Report on Codian MCU Alan Stillerman Senior Product Research Analyst by armedman1

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									Report on Codian 4220 MCU




          Alan Stillerman
  Senior Product Research Analyst
  Product Research & Development




          18 March 2005
Background ................................................................................................................................... 3
Setup/Description.......................................................................................................................... 3
Installation ..................................................................................................................................... 3
MCU Parameters .......................................................................................................................... 3
  Video........................................................................................................................................... 3
  Audio .......................................................................................................................................... 4
  “Customisation”........................................................................................................................ 4
  Upgrade...................................................................................................................................... 4
Options ........................................................................................................................................... 4
Video Firewall ............................................................................................................................... 4
4CIF................................................................................................................................................ 5
Fast H.264 ...................................................................................................................................... 5
Gatekeeper..................................................................................................................................... 5
Conferences ................................................................................................................................... 5
  Participants................................................................................................................................ 5
  Custom Layout .......................................................................................................................... 6
  Statistics ..................................................................................................................................... 6
  Send Message............................................................................................................................. 6
  Detailed Participant information............................................................................................. 6
     Display .................................................................................................................................... 6
     Camera .................................................................................................................................... 6
     Audio....................................................................................................................................... 7
     Custom Layout........................................................................................................................ 7
     Statistics .................................................................................................................................. 7
     Send Message.......................................................................................................................... 7
     Diagnostics.............................................................................................................................. 7
Streaming....................................................................................................................................... 7
Users ............................................................................................................................................... 7
Endpoints/participants ................................................................................................................. 8
Gateways........................................................................................................................................ 8
Logs ................................................................................................................................................ 8
  Event Log................................................................................................................................... 8
  Capture Filter............................................................................................................................ 8
  Display Filter ............................................................................................................................. 8
  Syslog.......................................................................................................................................... 9
  H.323 log .................................................................................................................................... 9
  Call Detail Record (CDR) ........................................................................................................ 9
Testing............................................................................................................................................ 9
  Dial – In...................................................................................................................................... 9
  Dial – Out................................................................................................................................. 10
Results .......................................................................................................................................... 10
Concerns ...................................................................................................................................... 10
Bugs Found during testing ......................................................................................................... 10
Background
        The Indiana Higher Education Telecommunication System (IHETS) currently operates
many different technologies that support distance education. IHETS conducts tests of new
products as they pertain to either existing technology located at IHETS or new technology that
may be used by IHETS. It is the purpose of IHETS to test existing and new technology in order
to evaluate that technology’s effectiveness in support of the IHETS mission.

       This report is on the Codian 4220 Multi-Conference Unit (MCU). The 4220 MCU
handles both voice and video conferencing.

Setup/Description
        The Codian 4220 comes with a console port and two Ethernet ports located on the front
of the device. The AC power cord is in the back of the device. The MCU has 40 ports that can
handle bit rates up to 2 Mbps each. The MCU can also handle 200 unicast and unlimited
multicast users.

        The Codian 4220 MCU is setup by connecting to the console port located on the front of
the unit. Settings required are: Baud Rate 38400; Data Bits - 8; Parity - None; Stop Bits - 1;
Flow Control - None.

         IP settings (static or DHCP) can now be configured for the default port (Port A) of the
device using commands given the in the Codian MCU 4200 Installation Guide. Once Port A is
configured with an IP address, the MCU can be accessed by web browser for further
configuration. It is highly recommended that the unit is upgraded to the latest software once the
unit is active.

Installation
       The Codian 4220 MCU is a one unit high 19” rack mounted system.

MCU Parameters
        The Codian MCU operating parameters are configured from the settings page. These
include Network A, Network B, Routes, Conferences, Gatekeeper, Streaming, "Customisation"
and Upgrade. Some of these pages are covered in other sections. The video and audio protocols
are selected on the Conferences page.

