EGI-InSPIRE:WP5 EGI Teleconferencing

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EGI Conferencing

Current State

  * weekly teleconference for group of about 10 people from AMB.
  * weekly teleconfence for CSIRT team (usually up to 15 people).
  * monthly teleconference for CSIRT team (about 30 people as of now).

  * more ad-hoc teleconferences, gathered from June

  ** PMB (about 10 to 20 people) had 2 teleconferences so far
  ** Operations (up to 10 people) have approximately 1 teleconference each month
  ** Service deployment had 1 teleconference.
  ** SA3 team (8 people, potentially about 40 partners) had 1 teleconference
  ** JRA1 team (potentially group of about 30 people) had 5 teleconferences

General requirements

  • signalling and access
    • pstn,sip,skype signalization (pstn and skype is a must)
  • audio quality
    • g.772 for sip, silk for Skype
      • we'll most probably have to drop silk support for Skype from the requirements due to state of silk adoption by third-party providers
      • also, a general and not surprising, but very important observation is that the Skype call-in quality largely depends on end user conferencing setup
  • management
    • number of rooms/conferences
    • capacity limits
  • conference web manegement
    • roster
    • volume up,down,mute
    • user management
  • extensions
    • document sharing
    • shared whiteboard
    • maybe also applications (desktop) sharing
  • price

Services

Coverage of EGI Partners

TurboBridge HD Audio Conferencing

http://www.turbobridge.com/

  • signalling and access
    • PSTN Toll Access (US only numbers)
    • PSTN Toll-Free Access (US only number)
    • TurboPhone (FREE)
    • Skype
    • SIP
 Codec    Sample Rate    Min Frequency    Max Frequency    Bit Rate    Latency
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 G.722        16 kHz             50 Hz            7 kHz     64 kbps       4 ms
 
  • management
    • up to 100 rooms with 250 participants in each room
  • conference web management
    • http://www.turbobridge.com/features.html
    • available features
      • Web-based Live Conference Manager to manage conference calls
      • viewing participant Caller ID
      • muting participants
      • modifying feature settings and controlling conference recording
  • price
    • http://www.turbobridge.com/plans.html
    • one time fee $95.00 for 100 rooms and 2500 minutes, 1.9 cents toll access, 3.9 cents toll-free access
    • flat rate plans subject to "enterprise offerings"

HiDef Conferencing

http://www.hidefconferencing.com/teleconferencing/index.htm

  • signalling and access
    • Regular long-distance and toll-free numbers from 14 countries
      • toll-free access covers the following countries: USA, Canada, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom
      • Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland are planned to be covered by toll-free access in the future
    • Skype
  • audio quality
    • http://www.hidefconferencing.com/teleconferencing/hidefqualityconferencing
    • There might be a problem with silk support for Skype. Skype supports silk beginning from version 4.x (on Windows). HiDef Conferencing FAQ however states the following on Skype support:
      • We have tested and recommend using version 3.8 for the best participant experience (earlier versions 3.2 and 3.6 can be used as well). Note: Skype version 4.0 is currently not supported and will not work.
    • Direct test showed that g.711 is supported for Skype
  • management
    • Single room with standard plans, up to 500 participants in the room
    • Maximum call duration on Skype is 4 hours and maximum call duration on a regular phone line is 9 hours.
Plan Max Callers Telephone (Local/Toll) Toll-free Minutes Skype Minutes Recording Storage (days) Monthly Pricing
HiDef 50 50 Unlimited 2,000 Free 60 $125
HiDef 150 150 Unlimited 3,750 Free 90 $225
HiDef "Pay as you Go" 500 $.06/min 0 $.03/min 90 Pay-Per-Use


Calliflower

http://www.calliflower.com/getting-to-know-calliflower/

  • signalling and access
    • PSTN: 150 local dial in numbers in 32 countries
      • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom in Europe.
      • The information on Calliflower PSTN Dial-in options available on the Calliflower public website seems to be outdated. Up-to-date and comprehensive information on PSTN Dial-in options is available from the conference manager. See File:EGI_Conferencing-Calliflower-PSTN_Dial-in.png.
    • Skype

