Overview of UW Video Conferencing
The University of Wyoming operates a video conferencing system. The video conferencing system consists of an H.323 multipoint conferencing unit (MCU), an H.320 gateway, and a gatekeeper. The MCU supports interactive video conferences between two or more video endpoints that are connected to the Internet. The H.320 gateway provides the ability for legacy (ISDN) endpoints to participate in conferences with Internet (H.323) connected endpoints. The gatekeeper provides QoS (Quality of Service) functions and assigns an alias and a telephone number (a.k.a E.164 number) to each endpoint.
The MCU currently supports up to 60 concurrent endpoints in up to 30 separate video conferences. The MCU has several advanced features that allows for a wide variety of video layouts including continuous presence (a.k.a “Hollywood Squares”) and voice activated screen layouts. Another feature known as “rate matching” allows endpoints connected to slower networks to participate in conferences with high speed network endpoints without reducing the video and voice quality for all participants. In fact, attendees can participate in conferences via a regular telephone (or cell phone) if a video endpoint is not available.
A web-based software tool called VCS (Video Conference Scheduler) allows users to easily create and schedule video conferences. Conferences can be “one time” or recurring. VCS integrates with Microsoft Outlook so that video conferences creative by VCS appear on user's Outlook calendars.