[SATLUG] Re: 1984- now AccessGrid VIDEO conferencing

Borries Demeler demeler at biochem.uthscsa.edu
Sat Mar 22 18:28:18 CDT 2008

> >                      You pretty much need MC if you want to effectively
> >  VC with a bunch of different sites and not consume your entire bandwidth.
> >  Not everyone's network supports MC, but you can always use a MC bridge.
> Lessons learned from long ago with the mbone and USENIX conferences 
> that were broadcast live.  Sigh....

In my experience the MC bridge holds up just fine for quite a few connections.
Some judicious choice on codecs helps also cut down on bandwidth consumed.

> Right, but it's just for their conference room, as opposed to a 
> proper venue server, etc....

A venueserver is just a box running software like apache. I think we ran
our first venueserver on a 486. You don't need a lot of horsepower for that,
we use an older AMD Athlon.

> We're also connected to Internet2 and NLR through something called 
> HEARN, I think?  I'm told it's a 10GB link, but I'm not sure I 
> believe that.

You are talking about LEARN (Lonestar Education and Research Network). 
Yes, it is 10 GB, and coming to think of it, yes, UTHSCSA is on this one
as well. 

> That's the kind of stuff we'd need.

I like the behind the wall installed stuff a bit better, but it is also
a lot more costly (that's what they have at TACC). You can probably put
together a basic mobile setup with echo cancelling, a couple mics, a
couple of cams for less than 2k. Jeremy would know more details on this.

> Sigh.  Would that we could get there.

Ok, the only thing separating you from such a setup is about $50, that's it.
A simple webcam and a $15 headset with mic from radio shack will do.

> >  Hey, maybe you could set up a demo for these guys with us, and we can
> >  demonstrate some of the really cool features (high-dev video streaming,
> >  VC recording of all audio and video streams, etc. and convince the
> >  guys to take a second look at this outstanding freeware package from
> >  Argonne National Labs (developed with NSF funding). This is how we
> >  got our IT people interested in it, just give them a bunch of demos.
> The SVP who suggested Adobe Connect is going to be at our staff 
> meeting this next week, and I'll bring up the subject then.

Ask him if it can do multicast, if you can transmit HDTV signal over it,
ask him to list the codecs it support for both video and audio, and if it
can stream high-res desktop video at arbitrary resolution, and if it can 
record all audio/video streams simultaneously. Last I checked AG supported
at least 10 different audio codecs and at least that many video codecs.
Ask him if his solution can smoothly interact with AccessGrid, the standard
for video conferencing.

> I definitely would like to do some testing with it myself, even if I 
> can't get anyone else involved.

Why don't you download the software from our website and give it a try?
Jeremy or I would be happy to help you test it. I *know* that you can do
it from Austin, or roadrunner for that matter. Check out:


The video cam is not strictly necessary, but headphones are to avoid having
to do any echo cancelling. You also will need a mic.


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