TODO: check for sip availability

  • audio quality
    • skype over skype for sip no HD - tested skype id "calliflowerskype", used codec g.729, inferior audio quality with g.729
  • management
    • the theoretical maximum size call Calliflower can handle is over 900 participants. In practice, the largest calls have been around 200 people.
    • the Skype gateway supports up to 30 concurrent Skype calls
  • extensions
    • whiteboard with document sharing (requires Calliflower Premium)
    • built-in chat
    • unlimited mp3 conference recording
  • price
    • $50 monthly flat rate
    • $150 quarterly flat rate
    • $500 annual flat rate
    • enterprise and non-profit pricing available

InterCall

http://www.intercall.com/services/audio-conferencing/reservationless-plus-resources.php

  • signalling and access
    • PSTN
      • PSTN toll-free dial-in options available in (but not limited to): Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, France, Latvia, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Lithuania, Portugal, Greece, Russia, Turkey, Hungary, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Cyprus, Ireland, Spain, Czech Republic, Israel, Norway
      • see http://www.intercall.com/files/GlobalConferencingSolutions.pdf for coverage
    • VOIP (SIP only?) available with Online meeting plans

TODO: Skype support?

  • audio quality

TODO

  • management
    • Apparently one room/meeting with a plan.
    • Plans for 20 or 125 max users per room available.
  • conference web management
    • available features:
      • Audio mute/unmute
  • extensions
    • available with online plans
    • MS Windows and MacOS compatible
    • applications sharing, desktop sharing, annotation tools chat...
    • conference recording available for additional fee
  • price
    • Online meeting plan for 25 participants: $42 per month
      • toll free dial-in available for additional $.05 minute/person
    • Online meeting plan for 125 participants: $.17 per minute/person
      • toll free dial in included
  • notes
    • the conference moderator needs to download and install InterCall Unified Meeting, InterCall's proprietary online meeting software (apparently MS Windows only)

MyGlobalConference

http://www.myglobalconference.com/

  • audio quality
    • Skype - tested skypeid "myglobalconference", used codec g.711
    • subjectively worse quality than HiDef Conferencing
  • management
    • Scheduled audio conference call
    • Permanent reservationless audio conference call
    • Maximum number of participants is 50, by default. Higher capacities are available on demand.
  • conference web management
  • extensions
    • mp3 audio recordings
  • price
    • The service is charged to the conference administrator on a "participant per minute" usage basis. This means that there are no recurring charges. Only effective dialed in minutes per participant are charged at a fixed rate. All charges are billed to the conference administrator (the client), not to conference participants.
    • If nobody connects to a conference you have created, no charges are applied.
    • For permanent conferences, billing only starts when an administrator dials in the conference (you need to have activated the administrator pin option).
Local national rate Toll Free rate Skype or SIP
Price for the Administrator 0,05 € / participant / minute 0,11 € / participant / minute Free
Price for the Participants lowest local dial-in cost Free Free
  • notes
    • Powered by Open4ip

ConferenceCall

http://www.conferencecall.com/

  • signalling and access
    • PSTN: toll-free dial-in access from anywhere in the US
    • VOIP provided by WebEX
  • audio quality
    • G.711, G.722, G.729
  • management
    • up to 125 participants in a single conference
  • conference web management

TODO

  • extensions
    • WebEX
  • price
    • $23.80 per month flat rate
    • $0.17 per minute (seems to be per minute regardless of a number of participants in the conference)