       Video

               Video protocols that the Codian MCU can handle are H.261, H.263, H.263+,
       H.263 interlaced and H.264. Other settings that can be configured are: Default video
       size, Default and Maximum video size, Default bandwidth (from MCU and to MCU),
       Default view family (Continuous Presence layout), Maximum transmitted video packet
       size, Video format (NTSC – 30 fps or PAL – 24 fps), Receive bit rate optimization, Flow
       control on video errors, Don’t see yourself in small panes, Don’t duplicate in small panes,
       and Video transmit size optimization.

       Audio

               Audio protocols that the Codian MCU can handle are G.711, G.722, G.728 and
       G.729. Other audio settings that can be configured are: Voice activation switching
       interval (msec), Focus change switching interval (msec), and Minimum voice re-mixing
       interval (msec).

       “Customisation”

               Allows the MCU to be used with other languages.

       Upgrade

              Upgrading MCU software and adding additional features such as Video Firewall
       are done on this page. MCU can also be shutdown and restarted.


Options
       The Codian 4220 comes with up to three options: Video Firewall, 4CIF and Fast H.264.
While IHETS received the MCU with all three options installed, not all options were tested.

       Video Firewall

              The video firewall option allows endpoints on two separate networks to connect
       into conferences on the MCU without knowing about each other. This is accomplished
       by connecting each network to one of the two Ethernet ports on the front of the MCU.
       To do this, port A (default port) should be set up on the default network. Changes to port
       A are made on the Settings Network A. IP Addresses can be set to static or DHCP.
       DNS, speed and duplex can also be set.

             The other network is set up as Network B on Ethernet port B. It has the same
       parameters as Network A. Port must be enabled.

              The third step is on the Settings Routes page. On this page port preferences
       can be set. Services allowed (FTP, WEB, Incoming H.323 and Streaming) can be set for
       each port. Default routes can be set for each port by giving an IP address and mask.

              The key to make this video firewall work is to have a default route for the
       gatekeeper setup on the respective port.
       4CIF

               This feature allows better viewing of continuous presence using the standard four
       square screen at 384 kbps and higher. This option was not tested since IHETS does not
       regularly support continuous presence conferences.


       Fast H.264

              This feature allows the MCU to handle conferences and endpoints using H.264 up
       to 2 Mbps. This feature was not tested since IHETS conferences are defaulted to 384
       Kpbs. Also, IHETS does not have more than two codecs capable of H.264 encoding.

Gatekeeper

               The Codian MCU works with the Cisco MCM gatekeeper. The gatekeeper is
       configured on the Settings Gatekeeper page. Also on this page, the MCU can be told
       which port to send conference requests out, E.164 number for conferences can be set up
       as a six digit prefix with the last four being created on the conference configuration page,
       and H.323 ID is established.

Conferences

        Conferences can be set for Dial – in, Dial – out, streaming, unicasting, multicasting, and
recurrence. All conferences are created on the Conferences page. On the conferences page the
MCU lists active conferences, scheduled conferences and completed conferences. Conferences
can be watched (by streaming) by clicking on the “Watch” link next to the conference name. To
edit a conference, click on the conference name. The conference detail page loads. To add a
conference, click on the add conference button on the Conference page and the conference
parameters page loads. The options available when adding a conference are: Name, Description,
Numeric identifier, PIN, Owner, Layout control via FECC/DTMF, Invite pre-configured
participants, Unicast, Maximum video participants, and Maximum audio-only participants. The
conference is also scheduled from this page to either start now, at a specific time, duration, and
recurrence that can be daily, weekly, specific day of the week and can be terminated after x
number of sessions or by a certain date. Endpoints can be added at this time by clicking on the
Pre-configured participant’s button. When done, click on the add conference button and the
conference is ready to go.

Other menus available after the conference has been added are:

       Participants

               This page allows you to see who has connected (by streaming or video), what
       audio/video protocol that is being transmitted and received by the MCU, ability to mute
       audio and/or video, disconnect an endpoint or allow/disallow endpoints from controlling
       their screen layout. The participant’s page also shows which endpoints have participated
in this conference in the past. This log can be purged. Some preliminary diagnostics can
be done by looking at the Pre-configured participant status. This will only tell if the
participant connected or failed to connect.

