For the last 6 months I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around how e.164 dialing could/should/is working connecting outside of our own networks.
Here are some of the things I’ve discovered.
- E.164 dialing is a specific kind of H323 dialing your endpoint could do, usually in conjunction with a gatekeeper.
- There is an educational Global Dialing Scheme in the works. You can read about it on the Internet2 website.
- Megaconference and Megaconference Jr. use the E.164 Global Dialing Scheme dialing. This requires registering to a gatekeeper that participates in the Global Dialing Scheme (GDS). Gatekeepers can be neighbored together to join this scheme and there is a specific procedure for participating in this. Megaconference Jr. did have to allow some sites to dial the IP address instead of the GDS e.164 number because some units could not connect. It would be interesting to know more about that.
- The United Kindgom has a service called JVCS that is using the GDS. Yesterday I did a test call with a location in the UK. They gave me their long e.164 number. It looked like the long ones used for the Megaconference dialing, so I registered with the Internet2 Commons gatekeeper to see if it would work. They were able to call my e.164 number on the Internet2 Commons gatekeeper, but I couldn’t call them the same way. We are still investigating why. They were also able to use the JVCS MCU to call me via IP address. (I’ve done a few connections now with JVCS’s MCU and the calls work great.)
Questions I Still Have
- How do organizations get their gatekeepers registered and organized to participate in GDS? Who organizes that? Is it different for each country? What does it cost to participate? Some of the answers are here, but not enough for me to know how my 70 endpoints could participate.
- If the vendors are pushing us towards gatekeeper registration as “best practice”, then in K12 we have to get something working so we can keep dialing each other. Is that even possible/feasible?
- On the other hand, I’ve been thinking about this review of my projects session at NECC.
“Towards the end of the session the presenters had participants talk about implementation ideas in our respective school districts. The two people I spoke with agreed that there are a number of challenges to successful video conferences including cost, the technology and developing the programs. One person from a university said that she had never been part of a video conference yet that didn’t need a technician present to make sure it all worked, that it took time before the video conference to make sure all equipment was working prior to the event, and that often, there were interruptions in the connections. In our small group conversation, we wondered what place video conferencing may continue to play in education with the advent of lower costs communication solutions such as podcasts and web based interactive software such as Elluminate or Tegrity. Only time will tell.”
While I don’t agree totally with the tech support issues raised (I have several media specialists who are now able to do calls on their own with minimal problems), it certainly is a valid point. I’ve already blogged about how teachers can’t be expected to do this on their own.
If the technology is getting more complicated (all this weird dialing) instead of easier to use (I’m thinking specifically of K12 schools with limited tech support who want to connect to any other K12 school out there), what then???
I’m still mulling this over. Please comment if you have any thoughts on this!
In the meantime though, I’m going to keep doing creative curriculum based VCs for my schools!! I still do believe in the power of whole group based quality audio videoconferencing for communication & curriculum reasons!