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What Is WebRTC?

What Is WebRTC?

We’ve been hearing the name WebRTC a lot lately. In fact, WebRTC, which has been in use since 2011, is not a new technology but is a technology that provides simultaneous media communication (audio and video). The most important feature of WebRTC, which has many advantages, is that it can work directly on many popular browsers without requiring additional software.

WebRTC stands for Web Based Real Time Communication. Multimedia applications can be designed using HTML5 and Javascript APIs.

We can define the communication format used in WebRTC as peer-to-peer. This communication is directly between peers, so you don’t need any media servers. WebRTC is free and has a BSD license, so you can develop WebRTC applications for free. (For example, you can experience a video conference virtual room with WebRTC at this link)

WebRTC Supported Browsers

Nowadays, the following browsers support WebRTC:

  • PC & MAC
    • Microsoft Edge 12+
    • Google Chrome 28+
    • Mozilla Firefox 22+
    • Safari 11+
    • Opera 18+
    • Vivaldi 1.9+
  • Android
    • Google Chrome 28+
    • Mozilla Firefox 24+
    • Opera Mobile 12+
  • iOS
    • MobileSafari / WebKit (iOS 11+)
  • Chrome OS
  • Firefox OS
  • BlackBerry 10
  • Tizen 3.0

WebRTC Components

There are 3 main components in WebRTC:

1. MediaStream API

The MediaStream API provides user access to the camera, microphone or screen using javascript.

2. RTCPeerConnection API

The RTCPeerConnection API provides NAT traversal, codec processing, mutual SDP negotiation, media transmission, and secure connection functions between peers.

3. RTCDataChannel API

The RTCDataChannel API provides the functionality of establishing bidirectional data transfer channels between peers.

Establishing Peer-to-Peer Connection

Signaling is a process that forms the connection between peers. It can be achieved by WebSocket, XMPP, SIP or any other mechanism. WebRTC technology utilizes protocols such as RTP, STUN, SIP and ICE.

WebRTC Signaling Process

Session Description Protocol (SDP)

Also known as SDP, it is a protocol used to communicate media capabilities (voice codecs, IP and port information, etc.) between peers before establishing a connection and to meet each peer at a common point.

Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE)

ICE is a framework for the NAT traversal mechanism. ICE collects all available candidates (local IP addresses, STUN return IP addresses, and transmitted IP addresses – TURN). All collected addresses are then sent to remote peers via SDP.

STUN Server

The STUN server enables peers to find public IP addresses, the types of NAT they use, and the relationship between the Internet-side port information associated with the local port information specified by NAT.

TURN Server

When STUN usage is not possible, it is used to transmit media streams over a TURN server (you may think of it as a proxy).

WebRTC is not always peer-to-peer (P2P), but in multiple communication situations (eg video conferencing), different solutions are available. Let’s take a look at these.

Multi-Point Communication Types

1. Mesh

In the mesh network, all peers send their streams separately to other connected peers directly on the network.

All Peers Communicate With Each Other in Mesh Topology

Since this structure is completely distributed, there is no need to have any media servers in the center. The disadvantage of the mesh structure is the use of high bandwidth. In a multi-video call using a mesh structure, if each user generates a 1 Mbps stream, the amount of data sent and received per user will be 4 Mbps in each direction.

2. SFU

SFU stands for Selective Forwarding Unit. An SFU receives incoming media streams from all users and then decides which users to send to.

SFU Transfers Media To All Peers Separately

In this model, each user transmits their own generated media stream to the SFU server. The SFU server can send whoever wants the stream. In this way, bandwidth is used more effectively. Similar with the mesh example above, if each user generates a 1 Mbps stream, the total outgoing data amount per user will be 1 Mbps and the total incoming data amount will be a maximum of 4 Mbps.

3. MCU

MCU stands for Multipoint Conferencing Unit. An MCU receives incoming media streams from all users, decodes them, creates a new layout, and sends it to all users as a single stream.

MCU Combines Media of All Peers & Sends a Single Stream to Peers

The difference of this structure from SFU is that a single combined stream will be sent to each user and the total transmission and reception amount per user will be 1 Mbps in each direction. The disadvantage of this structure, as you can imagine, is the high cost of the MCU with a high processing power in the center.

Jabra Panacast Review

Jabra Panacast Review

Video conferencing is now a method of communication used in many organizations. Many vendors release many new technology products in their hardware and software portfolio. In this article, you can find a detailed review of Jabra Panacast, a 3-camera video conferencing product.

Panacast History

Panacast adventure begins in 2007 with the idea of ​​“synchronized camera array”. Stanford-based Aurangzeb Khan and his team formed Altia Systems to develop Panacast in 2011. The first prototype of Panacast was released in 2012 and followed by Panacast 2 at the beginning of 2015. Altia Systems made such a great developments in image processing area and their products are used in more than 1600 companies. In February 2019, Altia Systems was acquired by GN Group (Jabra) for 129 million USD and Panacast is added to Jabra product line. Now we are seeing Jabra as a player in the video products also.

Jabra Panacast Specifications

Here are some of the highlights of Jabra Panacast:

  • 3 pcs. 4K Resolution 13MP Camera
  • 2 Microphones
  • USB 3.0 Plug and Play
  • Windows, MacOS and Linux Compatible
  • 180 Degree Horizontal, 54 Degree Vertical Viewing Angle
  • Live HDR
  • Smart Zoom
  • Whiteboard

The Jabra Panacast is quite small in size despite what it can do. The device measures 10cm x 7cm and weighs 100 grams, smaller and lighter than the average smartphone. The box contents are also quite simple; device, USB cable, booklet and warranty certificate.

