Tag Archives: Tandberg

TxDLA: Skype vs. Standards-based VC: The Showdown

Here are links and resources for my second TxDLA presentation today (Skype vs. Standards-Based VC: The Showdown):


H.323 Desktop VC Options (a few… please comment to add more)

Hybrid / Cross-Over Solutions

  • Vidyo (send a link to anyone to join your VC; also connects to H.323)
  • Blue Jeans Network (connect Skype, phone, H.323 etc. all in the same conference)

Previous Blog Comparisons

Please feel free to comment, add additional resources, or share different views!

Day 15: Dialing Tips for the Codian MCU

This post continues our 20 Day Challenge to understand the technical aspects of videoconferencing, particularly the section on dialing.

If you have a Codian bridge, or need to dial into a Codian bridge, you may find these tips helpful.

To dial into the Codian MCU

Cisco-TANDBERG-Codian bridges usually pose no problem for participants dialing in.

  • LifeSize and Polycom endpoints can dial in with IP##alias.
  • Tandberg endpoints can dial in with alias@IP.
  • Or any endpoints can dial the IP of the Codian, and use the far end camera control to enter their meeting room.
  • Or if the endpoint or MCU can’t dial in one of these ways, you can dial in to the IP address and the bridge operator can move you to the conference where you belong.

To dial an Extension from a Codian MCU

Codian MCU

Many have questions on how to dial an extension (E.164 alias) from a Codian bridge, and some even think it can’t be done! But it can. Here’s how:

  • Login to the Codian web interface
  • Find the Gateway option in the menu
  • Add a Gateway. This will be the IP address of the device that you will be connecting to. Be sure to name this Gateway.
  • Once this step is done, you will then create a endpoint.
  • Find the endpoint menu option.
  • Create a endpoint. Under this option you will name the endpoint. For the address you will input the E.164 alias or extension.
  • From the H.323 Gateway drop down menu, you will select the Gateway that you created and select it.

Normally you would dial an extension/alias in this form: x.x.x.x##alias
However, the Codian is using the Gateway as the IP address and the endpoint as the alias settings.
So the Codian sees the dial string like this: Gateway##Endpoint


Your Turn

  • What tips do you have to share for dialing with the Codian?
  • Any other issues or quirks you’ve run into? Please share!

Team-written by Janine Lim, Shane Howard, and Roxanne Glaser. The opinions expressed in these posts are based on our collective video conference experience connecting classes across multiple networks to connect them to zoos, museums, experts and other classes during the past 10 years. This series of posts reflects our usage and understanding, not that of any vendor or manufacturer. No one is paying us to write these. We are just sharing what we have learned.

Day 12: How to Dial with a Cisco-TANDBERG Remote

This post continues our 20 Day Challenge to understand the technical aspects of videoconferencing, particularly the section on dialing.

Most parts of dialing are straight forward. Enter the numbers and connect. However there are some unique features or issues with each remote that we want to share.

Special thank you to Lori Colwill for her assistance with this post.

How to Dial

  • Press each number and be sure to enter the “*.” button after each octet. This may add a * instead of a . in between each set until after you get the third set of numbers entered. Then it will automatically switch the *’s to the dots. Remember the language of an IP address, though. The address is still correctly referred to with “dots” in between the numbers, not “star” or “asterisk”.
  • Access the directory, if it is set up, and dial directly from there without entering any numbers.
  • If you dial an IP address and arrive at a screen and if there is audio, listen to what it is saying to you. Codian bridges are “talky” bridges and will present you with an entry queue or auto-attendant. You can navigate this screen by using the far end camera control on your remote and the the up and down arrow keys. When you arrive at the conference where you should be, press enter.

How to Dial an Alias

First of all, you may be given the number as either of these formats: alias@IP (1234@ or IP##alias (

Polycom users may give you an IP## alias number to dial. The TANDBERG remote cannot dial IP##alias. You may be able to turn it around and dial with the alias@IP format, depending on how the other site is set up.

  • Newer TANDBERG remotes (TRC5) have an @ sign on the 1 button, so it’s easy to enter by pressing again.
  • Older TANDBERG remotes (TRC3 and TRC4) don’t have an @ sign. But there are two ways to get around this.
    • Web interface: If you have access to the web interface for the TANDBERG system, enter it there. Even better, put it in the address book so you can get to it again.
    • Via the remote: To get the @ sign, follow these steps: Hold down the # sign (note that in the entry box it switches from 123 to abc). Then press the 1 twice (that enters the @ sign).  Then hold down the # sign again to go back to numbers. However using this procedure negates the use of the *. button. You will have to use this same method to switch back to alphanumeric mode to get the dots entered in between each octect.

Pay Attention to the Location of the Infrared Receiver

  • If you have a newer TANDBERG where the camera and the codec/box are separate, make sure you point the remote at the infrared receiver on the box.
  • If the remote doesn’t seem to be working well, check the batteries and the direction you’re pointing. Make sure you are pointing towards the infrared receiver.

Remote Control for the iPhone / iTouch / iPad

Vyopta makes a vControl remote that mimics the TANDBERG remote and can be used to control your TANDBERG videoconference system as well as the Codian bridge.

