Seven Quick Tips for Videoconferencing Beginners

New to videoconferencing? Researching an enterprise deployment? Make sure you addressed these seven issues before you sign a vendor contract or start up a video project.

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6. Prepare to Work With Your Firewall Administrator

To successfully initiate or receive video communications from outside your network, you need to open up the appropriate ports in your organization's firewall. That means working with your "firewall guy," as we've come to lovingly dub the person with control over our firewall. (In our review of LifeSize's videoconferencing system, we were unable to receive incoming video calls because our IT department was unwilling to open up the appropriate ports.)

Tweaking your firewall to permit outgoing and incoming video calls can be simple with the proper tools or with a vendor support rep to walk you through the process, but do budget the time for doing so. Many videoconferencing vendors offer devices to identify the ports that need to be opened, and some packages include one of those devices.

7. Know Your Videoconferencing Standards

You'll save yourself sweat-and maybe even a few tears-by taking the time to learn the basics of audio and video coding and decoding.

The United Nations' International Telecommunications Union, Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), along with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), creates global telecom "recommendations," or standards that are agreed on but aren't legally official.

We could write an entire article on videoconferencing standards, but there isn't time to do it now. Instead, we collected a list of existing resources to help you to grasp the basics.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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