May 21, 2007 Update: See the latest comments on my bridge here.
Please note this was originally written in May 2006 and versions have changed since then. See the comments section for TANDBERG’s response. – Note added March 2007.
First Things First
First before I write about some comparisons, let me describe my base assumptions and biases.
1. My use of videoconferencing is almost totally connecting with
“unmanaged” units, or places outside of my service area. These are
other schools that connect in a myriad of ways, and who don’t
particularly want to be registered to my gatekeeper, because I connect
to them only once or twice a year. Some connect through bridges
(Radvision, Polycom MGCs, old Accords, etc.), some connect directly,
some connect via IP, and some connect via ISDN. Read Across America, MysteryQuest, and other such projects and events are what we do with videoconferencing. Hence
I connect with a ton of unknown units all the time. And I expect that
to work consistently (with a test call ahead of time of course!).
2. As an educational service agency supporting videoconferencing, I
expect my MCU to be able to connect to anything. My goal with my MCU is
to provide services and connections to my districts that they could not
do on their own: multipoint events, IP/ISDN conversion, connections
they can’t make on their own.
And some background. I have 35 (soon to be 70) Polycom endpoints and a Tandberg
MPS (vJ3.0), gateway, gatekeeper and Tandberg Management Suite (TMS). The comparison is with my colleague Arnie Comer‘s
bridge: an Polycom MGC 100 and he supports 140 Tandberg endpoints. We both use our bridges as described above.
This comparison is not on all the features that either bridge can
do, but on the features necessary to support K12 videoconferencing as
|Polycom MGC 100
Software Rev 6.02
Software Rev J3.0
So I have come to the conclusion that the Polycom MCU is the
workhorse of videoconferencing, connecting all types of units together.
The Tandberg bridge seems to be heading towards a closed network model
with great wonderful fancy features for closed networks. But it does
not handle IP address dialing well at all and the company
doesn’t seem to be designing their systems to support IP address dialing.
Disclosure Statement: Polycom is sponsoring the BCISD Videoconference Program Database. They also link to my blog. However, they do not dictate, edit, or preapprove anything I write here.