NECC Exhibitor Visit #2

Today I talked to Polycom, Tandberg, and directPacket Research about their firewall traversal units. My main question is, how does it accept incoming calls?

Tandberg and directPacket Research require the “rogue” or “unknown” endpoint on the public side to register with the embedded gatekeeper to allow calls.

Polycom allows incoming calls with extension dialing, however it’s a bit of a trick to make a Tandberg endpoint dial in. I’m waiting for an email with a solution for that. I talked to someone who knows how it can be done and will send me the trick.

Why should I want incoming calls from public IPs?
Read Around the World 2007. How can I match a ton of sites if almost all of them can only dial out?????

“Best Practice
Here’s the interesting thing. The rationale behind requiring sites to register to the gatekeeper is (in Tandberg’s point of view) best practice videoconferencing. I’m thinking maybe it’s really about security. Is it really secure to punch holes in your firewall for videoconferencing? I’m not a security expert for sure, but there’s a whole bunch of us doing VC this way (with VC holes in our firewalls) and I haven’t heard yet of someone hijacking an endpoint to hack the network.

Here’s my question really. If the industry thinks (or at least some in the industry think) that best practice is not allowing “rogue” or “unknown” units to dial in…. then…. how do we call each other? That term cracks me up! If you want to do a project with me, you’re a rogue endpoint! How does that make you feel?!!! LOL.

The answer is supposed to be gatekeepers. I still chuckle at that. Or at least I try to chuckle at it so I won’t cry! LOL. I did 400 VCs last year with almost 400 different places. Am I going to register with them all? Are we all going to neighbor our gatekeepers together? There’s so many ad hoc installations out there with very little technical support that I really think it’s a pipedream. Wainhouse Research just did a survey of VC in the U.S. and it was announced in the SIG IVC session this evening. The paper is on the Tandberg site right now because they sponsored it, but it will be on the Wainhouse site as well next week. Bottom line. There are 23,000 VC rooms in the US. Now, tell me, how are we going to connect to each other if we have to use gatekeepers?? Can we really get organized enough to neighbor 23,000 endpoints and their respective gatekeepers together? I have me doubts.

Then there was the conversation with vendors about gatekeepers getting in the way of calls. It makes me laugh to see the puzzled looks. I got this at the H323 workshop I went to in May too. Gatekeepers aren’t supposed to get in the way of calls. Unregistering from the GK isn’t supposed to be a solution to make the call work. But just about everyone I know who does lots of VCs  with “rogue units” (i.e. other schools) has run into this little quirk. One of these days several of us need to open trouble tickets so the gurus can trace the packets to see what’s really happening.

What we really need is an option on the front screen to unregister from gatekeepers, or to have a list of “favorite gatekeepers” so the end user can jump between the places (read: school districts around the world) that they like to connect to. I know this isn’t a corporate VC need for sure, but it’s driving some of us in K12 crazy.

I also learned that there is a new standard for firewall traversal called H.460 version 18 & 19. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this in the future. I didn’t get very far in googling it.

Well, I’ll keep learning and investigating this and sharing what I’ve learned. If you know more, or have comments (even vendors!), please comment.

Conference Tags: necc necc06

About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
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1 Response to NECC Exhibitor Visit #2

  1. David Shapero says:

    Hi J,

    It was good meeting you at NECC. You blog is really quite good. If you want more info on H.460, let me know.

    As for the GK issue it affects even the Enterprise since you can’t neighbor with everyone, but you might neighbor with an SP…


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