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Video Conferencing

For schools, video conferencing can bridge the gap between teachers at schools and universities and students in remote villages and communities. For business, video conferencing cuts costs and travel while boosting productivity, which makes sense in today's economy. During disaster relief efforts, video conferencing can be used to reunite people with their families and give back hope.

The two hurdles to high-quality video conferencing are:

  • Video conferencing equipment
  • High speed Internet access

Hardware solution providers such as Polycom and software solution providers such as Skype have turned video conferencing into an affordable product.

Unlike voice, which can be supported over slow links and benefits from "Universal Access" in many regions, video has a high and variable packet rate and it is not supported by most carriers. Furthermore, other Internet via Satellite providers only provide "bursty" traffic which is not suitable for Video Conferencing applications.

Our iDirect platform, on the other hand fully supports video conferencing:

  • Basic video conferencing sessions can be established at 128kbps
  • Good conferencing requires at least 256kbps of up/down traffic
  • High definition video conferencing, also known as Telepresence, can be achieved at 512kbps

Steady vs. Bursty traffic

To illustrate the difference between steady and bursty traffic, the same task was performed on two Internet via Satellite providers. The performance charts below illustrates traffic observed on both systems over a 1 minute interval.

[System 1]

[System 2]

On both systems, max speeds of approximately 60KB/sec were reached within the 1 minute operation.

Both systems can therefore claim "Speeds of up-to 60KB/sec".

A phone call would only require 1/10th of the maximum performance observed and a video conference would only require 1/4 of the said performance

  • [System 1] would not hold a telephone, let alone video conference session over the observed period because its traffic is bursty, resulting in audio and video dropouts.
  • [System 2] would have no problem handling one or more phone or video conference sessions, because traffic peaks at 65KB/s and does not drop below 40KB/s.

The chart from [System 1] was obtained over a Ka-Band connection while the chart for [System 2] was obtained running on an iDirect V-Sat system.

Additional Information

One hour of Video Conferencing at 256kbps up/down traffic will consume approximately 110Mbytes of up & down traffic on your monthly quota.