MNET Services>Telecom Video>FAQ>Setup

Can I use the webcam on my computer to attend a videoconference?

MN.IT SERVICES allows webcam systems to participate in multi-point conferences, but cannot guarantee the quality of the experience. Because of the inherent problems, you must have permission from the host site before being connected. See also the firewall ports entry.

In addition:

  • Your firewall administrator may need to open ports.
  • You may not be able to connect directly to a Group H.323 video system.
  • MN.IT SERVICES bridges have limited resources to add webcam-based video into a multi-point conference. Check with MN.IT SERVICES in advance to be sure you can be bridged.
  • MN.IT SERVICES will troubleshoot PC-based systems on a best effort basis, as time permits. If your PC-based system stops functioning during a conference, you must work with your local IT staff to resolve the issue.
  • Test the video functions after every operating system update.

What are some tips to make your webcam connection more trouble-free?

  • Use headphones to avoid echoes that could disrupt the meeting.
  • Mute your microphone when not speaking.
  • Make sure there are no other programs trying to use the webcam (check the icons adjacent to the clock on the taskbar). If running XP, Vista or Windows 7, go to Start > Run > msconfig > Enter> to disable auto-starting items that use the camera.
  • Unless you are using your computer to display content in the conference, minimize the number of applications running on your computer during a conference.

How many monitors will my system support?

Many systems support two monitors. However, if you need more than two, you should consider "daisy-chaining" the output of one monitor is the input to the next. If the distance between monitors is too great for this technique, use a video distribution amplifier to avoid signal degradation. Check your system's owners or operator's manual for details. Once you add a second monitor, you will need to access your video system menus to allow it to be used correctly. MN.IT Services video support can most likely assist you in adding additional cameras.

Can I use my video system as a conference phone?

Some systems have an analog or ISDN BRI line connection that can be used to add audio-only participants. If your system does not have this feature available, MN.IT SERVICES bridges can, if resources are available, provide a viable option. Contact the Service Management Center for details and costs.

Can I use my system to make a VCR or DVD recording, basically use it as a studio?

Consult the manuals that came with your system. Some have this ability readily available, others do not. Alternatively, if you have multiple systems, you can connect a recording device to one of them and use it to record the event in the originating room. Connect the two local systems at the highest rate that maintains a clean signal. If you do not have multiple systems call the Service Management Center. Depending on availability, MN.IT SERVICES can record your event as a stream that can be ported to DVD. There will be a charge for this service, and for additional edits if needed and requested.

How do I use my touch panel?

In general, a touch panel will have most of the same functions as your remote control. However, each touch panel installation will vary. MN.IT SERVICES does not directly support touch panels. Direct any questions about your Touch Panel at your system vendor. Do not upgrade your touch panel equipped system, without consulting your vendor about the touch panel.s compatibly with the new software.

Can my system send a test tone that I can hear in my room?

  • Several systems can do this. The function will most often be in the system.s diagnostic area.

How do I enter a dot (.) if my remote has no (.) dot button?

Use the * button or right-arrow depending on your systems make and software version.

Where can I find my IP address?

On most systems, the IP address will briefly appear on-screen during a reboot. Some Cisco systems will display the IP address by pressing the menu button, followed by the up arrow. On some Polycom systems, press the Information button (home) to reveal the address (may need to select the (I) icon from the home screen). The IP address is also available in the Network Configuration (IP or LAN configuration) menu, which normally requires a password to access.

How do I change my IP address?

In general, once the IP address is set, it should not be changed. If needed, contact the Service Management Center to make a change. Changing the address (IP address or E.164 identifier) without notifying the Service Management Center may prevent you (or someone else) from attending the next conference.

Where can I find my E.164 identifier?

On Cisco systems, it will be in the system information screens, and in several models on the idle screen visible shortly after booting. On a Polycom it may be on the home screen, or you may need to access the restricted menus and navigate to the LAN H.323 configuration area.

Where is the power button?

The power button is always located on the back of the system. Some custom room systems have a master switch that powers the camera and audio equipment down, but may not power down the actual system. It is important to know where the system's switch is because, like a PC, many problems can be solved by a cold reboot. If your system is going to be placed in an inaccessible location, the cord that supplies power should be accessible to allow yanking the plug out. Always wait at least 10 seconds before restoring power to prevent any possible damage to the codec.s DC power supplies in the chassis.

Is there a factory reset button or function? What does it do?

Both Cisco and Polycom systems have a Factory Reset function (or button) to reset all parameters and functions to factory defaults. Do not use this function unless instructed by MN.IT SERVICES video support, your system vendor or manufacturer's representative. Executing this function may clear your problem but, once completed, you will need to reconfigure your system before it will be usable. You might also lose your option keys, which should have been written down & safely stored.

How do I access my advanced menus if I forgot the password?

Each system type has a different procedure to reset the password. Some require a serial connection between a terminal and the system. Contact the MN.IT SERVICES Service Management Center, your vendor or manufacturer's support representative for help.

Can I plug my video system into any available Ethernet jack?

This not advisable. Video networks are almost always on separate LAN infrastructure, devices and will not work (properly or at all) unless connected to the Video LAN. If your system becomes disconnected from the wall and there is more than one jack, contact your local IT staff to be sure you are connected to the correct one. The wall jacks should have been labeled or possibly color-coded when the system was installed (recommended).

Where is my serial number?

When you receive your system, copy down the serial number and store it securely so you can access it easily for service and software upgrades. Specifics:

  • Look for a sticker somewhere on the codec (the processing unit)
  • Some systems will display the serial number on its information or start-up screen.

Can my video system be set to not answer calls automatically?

