Wednesday, 12 June 2013

DfE Guidelines for Video Conferencing and Broadband

The Department for Education working in full support of the Janet(UK)VC Partnerships Group has published an updated guidance document for educational establishments looking to purchase a broadband supply for secure, interoperable use of video and audio across their network.

Education establishments wishing to purchase broadband in the future are advised to ask their broadband suppliers if they offer the services listed below before they consider purchasing a contract with them. 

The seven broadband guidelines for VC below will help ensure a more reliable and high quality video conference experience by the end user. This guidance not only applies to schools but can be used by the FE and HE sectors also.

  • How much bandwidth is required?  Upload and download speeds (minimum of 4meg is required for HD quality VC).

  • Does the potential supplier have an efficient responsive Help desk support from qualified VC experts? Is there in conference support? Support is essential to make sure that problems are quickly resolved(SLA), so choose one that opens from 8am (or maybe even 7am is desirable), as this would still fit in with school opening hours.

  • There should be some sort of SLA for packet delivery, since VC is so sensitive to packet loss.

  • If Schools want to use HD or high bandwidths they will only receive that quality if another site they are conferencing with has the same HD equipment. If they are using an MCU for multipoint VC  then that needs to support it too (HD and speed matching).

  • Traffic shaping (restricting of non-standard ports & protocols) is a very real issue for users using public ISP's. This can have a very detrimental effect on VC, including everything from call set-up to media streams being blocked. It is recommended that schools check with potential ISP's that this will not be an issue.

  • Does your broadband supplier have a help desk that works closely with Janet VC services – so they are able to connect your establishment to the national education network and allow you to securely make VC calls outside your establishment?

Click here to download the pdf document on the DfE website highlighting the advise above.
Also click here to read about the Janet (UK) VC Partnerships Group Advice for Broadband supply and VC.

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