Here’s a post I’ve had simmering for a while. Back in March we had several Read Around the Planet connections with classes in the United Kingdom. Most of them connected through JVCS, or JANET Videoconference Services. JVCS bridges a ton of videoconferences a month (over 7000 in March 2007! – got this link from a post on the Megaconference listserv).
So I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned from working with JVCS and other bridge services. These tips will be helpful for any of you who haven’t worked with MCUs or bridges too often.
1. They need your IP address.
Most bridges need your IP address so you can get into the right conference. So make sure you give the right IP when you register for programs. This goes for Read Around the Planet, content providers, and many projects with other schools. A lot of schools are “behind” bridges and need to connect through the bridge. So know your IP address!
2. Know the confirmation number.
If you’re connecting to a bridge and they give you a confirmation number, keep it close by! If you need to call for help, the problem will get fixed much faster if you can give your name & confirmation number as soon as you call. Don’t give them the whole story of the problem until they look it up.
3. Dial direction.
Some bridging organizations prefer to dial out. Others prefer to have you dial in. Be sure you’re clear on who is dialing who. Sometimes it takes a while to get the call “turned around” if the call needs to happen the other way.
4. Be concise but give technical details.
If you’re calling a bridge operator, don’t give them the details on the topic of the program, they need the confirmation number (or if they don’t use numbers, who you’re connecting to), and the symptoms of the problem. They can usually fix it quickly.
What other tips do you have for connecting through bridges?
“They need your IP address!” This is definitely a key point and it took me a bit to understand *which* IP address is needed…
For some the schools that must dial through a bridge, there is a possibility that the number that is used for bridging internal network calls is different than the number that is used when connecting to other bridges. In our network, when we bridge for schools, the school has to use the public IP address of the bridge for other sites/bridges to connect to.
As I write more about this, it reminds me that the bottom line is that to be successful, you probably need to always check with your local tech person to clarify which number to use when. 🙂