Multipoint Conference Unit (MCU)
Fab Lab Video Conference
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.
- 1 Meeting Rooms
- 2 Connecting to the MCU
The MCU has multiple meeting rooms, Classes (4) and Fab Lab (1) are the most used.
The following rooms are available:
- Fab Lab
Rooms 1 and 2 are open, a PIN is required to access rooms 3 to 9
Connecting to the MCU
Dedicated Unit (ie, Polycom or Lifesize)
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 188.8.131.52. 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.
- Link to updated info about connecting http://video.cba.mit.edu/
The Cisco Jabber Video www.ciscojabbervideo.com beta service will reach end-of-life on March 25, 2016.
Conference me is no longer enabled on the MCU units.
- ClearSea. Need an account at clearsea.com; calls are actually made via the clearsea cloud service. Client works plug-and-play (tested with OS X 10.7.2), includes H239 (presentation mode), far end camera control, call recording, echo cancellation. Also for Mac, iOS, Android.
- 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:184.108.40.206" in the connect to tab. (Skip the part where you register a SIP name or get an Ekiga username.) To select conferences, use the "dialpad" tab and click on the number 1 to join the FabLab conference.
- 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.
Linphone is based in France (Grenoble), by Belledonne Communications and seems very nice.
Works well on Linux (3.6.1), sources are here : https://launchpad.net/~linphone/+archive/release
You'll need also to install the linphone-plugin-x264 that you can in the same pad.
Later in preferences/settings, you must choose the video you want to stream
Apres, dans les preferences de Linphone, il faut preciser le video que tu veux envoyer:
donc VGA (640x480) ou mieux. Mais surtout pas moins que VGA!
Apres, dans l'onglet codecs, il faut rentrer dans video codecs, et seulement utiliser le H264 (si tu trouve cette codec pas dans la liste, t'as pas bien installé le linphone-plugin-x264). Et aprer IMPORTANT!! Changer le 'profile-level-id' au 42801f.
Apres, si ça marche pas tout suite, essayé de changer des parametres ici:
Souvent ça marche bien en utilisant un server STUN (comme stun.linphone.org).
dites moi si c'est pas clair, ou si vous voulez plus d'info technique sur des systemes MCU et videoconferencing..
(copy/pasted from a discussion with Jean-Michel Molenaar from FabLab CCSTI Grenoble)
Based on GnomeMeeting, Ekiga is a free piece of open source software that knows how to speak to the MCU using the SIP protocol.
- Download and install Ekiga (get the regular release, not the debug version)
- go to ekiga settings, disable all video codecs except "h261"
- Simply use "h323:220.127.116.11" in the connect to tab. (Skip the part where you register a SIP name or get an Ekiga username.)
- To select conferences, use the "dialpad" tab and click on the number 1 to join the FabLab conference
If you have problems with your video signal during the conference, try to change the cameras resolution in the settings.
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 18.104.22.168
- Use the "dialpad" to click on the number 1 to join the FabLab conference.
- ClearSea. -- commercial, free for 5 minutes per call to H.323/SIP equipment -- Need an account at clearsea.com; calls are actually made via the clearsea cloud service. Client works plug-and-play (tested with OS X 10.7.2), includes H239 (presentation mode), far end camera control, call recording, echo cancellation. Also for Windows, iOS, Android.
- Mirial Softphone. -- commercial, expensive: 169 EUR -- Works plug-and-play (tested with OS X 10.7.2), , includes H239 (presentation mode), far end camera control, call recording.
Old solutions that are not working any more
Jabber by Cisco
- Will be retired as of 20 November 2015
- Download at https://www.ciscojabbervideo.com/ or via cisco.com, you will be asked to create an account during the process
- Connect to the MCU by calling email@example.com -- or you can connect directly to room 1 by calling firstname.lastname@example.org
Xmeeting is free open source software that knows how to speak to the MCU using the SIP protocol. Works sometimes with quirks up to OS 10.6 (need to start it twice to make it work). Has distorted video on 10.5. Does not work on 10.7, version 0.3.4 works on 10.8 (if you remove the XMeeting prefs file first and add a sip registrar). After you download and install Xmeeting, simply use "SIP:22.214.171.124" in the connect to tab. To select conferences, use the "dialpad" tab (click hammer symbol, and then 'remote control') and click on the number 1 and then # to join the FabLab conference.
An older workaround if the client does not recognize the FaceTime HD camera of new MB Air models (mid2013): use iGlasses by ecamm ($19.95) to feed the cam as a virtual cam.