Custom Layout

       This screen allows you to set up continuous presence layout options for the
conference.

Statistics

       This page gives statistics on the conference only. To see individual statistics on
an endpoint, they must be in an active conference and be selected from the participant
page.

        Information on this screen are: Start time, End time, Running time, Gatekeeper
id, Number of audio/video participants, Highest number of audio/video participants,
Number of audio-only participants, Highest number of audio/video participants, Number
of streaming viewers, Highest number of streaming viewers.

Send Message

       This allows the conference organizer to send a message to all participants.
Options are available that allow the message to stay on the endpoints screen from 10
seconds to permanent with 30 seconds as default.


Detailed Participant information

       While a conference is active, clicking on the link above the IP address of the
endpoint or the H.323 id will bring up the participant detail pages for that participant.
The pages are: Display, Camera, Audio, Custom layout, Statistics, Send message and
Diagnostics.

       Display

               This page enables the MCU operator the ability to affect the screen layout
       for an individual participant.

       Camera

              This page enables the MCU operator the ability to take control of an
       endpoint’s camera. This will only work if Far End Camera Control (H.281) is
       enabled on the endpoint and the MCU.
              Audio

                      This page allows the MCU operator to enable/disable automatic gain
              control, apply fixed gain, and suppress in-band DTMF tones. Conference and
              endpoint audio is graphically displayed by a static graph. Refreshing the page
              will update the graph. Endpoint can be muted/un-muted also.

              Custom Layout

                      This page allows the MCU operator the ability to change the screen layout
              for an individual endpoint.

              Statistics

                       This screen shows audio/video statistics for an individual endpoint. A key
              statistic for endpoint viability during a conference is Frame errors. Page must be
              refreshed in order to see any update in all values being reported on the page.
              Some other items shown are Real Time Control Protocol (RTCP) packets,
              Receive IP address and Channel bit rate.

              Send Message

                      This is the same as Send Message is for the Conference. This message is
              sent to the indicated endpoint only.

              Diagnostics

                       This allows the MCU operator to see protocol specific information as it
              relates to an individual endpoint.


Streaming

        Unicast and multicast streaming parameters are set up on the Settings Streaming page.
For Unicast, protocol selections (H.261 or H.263) and bit rates (64 Kbps to 1536 Kbps) can be
selected. Streaming of ad hoc conferences can be enabled here.

       For multicast, protocol selections (H.261 or H.263) and bit rates (64 Kbps to 1536 Kbps)
can be selected. IP multicast address ranges and port number ranges are also specified here.

Users

        Users are added here and are given a user name, password and privilege level. There are
seven privilege levels (low to high): Conference list only, Conference list plus streaming,
Conference detail, Conference creation, Conference creation and limited control, Conference
creation and full control, and Administrator.
Note: The number of user levels has increased since the return of the MCU.

Endpoints/participants

       H.323 endpoints are added here are called pre-configured endpoints. Information
gathered here is name; IP address or E.164 number, H.323 gateway, Preferred video size, Default
view family, Preferred bandwidth to/from MCU, layout control via FECC/DTMF and
Widescreen video.

Gateways

       Various types of gateways can be configured here including a VCR and a Cisco Call
Manager. Parameters include Name, IP address, Preferred video size and Preferred bandwidth
to/from MCU.

Logs
Many logs can be found on the Events page. They are: Event log, Capture filter, Display filter,
Syslog, H.323 log and CDR log. Many of the logs can be downloaded into a .txt file or an XML
file.

       Event Log

              This tells where the event took place, where the information came from (system,
       upgrade, syslog, network or other source) and time stamp. Can hold 20 pages with each
       page having approximately 100 entries.

