Re: CU-SeeMe / local MBONE

Randall Severy (severy@severy.is.ge.com)
Sat, 4 Feb 1995 13:06:25 -0500


Mike "suction-cup-tentacles",

I certainly hope you can combine nv and vat with CU-SeeMe without a
connection to the MBone, as that is exactly what I'm trying to do as well.
I'm in the process of setting up desktop video conferencing between three
of our offices (Rockville, MD, Brentwood, TN, and Dublin, Ireland) using
CU-SeeMe along with nv and vat. Our Internet access is through a corporate
firewall, so I can't use the MBone and my only use of CU-SeeMe with the
Internet-based reflectors is through a 14.4k SLIP connection.

The equipment in our offices is a mixture of PCs, Macs, and HP Unix
workstations, so the combination of CU-SeeMe with nv and vat is a perfect
solution. Our local LANs are 10Mbps Ethernet, with 128kbps WAN connections
to the remote offices. I have installed the CU-SeeMe reflector software on
an HP 715/50 server running an 8-user version of HP-UX 9.05. Apparently
the multicast IP functionality was already installed because I have had no
trouble with handling several CU-SeeMe, nv, and vat connections on the
reflector. I have a QuickCam set up on a Mac and I have two Creative Labs
FS200 boards and cameras on order for two PCs. I don't have any capture
boards for the HP workstations (yet), so I've only been able to send small
screen snapshots with nv. The HP workstations (some 712s and some 715s)
have audio capability, so vat *should* work properly on them, but I'm
having some problems with that area.

My experience with a first trial run of the various pieces of this
setup is promising, but there are some things that still need to be worked
out. I've encountered the same problems with no audio from the QuickCam
that others have reported on the list recently. I'm waiting anxiously (as
is everyone else) for audio support in the Windows version of CU-SeeMe. I
won't be able to test the video from the PCs until the cameras arrive, but
video from the Macs with the QuickCam looks good. On the Unix side, nv can
display the video broadcast from the QuickCam, but conflicts in the color
palettes on some workstations can make the picture display look like it's
being seen through Geordi's visor! The nv screen snapshots show up well on
the PCs and Macs, so I hope a video capture board would work just as well.
The connections between nv and the CU-SeeMe reflector seem to be a bit
unstable, however. Often I have to tell nv to send a signal before it can
receive something from the reflector, and the connection to the reflector
is lost fairly often. Using vat for sound connections has been relatively
unsuccessful. I tried a test of vat between two HP 712 workstations,
connecting through the reflector, and with most of the encoding types you
couldn't hear anything. With one (GSM, I think?) you could hear the person
speaking on the other end, but it was very choppy with sharp spikes in the
sound. At no time could I get sound from vat to be heard on CU-SeeMe on a
Mac.

If anyone else has experiences with nv and vat connecting to a CU-SeeMe
reflector in unicast mode (i.e, no MBone connection at all), I'd be
interested in hearing what worked and what didn't (especially if it was on
HP workstations). There was a good deal of information in the FAQs and on
the various CU-SeeMe Web pages about integrating nv with CU-SeeMe, but
almost nothing about vat, so any additional advice or other information
about using vat with CU-SeeMe would be extremely useful.

Cheers..... Randall

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