Tag Archives: Codian

Day 15: Dialing Tips for the Codian MCU

This post continues our 20 Day Challenge to understand the technical aspects of videoconferencing, particularly the section on dialing.

If you have a Codian bridge, or need to dial into a Codian bridge, you may find these tips helpful.

To dial into the Codian MCU

Cisco-TANDBERG-Codian bridges usually pose no problem for participants dialing in.

  • LifeSize and Polycom endpoints can dial in with IP##alias.
  • Tandberg endpoints can dial in with alias@IP.
  • Or any endpoints can dial the IP of the Codian, and use the far end camera control to enter their meeting room.
  • Or if the endpoint or MCU can’t dial in one of these ways, you can dial in to the IP address and the bridge operator can move you to the conference where you belong.

To dial an Extension from a Codian MCU

Codian MCU

Many have questions on how to dial an extension (E.164 alias) from a Codian bridge, and some even think it can’t be done! But it can. Here’s how:

  • Login to the Codian web interface
  • Find the Gateway option in the menu
  • Add a Gateway. This will be the IP address of the device that you will be connecting to. Be sure to name this Gateway.
  • Once this step is done, you will then create a endpoint.
  • Find the endpoint menu option.
  • Create a endpoint. Under this option you will name the endpoint. For the address you will input the E.164 alias or extension.
  • From the H.323 Gateway drop down menu, you will select the Gateway that you created and select it.

Normally you would dial an extension/alias in this form: x.x.x.x##alias
However, the Codian is using the Gateway as the IP address and the endpoint as the alias settings.
So the Codian sees the dial string like this: Gateway##Endpoint


Your Turn

  • What tips do you have to share for dialing with the Codian?
  • Any other issues or quirks you’ve run into? Please share!

Team-written by Janine Lim, Shane Howard, and Roxanne Glaser. The opinions expressed in these posts are based on our collective video conference experience connecting classes across multiple networks to connect them to zoos, museums, experts and other classes during the past 10 years. This series of posts reflects our usage and understanding, not that of any vendor or manufacturer. No one is paying us to write these. We are just sharing what we have learned.

Slaves and Masters: Bridging Multipoint Videoconferences

One of the fun challenges of running multipoint events in K12 videoconferencing is cascading bridges together. This happens to me with events such as our Lest We Forget sessions (3 schools in each session), and the MysteryQuests: USA, HistoryQuest5, HistoryQuest8 (all of which have 4-6 classes in them) and other multipoint events.

Ideally, classes would dial in directly so that only one bridge is in the mix. However, there are many education service agencies who prefer to bridge their schools’s calls; or even are set up so that their schools can ONLY connect through their bridge. This means that a call with 6 classes in it could potentially have 6 bridges in the mix!

What does Master/Slave mean for VC?

Each MCU has some type of setting related to cascading bridges (i.e. two or more bridges in a call). As you know, I have the Tandberg MPS MCU, and settings related to Master/Slave are under Conference Mode. The choices are Auto, Master or Slave.

The issue with master/slave is basically who is running the show of the conference? Which bridge has control over that?

The problems arise when the person running the conference (me!) doesn’t have the power necessary (i.e. to force video to certain participants).

The Problem

In the last two weeks, I’ve had troubles with Codian bridges dialing in and taking over the conference. When this happens, video is forced to the endpoint on the Codian bridge, voice switching doesn’t work, and I can’t force the video to any of the other participating sites. Putting a multipoint endpoint (Polycom VSX 7000 in this case) in between the two bridges was the initial fix under distress and hurry.

Official Word: Dial Direction Determines Master/Slave

Last fall in some training, I learned that the official word (?) from vendors recommends this procedure:

  • Whoever dials out is the master
  • Whoever receives is the slave

I have also heard that the call ought to be set up in a certain order: bridges connect first; then the endpoints join.

The Reality

However, with all the multiple bridge calls I have done, this recommend practice has never been possible. Bridges are scheduled for different times. I can emphasize dialing in early, but rarely actually happens. In addition, with my Codian problem, we found the Codian took over the conference no matter which direction the call was established.

The Fix

What I learned in experimentation yesterday, is that Tandberg Management Suite, our scheduling software, was scheduling conferences set to AUTO instead of Master. When my conferences are set to Master and I connect to a Codian bridge, I still lose the ability to force video to the Codian site; but everything else works properly. Voice activation works right. I can force video to the other sites individually if I want to.


All the Codian bridge operators I’ve talked to don’t know where the Master/Slave settings are on their bridges. Do any of you know? Please comment if you know that, or if you have any other comments on this situation…

Dragging Participants from "Entry Queue" to Conference

I just figured out something on my Tandberg bridge, and have been urged by VC friends to share. So here goes.


I have had a Tandberg MPS 200 and Tandberg Management Suite since 2005. When we purchased our infrastructure, Tandberg didn’t have the Border Controller. So we do not have one.

