Difference between revisions of "Multipoint Conference Unit (MCU)"

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{{Equipment|
 
{{Equipment|
 
Image=Image:Mcu_screenshot.jpg|
 
Image=Image:Mcu_screenshot.jpg|
Name=Connecting to the Video Conference|
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Name=Fab Lab Video Conference|
 
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'''The video conference server is [mcu.cba.mit.edu] which has a static IP address of [18.85.8.46]'''.
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'''The video conference server is [http://mcu.cba.mit.edu mcu.cba.mit.edu] which has a static IP address of [http://mcu.cba.mit.edu 18.85.8.46]'''.
  
 
Most of you know this as "the Polycom" or "video conference system at MIT".  "MCU" stands for Multipoint Control Unit" and is the switchbox that takes in lots of individual connections and joins them together into groups.  Some companies specialize in running MCU's as a service.  MIT CBA purchased our own from a company named Codian and the MCU lives in the back of our lab in E15-023.  It is maintained mostly by David Dalrymple and Neil Gershenfeld.
 
Most of you know this as "the Polycom" or "video conference system at MIT".  "MCU" stands for Multipoint Control Unit" and is the switchbox that takes in lots of individual connections and joins them together into groups.  Some companies specialize in running MCU's as a service.  MIT CBA purchased our own from a company named Codian and the MCU lives in the back of our lab in E15-023.  It is maintained mostly by David Dalrymple and Neil Gershenfeld.

Revision as of 02:48, 1 January 2010

Equipment
Mcu screenshot.jpg
Fab Lab Video Conference

The video conference server is mcu.cba.mit.edu which has a static IP address of 18.85.8.46.

Most of you know this as "the Polycom" or "video conference system at MIT". "MCU" stands for Multipoint Control Unit" and is the switchbox that takes in lots of individual connections and joins them together into groups. Some companies specialize in running MCU's as a service. MIT CBA purchased our own from a company named Codian and the MCU lives in the back of our lab in E15-023. It is maintained mostly by David Dalrymple and Neil Gershenfeld.

Connecting to the MCU

Dedicated Unit (ie, Polycom or Lifesize)

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Most fab labs have a Polycom which is an all-in-one camera+speakers+computer unit. With the polycom, you simply connect power and ethernet cable and some kind of screen or TV. It has a dialing menu and you simply type in the IP address of our MCU which is 18.85.8.46. Done! Some labs have higher end units which may have multiple microphones, remote control to move the camera, and more features.

The problem for most people is that Polycom units are rather expensive to keep at home or to carry around when you're not in a Fab Lab. But you can still join the conference if you've got a computer with speakers and microphone or a headset. While a camera isn't necessary, it will let everyone else see you too.

Windows

  1. ConferenceMe. Using a web browser (such as Firefox, Explorer, Opera) go to http://mcu.cba.mit.edu Lower on the screen is an option to "Join a conference using ConferenceMe". Enter Conference ID "1" and click on "Join Conference". There is a link to install the ConferenceMe software on that page if you haven't done it already. After you install ConferenceMe, click on "Click here to join the conference using ConferenceMe".
  2. Ekiga for Windows. Based on GnomeMeeting, Ekiga is a free piece of open source software that knows how to speak to the MCU using the SIP protocol. After you download and install Ekiga (get the regular release, not the debug version), simply use "SIP:18.85.8.46" in the connect to tab. To select conferences, use the "dialpad" tab and click on the number 1 to join the FabLab conference.
  3. Polycom software I don't know too much about this but you can apparently purchase software directly from Polycom which will turn a computer+camera+speakers+microphone in to the all-in-one unit.

Ubuntu/Knoppix/Linux

  1. Ekiga. Based on GnomeMeeting, Ekiga is a free piece of open source software that knows how to speak to the MCU using the SIP protocol. After you download and install Ekiga (get the regular release, not the debug version), simply use "SIP:18.85.8.46" in the connect to tab. To select conferences, use the "dialpad" tab and click on the number 1 to join the FabLab conference.
  2. Empathy. Also open source and freely available, Empathy is a Gnome project which supports many protocols. To connect to the MCU, after downloading and installing Empathy, you should use the SIP protocol to connect to 18.85.8.46. Use the "dialpad" to click on the number 1 to join the FabLab conference.

MacOS

  1. Xmeeting. Xmeeting is a free piece of open source software that knows how to speak to the MCU using the SIP protocol. After you download and install Xmeeting, simply use "SIP:18.85.8.46" in the connect to tab. To select conferences, use the "dialpad" tab and click on the number 1 to join the FabLab conference.