Communique Conferencing

http://www.communiqueconferencing.com/

  • audio quality

TODO

  • management
    • reservationless conferencing
    • scales up to 10,000 participants overall (most probably for all hosted conferences)
    • up to 25 participants per conference with WebEX collaborative suite
  • extensions
    • Microsoft Office Live meeting
    • Cisco WebEX
  • price
    • no setup fee or monthly fee (i.e., pay per participant/minute)
    • Monthly Plan: $69/month/meeting host
    • Annual Plan: $59/month/meeting host
      • A host is any staff member that may schedule and host meetings. Hosts can hold an unlimited number of meetings with up to 25 participants per meeting. Participants and co-prosenters do not need a host license. A host license is not tied to a particular computer. For example, 5 standard host accounts allow five different staff members to each host a meeting at the same time with up to 25 attendees per meeting.
  • note
    • It seems that Communique conferencing is based on InterCall, at least the conference web management login page is exactly same with exception of company logos

Verizon

http://www.verizonbusiness.com/products/conferencing/

https://e-meetings.verizonbusiness.com/

  • audio quality

TODO

  • management
    • reservationless audioconferencing service
    • up to 20 participants, larger conferences available upon inquiry
  • conference web management
    • available through "Meeting View"
    • available features:
      • A list of participants, including the line status of each participant
      • Monitoring and/or managing a Q&A queue by promoting or removing participants from the queue
      • Viewing polling results in real-time via their Internet browser
      • Chatting with other pre-designated call leaders and/or the Conference Coordinator
      • Sort participant information
      • View and print the participant list
      • Mute/un-mute and disconnect participant
  • extensions
    • Microsoft Office LiveMeeting based web conferencing available as an addition to audio conferencing for additional fees

AT&T

IP Audio Conferencing Service

http://www.business.att.com/enterprise/Service/unified-communications-enterprise/conferencing-services-enterprise/ip-audio-conferencing-enterprise/

  • audio quality

TODO

  • management
    • reservationless

TODO: number of conference participants

  • conference web management
    • through web based AT&T Conference Monitor
    • available features
      • Entry & Exit Options (silence, tones, name)
      • Participant Count
      • Conference Continuation without Host
      • Dial Out and Add Participants
      • Conference Record/Digitized Replay
      • Mute All
      • Name Record
      • Roll Call
      • Question & Answer Session
      • Voting & Polling (via DTMF only)
      • Conference Lock
      • Live Assistance Request
      • Integration with Web Conferencing
      • View ANI (Automatic Number Identification) via Conference Monitor (when available)
  • extensions
    • AT&T Connect collaborative suite (proprietary, presumably MS Windows and maybe MacOS X only SW)
  • price
    • pay as you go, 8.5¢ per minute for audio conferencing, 12¢ per minute including AT&T Connect

Vodafone

http://www.business.vodafone.com/site/bus/public/enuk/support/60_hosted_solutions/web_conferencing/01_key_features/p_key_features.jsp

  • signalling and access
    • PSTN: toll-free or dial-in access from the following countries
      • Toll-free Dial-in: Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, USA
      • Toll Dial-in: Belgium (Hasselt), Denmark (Copenhagen), France (Paris), Germany (Frankfurt), Ireland (Dublin), Italy (Milan), Netherlands (Amsterdam), Norway (Oslo), Romania (Bucharest), Spain (Madrid), Sweden (Stockholm), Switzerland (Zurich), United Kingdom
    • VOIP available with WebEX
  • audio quality

TODO

  • management

TODO

  • conference web management

TODO

  • extensions
    • Cisco WebEX
    • Desktop, application & file sharing
    • Chat, video and white-boarding

Services Evaluation

Methodology

  • Evaluation criteria:
    1. EGI Partners Coverage with PSTN dial-in options
    2. Skype and/or SIP support
      • Skype support adds 20%
      • additional SIP support adds 5%
    3. Call quality
      • This is actually quite questionable. All services provide roughly the same call quality according to our surveying and testing. Therefore we omit the quality criterion from the evaluation. Subjective notes on call quality which are result of our direct testing of the service providers are mentioned in the Notes subsection below.
    4. Extensions
      • adds 15% to the evaluation; therefrom:
        • conference recording 5%
        • collaborative tools support (such as WebEx, MS Office Live meeting or similar functionality) adds 10%
          • note that WebEx or MS Office Live meeting might actually be quite overkill in comparison to the community collaboration needs
    5. Price
      • adds 20% to the evaluation
      • This is actually quite tricky as the plans and pay-per-call options may not be directly comparable. However, for the evaluation purposes we use a model usage with 15 conferences per month (see #Current State). Each conference will have 10 participants and take 60 minutes. The model usage does not take concurrently running conferences into the account.

