Re: White Pine-MacWeek News

Howard Tweddle (crompton@WorldLink.ca)
Sat, 9 Sep 1995 12:54:05 -0400


>>
>>So listreaders -- am I missing something here or is White Pine playing
>>catch-up to VIDCALL?
>
>Vidcall is different for a couple of reasons.
>
>First, it does not support sound. Secondly, it only operates via point to
>point or direct modem connection. There is no such thing as multi-cast or
>reflectors.

A more strategic question: what is the commercial business proposition
offered by CU-SeeMe on the Internet? I'm linking the two as from reading the
postings it seems that CU-SeeMe's niche is on the Net, rather than point-to
point on a regular phone-line. This makes the connection inherently
"unreliable". Assuming the technical issues of bandwidth etc are resolvable,
"customers" need to know they can connect to a "broadcast" or to a
pre-arranged "conference" reliably. Establishing a pseudo-real-time
connection of this sort with any kind of acceptable reliability is
demonstrably unrealistic with the Net as it stands today.

- Is this a correct assessment of the situation?
- Are there developments under way on the Net to relieve this problem (soon!)?
- Should CU-SeeMe be looking for another transport medium? (p-t-p modem;
ISDN; wireless?)

By the way, an ISDN connection to relieve the bandwidth bottleneck between
subscriber and provider does nothing to fix the unreliability and
non-real-timeness of the Net itself. And for point-to-point, if both points
have an ISDN connection, they might as well go all the way ISDN, with
guaranteed bandwidth and reliability (Aha! The old-reliable Telephony world
vs the seat-of-the pants computer world!)

Another "by-the-way" - ATM technology will eventually provide a solution by
allowing the prioritization of certain classes of packets. Certainly,
though, video proirity will have a pricetag attached (none of this "$0.50
per hour" stuff!)

Back to CU-SeeMe. Others are already solidly on the market with products
that are "as good as you can get" on analogue point-to-point lines. They'll
presumably have a head-start too as the market moves to ISDN point-to-point.
CU-SeeMe seems to be the most visible technology on the Net right now but
really it's just a technical curiosity until some of these important
questions are answered. The Reflector concept is interesting and sounds like
that's exactly how Videoconferencing may be provided in the ISDN world but
via the telephone network, not over the Net. The question then is, does
CU-SeeMe offer any price/performance advantage over other technologies that
will allow it to deliver a service people will buy?

>>
>>So listreaders -- am I missing something here or is White Pine playing
>>catch-up to VIDCALL?
>
>Vidcall is different for a couple of reasons.
>
>First, it does not support sound. Secondly, it only operates via point to
>point or direct modem connection. There is no such thing as multi-cast or
>reflectors.
Crompton Consulting Jewellers +1(613)839-1617 for all your jewellery needs!
********* crompton@worldlink.ca **********