to the meeting. If that's fine with you then you can definitely go for this solution. Otherwise just search the forum and you'll find multiple posts on how to control the users who can join the meeting.


Another point is that with Meet-Me there is a limitation of 100 maximum users in software conference bridge of CCM and it supports G.711 calls only. If you have internal users dialling from some remote location using G.729, make sure you have transcoding resources at the CCM site.


-> Sushil

NPT_2 Tue, 12/30/2008 - 08:51
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Thank you Sushil and Java for the great insights.

jaregalado Tue, 12/30/2008 - 09:27
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Hi


We once had the need to provide audio conferencing services to one of our clients with these specific requirements laid out:


1. Password protected access

2. Anyone can start the conference


Meetingplace Express can do that and much more, but that is the problem as MPE turns out to fulfill much more than the basic requirements but you also end up paying a lot more, thus the client turned down our initial MPE offer.


Researching for similar products on the market we found MeetingConect from Telrad Networks. The system is now up and running and it integrates without a glitch with CUCM 6.1 via H.323 trunk. Other versions of CUCM may work too.


As a bonus this system has a very nice web scheduling interface. You can even schedule conferences using phones (any phone) and Outlook. Unfortunately right now Cisco does not have something like this hitting the middle ground between raw MeetMe Conference Bridge and full blown Meetingplace Express.


More info on this product can be found here:


http://www.connectconferencing.com/user/UserFiles/File/MeetingConnect%20brochure.pdf


Regards.

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