NECC Exhibitor Visit #2

Today I talked to Polycom, Tandberg, and directPacket Research about their firewall traversal units. My main question is, how does it accept incoming calls?

Tandberg and directPacket Research require the “rogue” or “unknown” endpoint on the public side to register with the embedded gatekeeper to allow calls.

Polycom allows incoming calls with extension dialing, however it’s a bit of a trick to make a Tandberg endpoint dial in. I’m waiting for an email with a solution for that. I talked to someone who knows how it can be done and will send me the trick.

Why should I want incoming calls from public IPs?
Read Around the World 2007. How can I match a ton of sites if almost all of them can only dial out?????

“Best Practice
Here’s the interesting thing. The rationale behind requiring sites to register to the gatekeeper is (in Tandberg’s point of view) best practice videoconferencing. I’m thinking maybe it’s really about security. Is it really secure to punch holes in your firewall for videoconferencing? I’m not a security expert for sure, but there’s a whole bunch of us doing VC this way (with VC holes in our firewalls) and I haven’t heard yet of someone hijacking an endpoint to hack the network.

Here’s my question really. If the industry thinks (or at least some in the industry think) that best practice is not allowing “rogue” or “unknown” units to dial in…. then…. how do we call each other? That term cracks me up! If you want to do a project with me, you’re a rogue endpoint! How does that make you feel?!!! LOL.

The answer is supposed to be gatekeepers. I still chuckle at that. Or at least I try to chuckle at it so I won’t cry! LOL. I did 400 VCs last year with almost 400 different places. Am I going to register with them all? Are we all going to neighbor our gatekeepers together? There’s so many ad hoc installations out there with very little technical support that I really think it’s a pipedream. Wainhouse Research just did a survey of VC in the U.S. and it was announced in the SIG IVC session this evening. The paper is on the Tandberg site right now because they sponsored it, but it will be on the Wainhouse site as well next week. Bottom line. There are 23,000 VC rooms in the US. Now, tell me, how are we going to connect to each other if we have to use gatekeepers?? Can we really get organized enough to neighbor 23,000 endpoints and their respective gatekeepers together? I have me doubts.

Then there was the conversation with vendors about gatekeepers getting in the way of calls. It makes me laugh to see the puzzled looks. I got this at the H323 workshop I went to in May too. Gatekeepers aren’t supposed to get in the way of calls. Unregistering from the GK isn’t supposed to be a solution to make the call work. But just about everyone I know who does lots of VCs  with “rogue units” (i.e. other schools) has run into this little quirk. One of these days several of us need to open trouble tickets so the gurus can trace the packets to see what’s really happening.

What we really need is an option on the front screen to unregister from gatekeepers, or to have a list of “favorite gatekeepers” so the end user can jump between the places (read: school districts around the world) that they like to connect to. I know this isn’t a corporate VC need for sure, but it’s driving some of us in K12 crazy.

I also learned that there is a new standard for firewall traversal called H.460 version 18 & 19. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this in the future. I didn’t get very far in googling it.

Well, I’ll keep learning and investigating this and sharing what I’ve learned. If you know more, or have comments (even vendors!), please comment.

Conference Tags: necc necc06

0 replies on “NECC Exhibitor Visit #2”

  1. Hi J,

    It was good meeting you at NECC. You blog is really quite good. If you want more info on H.460, let me know.

    As for the GK issue it affects even the Enterprise since you can’t neighbor with everyone, but you might neighbor with an SP…


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