       Capture Filter

               Allows the MCU Administrator to set parameters for several criteria ranging from
       API to Web_Pages. Levels of reporting include: Errors only; Errors and warnings;
       Errors, warnings and information; Errors, warnings, information and trace; and Detailed
       trace.

       There is also a global command to set all parameters to display the same information.

       Display Filter

               This is similar to the Capture Filter in that criteria ranging from API to
       Web_Pages can be set. Levels of display include: Errors only; Errors and warnings;
       Errors, warnings and information; Errors, warnings, information and trace; and Detailed
       trace.
              There is also a global command to set all parameters to display the same
       information.

                An additional test filter string can be added.

       Syslog

                This page allows you to input up to four host IP’s.

       H.323 log

               This page will show date and time stamp, source IP and port, destination IP and
       port, Protocol used and brief description of information provided. It is also possible to
       expand the record for more information. The log can be downloaded as an XML file.

       Call Detail Record (CDR)

               Once enabled an administrator can apply a filter string and can also have it record
       all or part of the following: Scheduled conference started; Ad-hoc conference started,
       Conference ended, Participant joined conference, Participant left conference, Endpoint
       information and Media information. This information can be downloaded as an XML
       file.

       NOTE: Once the conference has ended, the CDR for that conference no longer exists.


Testing

        Testing took place between 26 January and 15 March 2005. Tests conducted include
Dial-in and Dial-out as well as the Firewall Transversal and recurrence features.

        Several in house endpoints were setup as pre-configured endpoints. The MCU was able
to attach to our Cisco MCM gatekeeper.

        All IHETS conferences were conducted at 384 Kbps. All audio and video parameters
that the MCU allowed were selected.

       Dial – In

               This was accomplished by setting up a four digit conference code when creating
       the conference. The other six digits were established in the Gatekeeper setup. This
       allowed for a 10 digit E.164 number to be used to enter conferences per Gatekeeper
       requirements for the Indiana Telecommunications Network. Endpoints were added from
       the pre-configured list or created at the time the conference was configured. Conferences
       were set to start now with duration of 1 hour or 2 hours 15 minutes. Recurrence pattern
       was selected for every Monday and Wednesday.
       Dial – Out

                This was accomplished by selecting Invite pre-configured participants “At the
       start of the conference”. All other parameters were set in the same manner as a Dial-in
       conference. Conferences were set to start now with duration of 1 hour or 2 hours 15
       minutes. Recurrence pattern was selected for every Monday and Wednesday.

Results

       The MCU performed well on both dial – in and dial – out tests. The recurrence feature
worked as desired. Conferences stayed up for the time set. None of the 2 hour 15 minute
conferences ended early. Endpoints were able to connect by E.164 number or via IP address.

       There also was a persistent video jitter that occurred every twenty to thirty seconds where
there would be a section of the video window that would show artifacts. It was not determined
what was causing the artifacts. Endpoint statistics did not show any tall tale sign.

        There was some difficulty in working with the Video Firewall feature. Some of the
difficulty was due to the IHETS lab network. However, once static routes were applied to
specific Ethernet ports on the Settings Routes page, codecs were able to connect to
conferences that were not on a 10.0.0.0 network.

Concerns

      Documentation is provided for each interface page of the MCU. However, this
documentation only describes the various fields specific to that page. There is no detail
documentation on any area including troubleshooting, diagnostics, and call detail records.

        Diagnostic and statistics are located in several places (Conference level, participant level
and event log level). With statistics spread out in all of these places, real time troubleshooting of
a live conference becomes cumbersome to difficult. There needs to be a better way to pull
information together into one area when a conference is live.

       Call Detail Records are only recorded as long as the conference is live. Once the
conference ends the CDR disappears. CDR’s need to be available for a few months after a
conference has ended.


Bugs Found during testing
       One bug was found during testing. This occurred when trying to route the gatekeeper
through Ethernet port B when Ethernet port A is defined as the default port.

								
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