I have written before about my struggles dialing other schools who are “off  my network” and “not on my dial plan.” For example:

Since most of my calls are off network, I cannot run my videoconference program without the ability to have people dial into just an IP address of the bridge and drop into a conference or get dragged into the conference where they belong. Because of that, I have not been using my Tandberg Management Suite, because it will randomly assign conferences into conference 1, and I need to keep conference 1 open for the people who can’t dial into conferences and who I can’t call from my bridge (for technical reasons).

But, last week I just figured out a way around this conundrum. Here’s how I have it set up.

Disclaimer: I totally understand that I’m not using this the way Tandberg designed it or prefers that we use VC. However, I need to be able to have schools outside my network connect to my bridge, so this is what I figured out.

Default Conference 1 & Scheduled Conference 1

  • On the bridge, a long time ago we telnetted into the MCU and set the default conference to conference 1. (Ask your tech support for the exact info as I don’t have it anymore.)
  • The MCU is set up with single dial in OFF. This means that there is no entry queue. If someone dials the IP of the MCU, they drop into conference 1.

Now, what I figured out two weeks ago, is that I can set up a conference from TMS to start at 8 am and close at 4:30 every school day from now until the end of the school year. Since nothing else was scheduled when I started, that reserved conference 1 for the rest of the school year. I made the conference with 4 dial-ins, so when I have a MysteryQuest like yesterday where 4 out of 5 classes had to just dial the bridge IP, there is lots of room for them.

This set up then allows me to schedule all my other conferences as normal with TMS.

Dragging Over

So, whenever someone can’t get into the right conference or I can’t dial out to them, they drop into conference 1.

Then, I use the MCU web interface (instead of TMS) to drag that participant over to the conference where they belong. See the screenshot below. It’s under the Change tab (shown), and then I select other open conferences from the menu (not shown).

Other Dialing Notes / Disadvantages

Now there are some ramifications to setting it up this way; but dialing just the IP to get into the bridge is worth it for me.

  • Codian MCUs can call in with my MCU IP as a gateway and using the conference alias.
  • I have to call other Tandberg MCUs; haven’t figured out how to get them in.
  • Tandberg endpoints can’t call into my conferences. They drop into conference 1 and I drag them over; or I dial out to them.
  • Polycom endpoints can call in with the IP## format. Since it seems Polycom has about 70% of the K12 market that I connect with, this format works well. (Numbers from 2010 Read Around the Planet statistics.)
  • The Polycom RMX & MGC can call in with the IP and the extension in the party alias field.
  • I haven’t yet run into a LifeSize unit that I need to connect, so I’m not sure on those.
  • I have my gatekeeper set up with GDS, so I can easily place and receive calls with anyone else who is on GDS.

Other MCUs

The ability to “rescue” participants who can’t get into the right conference is one of the most important features I check when I consider purchasing an MCU. I need a bridge that can help me make calls that don’t work point to point.

Codian: Right now, as far as I understand it, only the Codian actually has a built in feature to drag participants from the entry queue to the conference where they below. To me, that’s a big score for the Codian MCU; hopefully Tandberg won’t consider that a “hack” and take it away in future software revisions.

Tandberg: Now I’ve figured out this major work-around for the Tandberg MPS. Yay!

Polycom: As far as I understand, you can’t do this with the Polycom RMX. And of course the MGC (if set up the old way instead of with meeting rooms) uses the IP address of the incoming participant to drop the participant into the right conference.

Please Comment & Read the Comments

I don’t claim to be a certified videoconferencing technician, and am still learning how to make my calls work. Please comment and share additional information and opinions. I realize there are majorly differing views on this situation. So be sure to check the comments to get any additional information or views on this issue.

Calling Other MCU Conference Rooms

One of the conundrums of my videoconferencing life is how to make calls work with weird dialing. Since 60% of my calls are with schools across the country (off my network with various dialing policies of their own), I run into these a lot.  Please, please, please vendors, when will it work like a phone?!

Yesterday I received additional training on TMS from SKC. We spent pretty much two hours trying to figure out how to make TMS in conjunction with my Tandberg MPS 800 dial conferences on other MCUs that are off my network. Since the results are obscure and undocumented, I thought it would be helpful to share. This was tested with TMS J12.2 and the MPS J4.5.


Create a Participant Template. Enter the MCU IP as normal. In the DTMF box, enter the extension this way:

Polycom MGC:

Create a Participant Template. Enter the MCU IP as normal. In the DTMF box, enter the extension this way:


(Apparently the numbers come too fast for the MGC. The commas slow it down.)

Polycom RMX

Create a Participant Template. Enter the MCU IP as normal. In the DTMF box, enter the extension this way:


Tandberg MPS

This needs the alias@IP format, however you can’t enter this in the participant template. If you put the alias@IP in the IP field, it strips out the @IP.

So, instead, use the phone book to enter alias@IP.

This solution works for a Tandberg endpoint behind a Border Controller as well.

Your Turn: If you have additional tips for making MCUs dial conferences and extensions on other equipment outside your network, please comment!!