Can someone please inform of the main diffrences between hardware and software conference bridge. I was under the impression that the HW / IOS conf bridge allowed extra conf facilities out of the gateway and the SW bridge catered for internal conf facilities within the cluster??
The basic difference is that the software conference bridge is controlled by Call Manager(CUCM). IPVMS service has to be activated for this. And it supports 48 streams maximum. And note that the software conference bridge can support only g711 codec.
The hardware conference bridge uses the local DSPs for stream mixing. Of course you need to allocate DSPs for this. And also hardware conference bridge can support multiple codecs since it can do transcoding as well.
So if you want to use the hardware conference bridge, then you will have to allocate DSPs on the gateway (called DSP farm), and register these DSP farm to the call manager. Once this is done, you need to add the haredware conference bridge to a Media resource group and media resource grup list and add it to the phones in the phones page on CUCM (devices-->Phones--> MRGL).
So, when the phone has to use a conference bridge for a conference call, it looks at its MRGL, and if it finds any hardware/software conference bridge present, then the phone will invoke the hardware/software conferece bridge for that conference call.
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