Hungry for Bandwidth

Hungry for Bandwidth

By Lynn Haber

High bandwidth is a must for business quality videoconferencing, where 30 frames per second (fps) for near broadcast quality is expected by commercial and government customers alike, industry officials say.

In the business sector, most midsize and larger companies have circuits that are ISDN (128 kilobits per second), T1 (1.544 megabits per second) or even T3 (45 Mbps).

On the government side, private networks with asynchronous transfer mode backbones are common, insuring high-quality videoconferencing. In fact, the government sector leads the commercial sector by 12 to 18 months in its deployment of high-speed backbone wide-area networks (WAN), industry officials say. The ATM standard provides bandwidth of between 52 Mbps and 622 Mbps.

"We believe that 15 fps at 128 kilobits per second is minimal for business videoconferencing," says Marian Levy, vice president of marketing at Tandberg, a Montreal-based supplier of videoconferencing equipment. For groups of three or more, the preferable quality of 30 fps can be achieved at 364 Kbps, Levy notes.

Tandberg's government customers include the U.S. Postal Service, the Justice Department and the FBI, to name a few.

While the bulk of videoconferencing activity is taking place on the WAN, the technology and usage is moving rapidly to the local-area network (LAN) space, where industry standard H.323 provides LAN protocols for videoconferencing.

"The biggest issue in the LAN space is that there's no guaranteed bandwidth or quality of service," says Craig Reichenbach, vice president for the federal region for PictureTel Corp. of Andover, Mass. Industry adoption of Cisco Systems Inc.'s Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP) technology would alleviate quality of service, or prioritization, issues over the LAN, officials say.

RSVP is a protocol developed to let applications designated as high priority reserve bandwidth on Internet protocol networks. The RSVP protocol will allow users to calibrate quality of service in unicast and multicast sessions.

While everyone's eye is on videoconferencing over IP, the technology is not yet ready for prime time, with most vendors agreeing that for business usage, traditional telephone circuits of 14.4 Kbps or 28.8 Kbps are just not acceptable.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

  • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

    In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.