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).
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 Screen: This option will display the dominant speaker (determined automatically based on who is speaking) in a conference to all sites.|
|Split Screen: This option allows all participants to be seen on the screen simultaneously.|
|Dominant 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 126.96.36.199. 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.
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.
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.
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 participantsWhen video conferencing with other parts of the country or the world, remember the time difference in your requests.
Room-based systemsRemote 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 participantsIndividuals 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.
- Download and install the
free Jabber Video client from Cisco for MacOS X or Windows. Click on "Get Jabber
Video." This will overwrite any existing installation of Jabber. If you're
unsure, please consult your IT person. Connect to the bridge
by dialing "email@example.com"
On the iPad, download the free "Polycom RealPresence Mobile" app. Content sending
is unavailable in this version. Connect to the bridge by dialing 188.8.131.52
- Purchase, download and install LifeSize Softphone for MacOS X or Windows. (30 day free trial, full version about $215) Three way calling and recording included. Connect to the bridge by dialing 184.108.40.206 or mcu.ats.udel.edu
To schedule a conference, please fill out this form.