Yes. However, if the audio system is left on and the system is set to manual answer, an incoming call could ring many times. The best solution is to shut the system off or put the system in Do Not Disturb mode (Cisco or Tandberg) when not in use, so no one can call your system unexpectedly. This mode prevents the system from playing a ring-tone when called, but will display a notice that someone is attempting to connect, assuming the display is powered up. The power off option is best for some systems. Leave the device in same mode you found it.

Can we customize the welcome screen on our system?

Some systems allow this. Consult the operators or administrators guide for your model.

When should I turn my system off?

MN.IT SERVICES recommends you leave your system on during the week, shutting it off over the weekend. Please disconnect the power from the wall during storms, if you do not have conditioned power (UPS). You should also power it off if it's to be idle for extended periods. These systems can be left on over the weekend, but it's not recommended. If you do leave the system on, MN.IT Services recommends the use of conditioned (UPS) power or, at the very least, a surge protected power strip. MN.IT SERVICES may occasionally ask you to leave your system powered up over a weekend, for late evening or early morning testing. The display does not need to be left on, but if possible, point the camera at something that moves like a clock or out a window.

When my system goes to sleep, does it matter where the camera is pointed?

It is best to avoid having it point at light fixtures or windows that might have a view of sun. Even though the camera may be asleep, or off, light is still being focused on the sensor(s). If the light is too bright, there is the possibility that it might burn an image or damage onto the sensor.

Will MN.IT SERVICES ever call my system without permission?

Yes. Sometimes we test infrastructure devices for routing, Quality of Service functions or capacity. Normally, the test calls are of short duration. These tests are always run between midnight and 7 am. If this an issue for your location, please let the Service Management Center know, and your system will be flagged to not be used for testing. None of the testing MN.IT SERVICES would do without specific permission would require anything other than the system be on and in auto answer. Allowing MN.IT SERVICES to do this testing helps us maintain the quality connections you've come to expect. If by chance, a test happens when the room is occupied it will be immediately disconnected.

Can anyone else ever call my system without permission?

Yes, it's possible. Just like someone can call your desk phone without first asking permission, someone can attempt to call your video system by either IP address or E.164 identifier. Powering your system off, will prevent this from occurring.

Will my firewall work with my videoconference unit?

Some firewalls will work well with videoconferencing. However, MN.IT SERVICES does not normally put your group H.323 videoconference systems behind a firewall for the following reasons:

  • MN.IT SERVICES's videoconferencing is routed separately from the rest of the data, voice and management traffic. Video systems cannot get back out to the network even if someone manages to get past the password prompt.
  • If by chance a hacker manages to break into your system, clearing of settings is the worst thing they can do: only your system's settings and possibly your feature keys could be cleared. These can be restored in about 5 minutes. This is another reason to store a hard copy of your settings and feature keys. An attacker that manages past the password prompt might see a small snapshot of the room, refreshed every 10 to 30 seconds. (You can configure your system to turn any built-in Web, FTP, SNMP, or Telnet functions off.)
  • It is unlikely that your system will be attacked through the any of the first 1023 ports. These ports are only open to select IPs at the customer location and MN.IT Services. tech staff.
  • MN.IT SERVICES uses access-lists in routers to restrict access to all of the above functions.
  • MN.IT SERVICES recommends that you allow HTTP, FTP, SNMP and Telnet access from our network management networks, so we can better assist you in the event of a problem. Contact the Service Management Center to obtain a list of the networks. These networks already have access if your video systems are using the MN.IT Services assigned IPs.

Will a traffic/packet shaper have an impact on video?

The short answer is yes. Packet shaping will almost always cause packet loss. Videoconference units can tolerate and compensate for a very small amount of loss and jitter, but if either exceeds the recommended maximums, video breakup, and/or garbled audio will result. The conference video and audio data is marked in a way that tells MNET's routing and switching devices to treat these packets as you would an ambulance with its siren and lights on while on the road. Basically, these packets always go to the front of any queues along the path.

Our system is located in a public room, how can we prevent theft?

Most set-top systems have a hole for a laptop security cable. This is the best way to keep the system from growing legs. It's also a good idea to keep the remote out of sight to prevent the batteries from walking off or being replaced with dead ones. The other option is to keep the codec portion of the system in a locked cabinet if possible. Be sure to put up all remotes too.

How can I tell if my remote control is still working and/or the batteries are weak?

Set your system to display the local room on your monitor. Hold the front of the remote control an inch or two from the camera lens and press a button or two. Your camera will pick up a flashing white light each time a button is pressed. If it's dim or missing, replace the batteries. If the batteries are good but the remote still doesn't work, the room lights may be scattering the infra-red from the remote. Turn out the room lights and try again, if the remote starts to work, your room lights are causing interference. If lighting is the problem replace your bulbs with ones that have a different color temperature than the current ones. In some cases, covering the IR-LED with a small piece of cellophane tape, will help. If your remote is dead, contact your vendor. In a pinch, you can control your system via its web interface. Never move the camera by hand, this will more than likely strip the gears that controls the panning or tilting. That sort of damage will void your warranty, and would not be covered by your service contract. If you have a speakerphone in your videoconference room (recommended), you can attend with voice only. Call the MN.IT Service Management Center if you need to attend via phone or speaker phone.

Should I cover my video system when not in use?

Unless the system is in a harsh environment, it is not necessary, but you can cover the system while it is switched off. Do not cover it while power is applied. It could overheat and cause components to burn or heat damage could alter the function of some components. To maintain privacy with the power on, us a lens cap or fashion one with a small flap covering the camera lens. Another option is to switch the camera source to something other than your main camera. However, this option may cause confusion for the next person using the equipment, so leave a note for the next folks using the room.