Background: As you know, I continue to investigate and test potential desktop videoconferencing solutions. I really want to be able to provide desktop videoconferencing to my districts (most of whom aren’t on my network or have enterprise firewalls between my network and theirs); and also to be able to bring in authors, guest speakers and others who are completely off my network and in scenarios where I have no control over the network.
Polycom CMA Desktop & Diverse Networks
I’ve learned more about how the Polycom CMA Desktop works with the client software and why there have been seemingly inconsistent results in testing it from various locations (based on my conversations and tests with others who have the server installed).
Disclaimer: I’m not a techie or an expert in this. I’m throwing this out here to stimulate conversation and to encourage clarification. Please, please comment!
The videoconference connection between the desktop client software and the server is basically an H323 call with additional services such as LDAP, presence, and provisioning. So similar firewall traversal scenarios occur with the desktop client as with a regular videoconferencing system (appliance/codec). (It’s not quite the same, but close.)
In a scenario where the Polycom CMA server and Video Border Proxy ST are installed and the desktop clients are off the server’s network, here are the likely results:
- If the desktop client is behind a soho (small office / home office) router such as a Linksys, DLink, or other dynamic router, it probably will work fine.
- If the desktop client is behind an enterprise firewall (such as most schools have installed), it probably will not connect. There are three potential solutions: (1) use a VPN to connect to CMA, (2) install a VBP at the remote site; (3) provide a public IP at the remote site; (4) open ports to allow the traffic through.
I’m guessing that any other vendor’s solution that is H323-based will be the same. Is that true? Please, please comment!
I am still learning about all these desktop VC tools work and the vendor-intended and best ways to install them. If you have further comments, please share. Be sure also to read all the comments so you benefit from the additional information.