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Video Conferencing Over IP - Part 1

Configure, Secure, and Troubleshooting



Part 1 - Getting Started with Video Calls


Types of Videoconferencing

Before we help you understand what you need to make video calls,let’s discuss the various flavors of videoconferencing and outline the topics we focus on in this book so that you have a clear understanding of the differences among the various videoconferencing solutions. We divide these videoconferencing types into three categories:
  • Personal videoconferencing
  • Business videoconferencing
  • Web videoconferencing


These solutions can be software that you use with your computer,stand-alone hardware, or combined software and hardware solutions.They all have one thing in common:
they allow you to make a video call of some sort using various features.

Personal Videoconferencing

This book focuses primarily on personal videoconferencing solutions,or what we call video calls.
We use the term personal because these calls are usually between only two people you and the person you are communicating with. A video call, at minimum, is simply the communication between two or more people who have both audio and a moving video image using a computer, dedicated video telephone, or both. It may also include additional features such as instant messaging (IM) and file transfers (FT), commonly found in many IM tools such as Skype, iChat AV, MSN Messenger (MSN), Yahoo Instant Messenger (YIM), and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Though we will discuss business videoconferencing and Web videoconferencing so that you can understand the basic differences among them, we focus on personal videoconferencing solutions, from here on referred to simply as video calls. This will help simplify what we are addressing in this book: the ability of making video calls between two people to better communicate and enhance the communication experience.

Business Videoconferencing
Business videoconferencing can involve the same solutions as personal videoconferencing but
with the addition of several features:
  • The capability to include multiple people on the video call
  • Collaboration features
  • Document-sharing capabilities
  • Enhanced presentation capabilities
  • Whiteboard capabilities
  • Additional bandwidth requirements
  • Additional costs



Business videoconferencing is specifically designed to meet the needs of business meetings and group collaboration, not our personal needs to communicate with family and friends. Business videoconferencing solutions are more expensive and as a general rule need more equipment at the office location as well as more network and/or Internet bandwidth than we have available to us at home. Business videoconferencing solutions do have single-user solutions for mobile users or telecommuters, such as solutions from PolyCom, Sony, and others. These solutions are designed to communicate with higher-end and more expensive solutions that you would see in your business conference room at work. We will discuss these solutions in more detail in Chapter 8.

Web Videoconferencing
Web videoconferencing is specifically designed to transmit a video call inside a Web page or classroom-type environment. You might have seen Web videoconferencing employed in a Web training seminar, or Webinar as they are called, where you saw the presenter’s video image streamed to your Web browser. You might have been sending your video image as well,but most likely not, because Webinars tend to comprise one-way video to you. Solutions such as WebEx and Microsoft Live Communication Server are two Web conferencing solutions. These solutions are also designed to record a session and post it to a Web site for on-demand viewing any time via a video stream to your browser. We will discuss these solutions in more detail in Chapter 8.

What Is a Video Call?

This book provides the information you need to understand what a video call is, the solutions that are available, the hardware and software required, and what high-speed Internet connection will work best for you so that you can set up a videoconferencing system easily and quickly and start using it with your children, family, and friends. Video call technology can have many names: video calls, personal videoconferencing, videoconferencing, video messaging, instant messaging, video phone, video telephone,and video chat. The name any one technology goes by might be due to a vendor’s product and its marketing, but it should be understood that all the technologies are basically the same and essentially interchangeable;only the features vary. A video call is the total experience.

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