Meeting Place Express

Unanswered Question
Jul 10th, 2009

Hi All,

We currently have Cisco Meeting place that we are using for meetings within our LAN. I am looking into the possibility of using meeting place express for our boardroom meetings. by that I mean that we should be able to make videon conference calls from our boardroom via or Cisco Call Manger to any outside PSTN destination with any type on video conference equipment. also, I should be able to use the boardroom's Audio Visual equipments.

Is this kind of setup possible? Or do we have something that can be added from the Cisco products line?

Your help will be highly appreciated.

Kind Regards,

I have this problem too.
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Jonathan Schulenberg Fri, 07/10/2009 - 17:25

Anything is possible but your question requires a rather involved answer to be fully addressed. I'll try to summarize since this is free and a Friday evening. :)

-First note that MPE has ONLY a software-based MCU [video bridge]. The MCU function is typically done in DSP hardware; however, that is a different product. So we have a few limits: 1) 768kbps is the maximum bit rate; 2) all participants must use the same resolution and frame rate; 3) voice-activated switching is our only option. There may be others that I don't have memorized.

This means everything you have in the meeting must all negotiate (within the constraints of UC Manager locations/regions) the same capabilities to get video. The MPE server just doesn't have the power to do anything more complex than switch the broadcast video stream to whomever the audio bridge declares the active speaker.

-The PSTN does not "normally" support video. You would need an H.320 ISDN gateway for PSTN-based end points. This is a legacy network and is rather costly. You can't just "place a call" and get video across the PSTN unless both are H.320 endpoints and you route the call out the H.320 gateway.

-If the remote end point is IP-based H.323 or SIP across the internet (or other private networks even) you can use CUBE to provide this border element function. They would need to dial an IP or DNS address of CUBE which routes to the MPE DN.

-If you want computer webcam video from across the internet you can look at CUVC - explained below - or WebEx.

-You can use the A/V gear as long as the video CODEC in the room is an H.323 or SIP CODEC on UC Manager. Note that these protocols are rather complex and some vendors have their own interruption of how they should function. Do not be surprised if you get no or one-way video to start. Troubleshooting and firmware updates are sometimes needed.

-Other options from the Cisco product line: You could install full MeetingPlace 7 and get a significant video functionality upgrade through it's hardware DSP-based video/audio MCU.

Alternatively you could install an independent video/audio MCU. This is called CUVC. Both of these options use the same physical MCU hardware but MeetingPlace 7 has to have it's own MCU which can't be shared with other things like ad hoc video.

Last but certainly not least - you can look at TelePresence.

The conferencing product line is going through a lot of changes as it integrates a lot of the WebEx functionality and HD video becomes more pervasive. I would recommend having a forward-looking discussion with your partner before spending any more cash.

Jonathan Schulenberg Sat, 07/18/2009 - 08:15

Thanks. One thing I forgot to mention: Make sure there is NOT an MTP resource in the call path. IOS (hardware or software) MTP resources do not support video. If UC Manager invokes an MTP you will get audio only without exception. The biggest mistake people make is checking the "MTP Required" box on the SIP trunk or H.323 gateway configuration page.

a.gooding Sat, 07/18/2009 - 08:49

To be perfectly honest, i saw your post because im having issues with my first implementation of MPE VT. two way video call works fine but three way gives no video for the remote.

im currently reviewing my install so again, great to the point pointers.

rob.huffman Sat, 07/18/2009 - 09:58

Hi Jonathan,

I agree with Arvind, superb answer here! Very worthy of my +5 point vote as well.

Cheers!

Rob

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