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Global Platform for Rich Media Conferencing and Collaboration: 

Global Platform for Rich Media Conferencing and Collaboration G. Denis, Caltech RESEARCH

Why to use this technology ?: 

Why to use this technology ? The collaboration tools and technologies provide a very efficient way to work for spread group of scientists. They improve the feeling of presence and to be a part of a team. They avoid the wasted time and money on travels and hotels. They allow to have larger collaboration. The frontiers and the distances are not barriers anymore. The last technologies give more than a remote meeting possibility but ways to share and contribute in documents, applications and developments.

Existing Technologies: 

Existing Technologies Through Numerical Telephone Line (Obsolete) ISDN or CODEC (H.320) Good: secure, good hardware, no packet lost Bad: expensive, limited bandwidth, not flexible Through IP Network Good: flexible, cheap, extensible, no bandwidth limitation, choice of standard and protocol Bad: no echo-cancellation always available, no QoS, not so secure Mbone H.323 SIP Others

Mbone Tools: 

Mbone Tools These applications have been done more 10 years ago to use the Multicast Backbone. The audio and video are split in 2 different applications. VIC is the video application that can decode and encode several different codec. It is very flexible and provide controls to set the frame rate, the compression and bandwidth of the video sent. It can display dozen videos at the same time. VAT and RAT are the audio applications. There’s no software echo cancellation built-in but they can code and decode a very large number of codecs. These applications are using RTP/RTCP protocol through unicast or multicast connection. Were the first videoconf. clients used in VRVS.

H.323 ITU Standard: 

H.323 ITU Standard The ITU designed this standard for IP conferencing. It is based on the H.320 philosophy, adapted for Ip networks. The best hardware clients available today implement and use this standard. Is technology adopted in the professional market. Every component is expensive. The H.323 multi-point solution (MCU) is complex, very expensive and limited in term of number of participants and scalability. I require at least 1 MCU and 1 gatekeeper (kind of LDAP). The next version of the clients will not be limited to 768kbs soon.

Session Initiation Protocol : 

Session Initiation Protocol SIP is a signaling protocol for Internet conferencing, telephony, presence and instant messaging. Developed within the IETF MMUSIC (Multiparty Multimedia Session Control) working group , with work proceeding since September 1999 in the IETF SIP working group. It is more recent than H.323 and have a better design to fit the Ip networks needs, capabilities and constraints. No limitation and very open. Already adopted by Microsoft (Messenger), Apple (iChat AV) and other open source projects. Will be supported by VRVS very soon (already working in prototype version).

VRVS Description: 

VRVS Description

VRVS : a Videoconf. Service: 

VRVS : a Videoconf. Service The Virtual Rooms Videoconferencing System have been developed by Caltech since 1995 to provide a world wide videoconference service for education and research communities. A web based interface provides an easy to use graphical user interface to organize and participate to meetings. No limitation on participants number. Different technologies and protocols are supported (and mixed) and allow users to connect their preferred videoconference. Supports Mbone, H.323, SIP, QuickTime, Access Grid, JMF and MPEG2. It is composed of 1 main server and several reflectors (network servers) spread around the world.

Web based interface: 

Web based interface VRVS provides a natural and intuitive interface to organize and manage your meetings. Several interfaces let you see in 1 shot all current conferences, let you book a new one in 3 clicks. Several academic communities are handled by VRVS. Each one has its specific Virtual Rooms. VRVS manages multi international time zones in a transparent way. Its use do not require technical knowledge nor technician action.

Connection Interface: 

Connection Interface Connect / Disconnect the selected videoconference client Provide different video modes Allow CHAT and Private messages Can share your computer desktop Remote control of video cameras. co-browsing of web sites real time list of connected participants share computer desktop with other participants

Example 1: 20 participants BRAZIL (3 sites) + SWITZERLAND (CERN) + USA (Caltech): 

Example 1: 20 participants BRAZIL (3 sites) + SWITZERLAND (CERN) + USA (Caltech)

Exemple 2: 17 participants JAPAN + UK + SWITZERLAND + BRAZIL + USA (SLAC + FERMILAB): 

Exemple 2: 17 participants JAPAN + UK + SWITZERLAND + BRAZIL + USA (SLAC + FERMILAB)

Network and Security: 

Network and Security The reflectors: are inter-connected according the best networking path. Optimized network bandwidth utilization Possibility of tunneling (TCP or UDP) between reflector servers. All communications use only ONE port ! are designed in Peer-to-peer with high scalability and flexibility Solution for Firewall and NAT Perform some packet recovery Aggregate dynamically bandwidth for H.323 multipoint conference between End Points to an overall maximum conference bandwidth Real-time packet loss monitoring Support up to 16,000 Virtual Rooms (parallel meetings)

VRVS Model Implementation: 

VRVS Model Implementation

Extra Features: 

Extra Features

Virtual Access Grid: 

Virtual Access Grid User can connect to either unicast or multicast videoconferencing with full supported features User can create his/her own virtual AG node and virtual venues and integrated into VRVS Different Video modes possible: Voice switched: default mode for H.323 clients. one video stream at a time Timer switched: browse through all the video based on preset timer. One video stream at a time. Selected Streams: Click among the video participants to view selected video streams (one or several streams available). All Streams

VAG with Mbone Clients: 

VAG with Mbone Clients

Administration Interface: 

Administration Interface Pure Java J2EE + XML HTTPS/SSL secure web interface Monitoring reflectors and users in ongoing conference Full control on database

Real-Time Monitoring: 

Real-Time Monitoring

VRVS Virtual Setup: 

VRVS Virtual Setup 1 dual processors PC With special 4 output graphic card 6400 x 4800 pixels Most powerful VRVS End Node

What next ?: 

What next ?

Future Features (1/2): 

Future Features (1/2) Adaptation to emerging standards: IPv6, SIP Develop advanced monitoring and tracking tools for ad-hoc conference as well as scheduled multi-site conferences Improve Security Transparent solution for NAT Conference access control, user authorization Develop a pure peer-to-peer VRVS reflectors network to be able to handle thousands of parallel sessions.

Future Features (2/3): 

Future Features (2/3) Wireless/Mobile Client Integration: User Interface dedicated for small screens Integration of low end client: Provide dedicated software clients (VVP, JMF) Transcode streams to lower bandwidth Support MPEG4 Integration of new harware/software for high-end interactivity. Already developed an MPEG2 MCU (using Minerva codec). Will port to other codec if demand. Provide dedicated software clients (VVP, JMF) Developed a multipoint videoconferencing system based on MPEG4 compression standard. Developed a system using HDTV standard If affordable hardware devices available.

VRVS Usage: 

VRVS Usage

VRVS : A production service since 1997: 

VRVS : A production service since 1997 Number of Registered Users: 5200 users m 86 Countries 61 users in Slovakia

VRVS Reflectors Deployment: 

VRVS Reflectors Deployment

Machines and OS: 

Machines and OS VRVS support different Operating Systems according to the need and the demand of the final users: 1st : Windows 2nd: Linux 3rd: Macintosh 4th: Other UNIX

VRVS, Caltech Team: 

VRVS, Caltech Team


WWW.VRVS.ORG Contact@VRVS.org Support@VRVS.org

Supported Operating Systems: 

Supported Operating Systems Windows Linux Mac OS X Other Unix (Solaris, IRIX…)

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