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Polycom Technical FAQ

Page history last edited by sigrid.olson@... 10 years ago

**Please note: this page is under construction.

We will be adding technical trouble-shooting information in the very near future.

Let us know if there are any technical issues that you would like addressed here.**

 

 

Testing the Unit

Q: Is there a number we can call to test our system?

 

A: Internal tests

Yes, there is a test unit at NCS you can call: 5851999  It’s on 24/7 (although the lights are out at night….). During the day, someone will generally walk over and talk to you if you need to know how your image/sound is coming through.

You can also do a within-LNV test by dialing 1800 This is the bridge menu system. If you can reach it, it means that at least your outgoing calls are working. Similarly, if you have a virtual room, you can dial that. The advantage here is that, if you are the only participant in the room, you will see your own image and sound

 

A: Calling external IP addresses

You should be able to call any external H.323 IP address. If you reach one of the Austin Polycom test sites it indicates that this function is generally working for you. (However, if you dialed the Austin address by entering “lobby.austin.polycom.com instead of an IP address, you should try it with the IP address instead. You might need to do an nslookup and find out the current IP address, since Polycom changes it around sometimes. Right now today, it is 140.242.26.6).

 

Polycom to Webcam via Scopia –Poor Video Quality

Q: Last week we did a test connection with another school. They had a webcam so we used a virtual room through Scopia to make the connection so we could use our Polycom. The sound was adequate but the video quality was very poor. Since so many schools we are connecting with don't have access to sophisticated videoconferencing equipment, like the Polycom, I really want to figure out how to improve the quality of these connections. Do you have any suggestions for what Polycom settings might be modified, other methods for connecting besides Scopia,  etc. which will improve the quality of the video in these situations? 

 

A: The answer to this question depends on the answer to several new questions (always works that way, doesn’t it?). I’ll try to anticipate some of those answers: I’m guessing that, when you make Polycom to Polycom calls, the quality is good (or good enough, this being the Internet). So the issues, then, would be on the Scopia Desktop end of things. SD meetings (like your virtual room) have a set ceiling on the call speed of 384kbps. This is fine, since Polycom to Polycom calls over the Internet rarely can sustain much more (sometimes 512kbps).

So the issue is: what kind of quality problems are you seeing? Generally speaking, I’d break the possibilities into 2 main camps: poor image (not sharp, not good contrast) or poor connection (image jumps and freezes, or is blocky).

Taking the latter first here, the important thing to remember is that SD is software based. So you not only have to look at the network issues (firewall, congestion, etc.) as you would for a Polycom
, but also at the host computer itself. SD is pretty CPU-intensive. Sometimes, just switching to a different computer that doesn’t have a whole slew of competing processes running will clear things up considerably.

 

Beyond that, here are the steps I would take on the client:

 

1. While in the virtual room (doesn’t matter if anyone else is connected to the room), click on the blue “i” button and choose “Network Statistics” (Or click on the little 2-computer icon in the lower right) Make sure that:

A.Sending and receiving is in the 300’s and that loss is 0% or at least quite low. Frame rate doesn’t much matter here.

B.Check at the bottom of the screen that “Network” reads “UDP” If it reads TCP, you have a problem

C.Check the CPU usage and make sure it isn’t maxing out 

2. If you read “TCP” in step b above, you need to grab the Call Log after the call to see what’s happening. SD falls back to tunneling over HTTP/TCP if it can’t get through the firewall any other way, but it is a nearly useless mode. If you want, send the call log to me and I’ll help interpret it.

 

If the problem is not poor connection but poor image, you need to look at the webcam. You have to take my word for it that 384kbps can support a quite good image (or try a 384kbps Polycom to Polycom call). All SD calls are CIF (regardless of what you set in the Advanced Settings panel). CIF resolution is 352 × 288 – not great but not too bad. (Skype regular resolution is 320 X 240) I’m sure you know that resolution alone is not a very good predictor of image quality – the better the optics, the better the image. The Polycom’s optics are really, really good. There is not a webcam out there that will match it. But some webcams are better than others. And the easiest improvement is to get more light on the subject (here again, the Polycom can compensate for low light levels, but webcams do so at the expense of image quality).

 

Also, in the video tab of the SD setting, you can set a slider between “better quality” and “faster” to suit your preference.

 

Pushing Content

 

Q: We had a successful Professional Development video conference with a professor in Texas we found through CILC. During our test he was able to push his content to us but when we had the actual conference it didn't work. Any thoughts on why this might have happened? Any setting changes we might try to enable this feature?

 

When it was working during the test it was great. He was in a small window talking to us and the content, slides and video, were seen in a larger window.

 

This is something we want to learn how to do with other schools, continue the video conference while we look at content together, all on the same screen.

 

A:

The content channel in H.323 (that’s the videoconferencing standard, and what the LNV uses) is really a presentation channel. In other words, it’s not interactive – you can show your screen, or an application, but you can’t give control of your mouse and keyboard to anyone else.

 

When someone pushes content, it goes to everyone in the meeting. If A pushes content, B and C will see it. When someone else pushes content, that becomes the content stream. So now, if B pushes content, it will stop A’s stream, and A and C will see B’s content.

 

The content channel is higher resolution, but slower frame rate, than the video channel. That makes it good for showing a desktop. However, it’s not so good for showing a video (like a quicktime video or youtube) on the desktop.

 

The content channel shares the bandwidth with the video channel. So, when you’re pushing content, your video channel goes low quality until the content is done. The best way to see this is to watch the Scopia Desktop network statistics panel while you’re sending or receiving content.

 

If using a Polycom to push content, you would use the (free) People Plus Content IP (PPCIP) software – you install in on the computer where your content is located, and it streams the content to your Polycom, which then pushes it out as content. Very easy to use.

 

Don’t forget that you can also use Scopia Desktop to send and/or receive content.

 

Pushing Content, Part 2

Q:

For us to push content through our Polycom how do we connect the computer with the content to the Polycom?

 

A:

Oh, that’s easy. It goes over the network. You use People Plus Content IP (PPCIP). It’s available as a free download here: http://downloads.polycom.com/video/ppcip/PPCIP_v1_2_3.zip

 

Install PPCIP on a Windows computer. When you start PPCIP, you enter the local network IP address of your Polycom. When you click the Start button on PPCIP, it sends the desktop image (or any part of it you select and magnify) to the Polycom, which in turn automatically sends it out as the content stream. When you click the Stop button, it stops.

 

 

 

Dialing Out - Dialing In

 

Q:

We are trying to set up a videoconference with a school in Kentucky. They have a Polycom so I thought it would be easy to set up a direct connection between out two systems. There IT person sent me the e-mail below. I think we have the same situation that they do. Because of the way it has been configured we are able to dial out with our Polycom but others can't dial us. From what Jeff explains about their set up below do you have any suggestions for the best way to make this work?

 

A:
Your questions are answered at
http://www.learn.vt.gov/calling_remote_sites.htm#CallIn . I would suggest using the approach on that page called “Dialing in to an LNV site from outside the LNV, version one.” (version two is dialing into a virtual room, exactly as below.)

 

 

 

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