  • It costs $99; which seems a little steep for K12-education. But compare that to $400 for replacing a remote. At least it’s an option to consider.
  • Read reviews and comments of this tool from VTC-Talk.com.


Team-written by Lori Colwill, Janine Lim, Shane Howard, and Roxanne Glaser. The opinions expressed in these posts are based on our collective video conference experience connecting classes across multiple networks to connect them to zoos, museums, experts and other classes during the past 10 years. This series of posts reflects our usage and understanding, not that of any vendor or manufacturer. No one is paying us to write these. We are just sharing what we have learned.

Dragging Participants from "Entry Queue" to Conference

I just figured out something on my Tandberg bridge, and have been urged by VC friends to share. So here goes.


I have had a Tandberg MPS 200 and Tandberg Management Suite since 2005. When we purchased our infrastructure, Tandberg didn’t have the Border Controller. So we do not have one.

I have written before about my struggles dialing other schools who are “off  my network” and “not on my dial plan.” For example:

Since most of my calls are off network, I cannot run my videoconference program without the ability to have people dial into just an IP address of the bridge and drop into a conference or get dragged into the conference where they belong. Because of that, I have not been using my Tandberg Management Suite, because it will randomly assign conferences into conference 1, and I need to keep conference 1 open for the people who can’t dial into conferences and who I can’t call from my bridge (for technical reasons).

But, last week I just figured out a way around this conundrum. Here’s how I have it set up.

Disclaimer: I totally understand that I’m not using this the way Tandberg designed it or prefers that we use VC. However, I need to be able to have schools outside my network connect to my bridge, so this is what I figured out.

Default Conference 1 & Scheduled Conference 1

  • On the bridge, a long time ago we telnetted into the MCU and set the default conference to conference 1. (Ask your tech support for the exact info as I don’t have it anymore.)
  • The MCU is set up with single dial in OFF. This means that there is no entry queue. If someone dials the IP of the MCU, they drop into conference 1.

Now, what I figured out two weeks ago, is that I can set up a conference from TMS to start at 8 am and close at 4:30 every school day from now until the end of the school year. Since nothing else was scheduled when I started, that reserved conference 1 for the rest of the school year. I made the conference with 4 dial-ins, so when I have a MysteryQuest like yesterday where 4 out of 5 classes had to just dial the bridge IP, there is lots of room for them.

This set up then allows me to schedule all my other conferences as normal with TMS.

Dragging Over

So, whenever someone can’t get into the right conference or I can’t dial out to them, they drop into conference 1.

Then, I use the MCU web interface (instead of TMS) to drag that participant over to the conference where they belong. See the screenshot below. It’s under the Change tab (shown), and then I select other open conferences from the menu (not shown).

Other Dialing Notes / Disadvantages

Now there are some ramifications to setting it up this way; but dialing just the IP to get into the bridge is worth it for me.

  • Codian MCUs can call in with my MCU IP as a gateway and using the conference alias.
  • I have to call other Tandberg MCUs; haven’t figured out how to get them in.
  • Tandberg endpoints can’t call into my conferences. They drop into conference 1 and I drag them over; or I dial out to them.
  • Polycom endpoints can call in with the IP## format. Since it seems Polycom has about 70% of the K12 market that I connect with, this format works well. (Numbers from 2010 Read Around the Planet statistics.)
  • The Polycom RMX & MGC can call in with the IP and the extension in the party alias field.
  • I haven’t yet run into a LifeSize unit that I need to connect, so I’m not sure on those.
  • I have my gatekeeper set up with GDS, so I can easily place and receive calls with anyone else who is on GDS.

Other MCUs

The ability to “rescue” participants who can’t get into the right conference is one of the most important features I check when I consider purchasing an MCU. I need a bridge that can help me make calls that don’t work point to point.

Codian: Right now, as far as I understand it, only the Codian actually has a built in feature to drag participants from the entry queue to the conference where they below. To me, that’s a big score for the Codian MCU; hopefully Tandberg won’t consider that a “hack” and take it away in future software revisions.

Tandberg: Now I’ve figured out this major work-around for the Tandberg MPS. Yay!

Polycom: As far as I understand, you can’t do this with the Polycom RMX. And of course the MGC (if set up the old way instead of with meeting rooms) uses the IP address of the incoming participant to drop the participant into the right conference.

Please Comment & Read the Comments

I don’t claim to be a certified videoconferencing technician, and am still learning how to make my calls work. Please comment and share additional information and opinions. I realize there are majorly differing views on this situation. So be sure to check the comments to get any additional information or views on this issue.

How to Make a Tandberg call the Polycom IP##extension Format

Dialing drives me crazy! I’ve said that before. I’ve noticed that it’s the Read Around the Planet test calls time of year when I get the most frustrated about it. So, it’s a breath of fresh air to figure out another piece of the dialing puzzle.

Here’s what I learned that is helping me so far.

