Multipoint Video Conferencing (Bridge)

When three or more end-points (participants, remote sites, etc) need to connect, a videoconference "bridge" system must be used. IT ATS offers bridging services to the university community.

A bridge, or MCU, can connect three or more end-points together for a larger conference. The bridge is typically used for small meetings, dissertation defenses, or interviews. It would not be appropriate for large numbers of participants (in which case Adobe Connect would be chosen).

Screen Configuration

Since multiple sites are connected to the same call, the screen must be configured to show the participants. You have a choice of how you'd like the screen configured for display of the remote sites. Your choices will depend largely on what type of conference you'll be holding.

  Full ScreenFull Screen: This option will display the dominant speaker (determined automatically based on who is speaking) in a conference to all sites.
  Split ScreenSplit Screen: This option allows all participants to be seen on the screen simultaneously.
  Split ScreenDominant Speaker plus Split: This option allows the dominant speaker to be seen in a large section of the screen while other participants are still seen simultaneously.

Other configurations are also available if needed. You will not see yourself "reflected" back to your screen during a conference-- the delay would be too distracting.

Connecting to the Bridge

At the designated time, place a call to mcu.ats.udel.edu or alternatively use the IP address 128.175.28.210. You will immediately be connected to the lobby area of the bridge. Using your remote or touch-tone keypad, enter the conference ID followed by the pound key [#]. Then enter the conference PIN ID followed by the pound key [#]. These ID's will be provided to you to send to your participants.

Conference Moderator

In large conferences (or small ones for that matter) it's important to choose a conference moderator or conference chair to ensure things run smoothly. This should be someone attending the conference who will greet sites as they connect, take roll call and keep the conference on track. A great idea is to send an agenda to all participants the day before the event and have the moderator follow it.

The conference moderator also should request end points to mute their microphones when not actively speaking. Microphones are very sensitive and side conversations at sites will sometimes be heard by everyone.

Etiquette

Managing a large conference requires all parties to follow some rules of etiquette.

  • Mute microphones when not actively speaking.
  • There is a delay when using the MCU. Be patient and wait for a response to a question.
  • Whispering and side conversations are generally not a good idea. Microphones in the room will pick up this conversation and disrupt the conference.
  • Wait for the moderator to acknowledge you before speaking.
  • During presentations, wait until the presenter asks if there are any questions.

Costs

At the University of Delaware, there are no facility or staff fees associated with bridged videoconferences for a academic purposes. Please be prepared to provide the course ID and section number associated with the video conference.

For grant-supported or non-academic bridged videoconferences the rate is $.25 per minute, per site. Test connections are conducted at the same rate. (For example: A 60 minute conference with 4 participants would have a total cost of $60.)

Requirements for remote sites or participants

When video conferencing with other parts of the country or the world, remember the time difference in your requests.

Room-based systems

Remote sites equipped with a video conferencing system that has been installed in a room will typically use the H.323 protocol. Various vendors such as Polycom, Tandberg, Cisco, LifeSize and Sony make room-based video conferencing hardware. These systems are generally compatible with the bridge, but should be prepared to schedule a test to confirm compatibility before the date of the conference.

Individual participants

Individuals wishing to join the conference but don't have access to a room-based video conferencing system can still join the multipoint conference using one of the following software titles.

Scheduling Request

To schedule a conference, please fill out this form.


This page was last modified on October 11, 2012, 07:55.