MNET Services>Telecom Video>FAQ>The Video Conferencing Service Components

What the the components of MN.IT's videoconferencing service?

The basic components include:

  • Two or more video systems or a mix of room systems, desktop appliance systems or Jabber. These take the audio track and live video, sending them over the network (and vice versa).
  • MN.IT SERVICES VCS Gatekeepers: Devices that convert human friendly names or numbers, to network IP addresses. By June 2015 all systems that can be moved off the Tandberg Gatekeepers ( . 227) will be moved to Cisco VCSs. The VCS is a more advanced Gatekeeper, allowing features that were unavailable with the Tandberg Gatekeepers. Some systems will not work well with VCS Gatekeepers and will be kept on the Tandberg Gatekeepers until replaced. Some systems are no longer supported by MN.IT Services or the manufacturer. These may still work, but MN.IT is not responsible for certain issues that will degrade the quality of the connection or be able to connect with audio & video.
  • In the past, meaning where the Gatekeeper.s IP address ends between 209 and 227, a call would most likely stay up in the event of a Gatekeeper failure. This is no longer true. The video systems will drop the call if their periodic .hello. to the gatekeeper fails. However, when this happens, systems made earlier than 2006, will drop the call upon failure, newer systems may not, unless the system was in a connecting state, in which case the call will fail. If the prior description applies to your connection, you may need to wait up to 10 seconds, for system to switch over to the redundant, load-sharing Gatekeeper and try again.
  • MN.IT SERVICES scheduler. MN.IT SERVICES. .Cisco Telepresence Management System. (CTMS or TMS) facilitates scheduling and launching conferences. This is not strictly required (but recommended), as simple conferences (point to point) can be set up manually. The event scheduling page has more information.

What service add-ons are available?

Depending on your service agreement with MN.IT SERVICES, the following premium features are available and may incur additional charges:

  • Bridging (video and/or audio) - connecting ISDN (dial-up telephony) video or analog voice
  • Dial-Out long distance ISDN connections. Requires booking through MN.IT Video Reservations
  • Streaming your conference as audio or video (Flash, Windows, mp4, 3gp. mp3 or Real). Available streaming formats are dependent on resource availability. This can be mitigated by purchasing and operating your own streaming encoder(s).
  • Hosting the archive of streamed conferences are normally available for at least 30 days when billed by the event. Contracted services are billed monthly by storage requirements
  • Operator assistance
  • Special requests, pricing based on complexity and cost to MN.IT SERVICES.

Is closed captioning available in your videoconference service?

Although MN.IT SERVICES does not provide closed or open captioning services, a quick web search for "closed captioning services" will locate available vendors, or you can create the captions yourself. If captioning yourself, CEA-608 (also called Line 21) captions are the NTSC standard.

  • Paradigm Reporting (612) 239-0545 Kaytee Barthel
  • If you have the web programming resources, HTML5 may be the answer. VLC player will convert to MP4 or WEBM formats.
  • For more information reference the sites below: to transcode what VLC cannot for captioning
  • to caption with handbrake
  • Available in the Apple App Store, called Subtitle Writer for adding SRT subtitle to Mov, M4V, MP4 and 3GP. You WILL need a MAC to run it.
  • For a live conference or stream, your selected vendor will caption during the conference via phone, providing a link for those that need it. The captions will show up in a window separate from the video. The technique is a bit .Viewer Hostile. as the captions are presented in a window separate from the video. Closed Captions for Live Video is still under development. Some vendors, like Caption Max offer it, but they are not under a state contract.
  • DIY on-screen live captioning requires an investment in equipment and/or software that sits between the audio/video signals and the encoding device or software. Captions are sent to a black-box by the Caption (CART) provider, and mixed with the video signal on line 21 prior to its being sent to the encoder.
  • If your CART provider provides an SRT file, MN.IT can embed .Closed Captions. in MP4 files.

How long has the State of Minnesota been offering video services?

In 1991, MN.IT SERVICES began offering video services through fractional-T1 circuits, and completed the migration to video over IP (H.323 ITU Standard) in 2003. H.323, and to a lesser extent SIP, is now used by all MN.IT SERVICES video customers sans one. IP video is much more cost effective and provides far less delay, more features, better flexibility better overall picture/audio performance and greater reliability than dial-up data services.

How many video systems are there in the State of Minnesota?

There are close to 1,800 systems deployed on MNET at over 300 locations. Every county has at least one system. Several K12s, many higher education sites and the University of Minnesota as well as the following agencies have installed IP video systems: BCA, PCA, HSEM, MDH, DOLI, DOT, DEED, Public Safety, Historical Society, Zoo, DNR, DHS, Revenue and Dept. of Corrections.

How does video over IP work? How is the quality of the MN.IT SERVICES service?

Audio and video TV signals are digitized, compressed and sent out like data onto the IP network. If a videoconference packet is corrupted or gets dropped by the network it will be discarded. Real Time packets are never retransmitted. However, MN.IT SERVICES videoconference packets have special marks that give them precedence between systems on MNET network. The special marking on these packets allow MN.IT SERVICES to provide very clean delivery of videoconference information. Anytime a packet gets discarded, the system has to guess what it contained and causes, on rare occasions, an oddly colored block, or other artifact to appear briefly on-screen. However, in a typical hour-long conference between MNET locations, no packets should get discarded.

Does MN.IT SERVICES host streaming media content? If so, what types?

MN.IT SERVICES has two physical streaming media servers that host Real Media, Windows Media, Flash, MP4, 3GP and QuickTime. QuickTime is currently only offered as video-on-demand. For information, contact your account manager.