I have a Tandberg MCU, and haven’t been able to get it to dial any Polycom IP## formats. But here’s what I learned that works:

Polycom Endpoints

If the IP## format is an endpoint that is behind the Polycom firewall traversal unit (used to be called V2IU and is now called a VBP: Video Border Proxy), then you can use this format:

  • alias@IP

Polycom Bridges: MGC / RMX

If the Polycom bridge is registered to a gatekeeper (i.e. CMA or an older gatekeeper), then you dial:

  • alias@ the IP of the gatekeeper (NOT the bridge!)

If the Polycom bridge isn’t installed with a gatekeeper, then you can only dial in and use the DTMF tones (if the MCU has the entry queue set to default).

What I Still Don’t Know

  • I’m still not sure if the Tandberg endpoints can do this. If anyone knows, please comment and enlighten us all!

Please comment

This dialing mess is something we all have to deal with. If you have additional information, please comment. Be sure to read the comments on this post also to get any updated new information.

The Shake Up in the VC Market

Are you following all the interesting developments in the videoconferencing market? Here’s an interesting review and analysis of the changes coming down the pike. I highly recommend that you take some time to read it. Here are a few snippets to convince you to read further:

The future of videoconferencing is the software-based codec running on general purpose (albeit high end… for now) general purpose processors connected to a low-cost, high quality HD camera via a USB 3.0 connection. The $20,000+ plastic-camera-on-the-TV-set-on-the-desert-cart dedicated videoconferencing appliance is a business model with the lifespan of an alcoholic fruit fly chain smoking unfiltered camels. The singularity approaches.

[imagine that]…all of the sudden you can purchase a fully functional standards-based HD videoconferencing end-point at every Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart in the world…..

This is great news for schools, as I’ve been looking for the H323 (standards based) desktop-ish classroom VC setup (for less than $1000) for over a year now. It really bothers me that all these 21st century classrooms are getting installed without videoconferencing! Tricked-out classrooms with no VC! It’s a travesty! But maybe with a Logitech camera and good echo cancellation mic plus great desktop h323 software it’s actually possible! We won’t have VC in every classroom or school until it is much cheaper and readily available. Purchasable by teachers with little instructional grants from various organizations, or easily acquired with existing tech funds.

So, in my opinion, bring those changes on! We need lower cost easier standards based VC to bring all the great existing VC content to more schools!

Tandberg Road Show

This morning I took a trip up to Van Buren ISD (which just was awarded a RUS grant – congrats!!). They are hosting the Tandberg Roadshow. (By the way you can see where the Road Show will be next here.)

The audience here is mostly tech coordinators from the surrounding districts. Many of them are expecting to get VC as part of their new RUS grant.

The program began with an introduction to VC by Doug Meyer at CILC. He gave an overview of content providers, collaborations, professional development, and of course the CILC Content Dollar Bank.

Then we headed off to the Pro Football Hall of Fame to learn about their programs and had a nice overview, plus a little history of the Detroit Lions.

Lance Ford was the next guest speaker and he told us the story of the Howell videoconference story beginning with a foreign language class. Their courses are supported by Moodle and Rosetta Stone in addition to the live videoconferencing. Fun quote: “those standards are weighing on teachers like a wet blanket on a hot August afternoon.”  His examples included content providers, Mote Marine, Great Barrier Reef, as well as collaborations – book clubs with Canada, DNA experiments, connections to Norway, etc. Students creating a field trip (the KC3 program) is another major part of their programs. Lance showed a video clip of students onsite at a local museum dressed in costume teaching about the westward expansion. Lance’s superintendent asks him to have a matching dollar for every dollar the district spends. They call it “leveraging” dollars. Lance uses grants to match other grants to get even more funds for technologies.

Next we heard from Stephanie about the grant program Tandberg will help you (for free) write grants to get videoconferencing. Finally we got a tour of the truck with all the equipment. I had some good time networking with the tech coordinators as well, many of whose districts are members of our REMC. Great morning & very informative!

Calling Other MCU Conference Rooms

One of the conundrums of my videoconferencing life is how to make calls work with weird dialing. Since 60% of my calls are with schools across the country (off my network with various dialing policies of their own), I run into these a lot.  Please, please, please vendors, when will it work like a phone?!

Yesterday I received additional training on TMS from SKC. We spent pretty much two hours trying to figure out how to make TMS in conjunction with my Tandberg MPS 800 dial conferences on other MCUs that are off my network. Since the results are obscure and undocumented, I thought it would be helpful to share. This was tested with TMS J12.2 and the MPS J4.5.


Create a Participant Template. Enter the MCU IP as normal. In the DTMF box, enter the extension this way:

Polycom MGC:

Create a Participant Template. Enter the MCU IP as normal. In the DTMF box, enter the extension this way:


(Apparently the numbers come too fast for the MGC. The commas slow it down.)

Polycom RMX

Create a Participant Template. Enter the MCU IP as normal. In the DTMF box, enter the extension this way:


Tandberg MPS

This needs the alias@IP format, however you can’t enter this in the participant template. If you put the alias@IP in the IP field, it strips out the @IP.

So, instead, use the phone book to enter alias@IP.

This solution works for a Tandberg endpoint behind a Border Controller as well.

Your Turn: If you have additional tips for making MCUs dial conferences and extensions on other equipment outside your network, please comment!!