Results

EGI partners coverage EGI partners coverage weight Skype support Skype support weight SIP support SIP support weight Conference recording Conference recording weight Collaborative tools support Collaborative tools support weight Price Price weight Total Ranking
TurboBridge 0,00 0,4 x 0,2 x 0,05 x 0,05 0,1 0,94 0,2 0,49 7.
HiDef Conferencing 0,41 0,4 x 0,2 0,05 x 0,05 0,1 0,96 0,2 0,61 6.
Calliflower 0,72 0,4 x 0,2 0,05 x 0,05 x 0,1 0,97 0,2 0,83 1.
InterCall 0,74 0,4 0,2 x 0,05 x 0,05 x 0,1 0,97 0,2 0,69 4.
MyGlobalConference 0,88 0,4 x 0,2 x 0,05 x 0,05 0,1 0,62 0,2 0,78 2.
ConferenceCall 0,00 0,4 0,2 x 0,05 0,05 x 0,1 0,98 0,2 0,35 10.
Communique 0,91 0,4 0,2 x 0,05 x 0,05 x 0,1 0,96 0,2 0,76 3.
Verizon 0,73 0,4 0,2 0,05 0,05 x 0,1 0,5 0,2 0,49 7.
AT&T 0,71 0,4 0,2 x 0,05 x 0,05 x 0,1 0,93 0,2 0,67 5.
Vodafone 0,70 0,4 0,2 x 0,05 0,05 x 0,1 0 0,2 0,43 9.

Notes

  • Subjective evaluation of services which are providing trial accounts or free credit for testing and evaluation purposes showed the following:
    • Califlower provided the best overall user experience. The PSTN dial-in options cover 72% of EGI participants, Skype is supported, the service provides conference recording and quite powerful collaborative tools (document sharing with collaborative annotation tools) wrapped in nice and relly easy to use web UI. Fixed plans pricing is provided. The drawback is that only 30 concurrent Skype call-ins are supported (this is a principal limitation of Calliflower Skype gateway) and inferior (on the other hand still usable) audio quality provided by the Skype gateway (this is currently being discussed with Calliflower tech support).
    • HiDef Conferencing provided subjectively the best audio quality. However the PSTN dial-in options are weak in comparison to other providers. Also no collaborative extensions are provided.
    • MyGlobalConference provides the best EGI partners coverage with PSTN dial-in options while also supporting Skype call-in. Audio quality roughly corresponds to the PSTN call. The drawbacks would be quite minimalistic and unfriendly conference management web user interface and no collaborative extensions provided.

Other Teleconferencing Service Providers

  • just for reference; the services do not provide one or more required features (mostly Skype integration); also usually US only dial-in numbers are provided

Technologies

http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/index.php?page=Skype+Gateways


SIP to Skype

http://www.mhspot.com/sts/siptosis_download.php

http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/business/sip/overview/

http://blogs.skype.com/business/2009/03/skype_for_sip_now_available.html

http://blogs.skype.com/business/2009/09/skype_for_asterisk.html

Other considerations and notes

  • Evo is also being used. Users does not seem to be particularly happy with this solution. The problem seems to be the EVO client which is not particularly user friendly.
    • List of EVO dial-in options just for reference (Australia, Canada and USA omitted):
      • Czech Republic (CESNET, Prague)
      • France (RAP, Paris)
      • Germany (DESY, Hamburg)
      • Italy (INFN, several cities)
      • Netherlands (Nikhef, Amsterdam)
      • Switzerland (CERN, Geneva)
      • United Kingdom (University of Manchester)
  • SWITCH offered some teleconferencing services to the CSIRT group. The service would be most probably based on existing SWITCH H.323/SIP infrastructure.