Panoramic Image – How?

Panacast uses three 13 MP resolution 4K video cameras to produce 180-degree images.

Panacast Combines 3 Videos From Cameras to Create a Panoramic Vision

Camera images are overlapped and combined by using a special image processing algorithm which runs on XILINX Artix-7 FPGA. The final image has a resolution of 3840×1080 pixels which covers a 180 degree vision. Since all this is done in less than 5 milliseconds, the user does not feel any delays during this process.

Panacast Combines Images from Cameras Through Special Algorithm (source: panacast.com)

A similar solution has already been made with Huawei 3-screen Telepresence products. By using 3 downward facing cameras and prisms, the images were superimposed to achieve a continuous image. I have to inform you that the list price of such a system is worth 300K USD. 🙂

Camera Cluster Used in Huawei Telepresence Products

The advantage of the 180-degree image is it can fit more people on a single screen. In addition, another advantage is it provides this wide angle in smaller rooms, preventing dead spaces in the meeting room. You can see what I mean better in the image below:

No Dead Spaces in Meeting Rooms with Jabra Panacast (source: intermedia-cs.co.uk)

Intelligent Zoom

Thanks to Jabra Panacast’s PC software (Panacast Vision), the camera can achieve intelligent zoom (ePTZ). This allows the camera to zoom in (or crop the image) to accommodate the speakers in front of the camera, and transmit the image as much as the people in the meeting room. This process is done dynamically according to the person entering and leaving the room to provide an optimized image.

You can see intelligent zoom feature in more detail in the following video:

Jabra Panacaast Intelligent Zoom

Whiteboard

Another innovative feature of Panacast is the whiteboard application. After you have marked the corners of your whiteboard in your meeting room with the Panacast Vision software, you can now transmit your content on the board properly. In the following video you can find out how to do this in detail:

Jabra Panacast Whiteboard Feature Allows You to Use Whiteboard in Meeting Rooms

Compatibility with Video Conferencing Systems

Since Panacast is a plug and play camera, it is compatible with most video conferencing software. You can use this product which is approved by Microsoft Teams and with many video conferencing software such as Cisco Webex, Zoom, Hangouts, Slack.

Jabra Panacast Price

You can find Jabra Panacast around 900 USD. Although it may seem high for a webcam at first, it can be a wise choice to add video conferencing to your meeting rooms when you consider what it can provide and it’s return on investment.

Windows 10X Review

Windows 10X Review

On 2nd October 2019, Microsoft announced the new operating system, Windows 10X, in its Surface event.

Launched as a more modular version of the Windows 10 operating system, Windows 10X is not reported as a new version of 10, but rather as a variation for dual-screen hardware. The main objective of 10X is to use with touch screen devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Windows 10X Features

The biggest feature of the 10X is its dual display support, which allows two applications to run at the same time (if I remember correctly, the first company did this is Samsung with Note series smartphones). It also provides a different experience to the user as it can interact between these screens. In fact, the dual screen is a practice that has been used by people who have been using multiple monitors for a long time. Microsoft has now brought this vision to laptops and tablets.

Windows 10X is an Operating System Designed for Dual Display Hardwares (source: windows.com)

In addition, Microsoft explained that the system resources are used more efficiently in Windows 10X (as they always state in their new OS releases).

10X offers a start screen just like in 10. In this menu,there are the installed applications, recently used files, and search features as you are familiar with. It is possible to go back to the desktop with the Windows logo at the bottom of the screen.

Surface Neo

The first device to use the Windows 10X operating system was announced as Surface Neo. The Surface Neo is a laptop that basically combines two 9 inches touch screen displays with two hinges. Surface Neo with Intel processor can be used as a notebook with the Surface Pen. The externally mounted magnetic keyboard also offers a complete laptop experience.

Surface Neo Can Be Used As A Laptop With Magnetic Keyboard (source: microsoft.com)

The first hardware announced that will use Windows 10X operating system is Surface Neo. Other companies that will also produce such hardwares with dual screens are such as Asus, Lenovo, Dell and HP.

Will Existing PCs Work with Windows 10X?

Microsoft announced that 10X can be used on dual-screen devices such as Surface Neo. This means that this operating system cannot be used on existing PCs. In addition, 10X can be used only on devices with Intel processors. I think 10X can also be used (somehow) by plugging two screens into your existing equipment in the future.

Last Words

We will see more clearly how Microsoft’s vision of this new operating system and hardware will make a sound in summer 2020. I hope that 10X will not share similar fate with previous Microsoft hardware and initiatives (like Zune and Windows Mobile).

Initial Information About CUCM 14 & IP Phones That Won’t Be Supported

Initial Information About CUCM 14 & IP Phones That Won’t Be Supported

After version 12, CUCM will jump 13 for suchreasons, and will probably appear as 14 early next year. In version 14, as in the 11.5 and 12 versions, some IP phones will not be supported either.

IP Phone Models Won’t Be Supported in CUCM 14

With the CUCM version 14, some IP phone models that have been in the market for many years will no longer be available. The following list includes models that will not be supported:

  • Cisco Unified IP Phone 3911, 3951
  • Cisco Unified IP Phone 6911, 6921, 6941, 6945, 6961
  • Cisco Unified IP Phone 7906G, 7911G, 7925, 7925G-EX, 7926, 7931, 7936, 7937G, 7940, 7941, 7960, 7961, 7985
  • Cisco Unified IP Phone 8941

If you are using any of these phone models, CUCM will block registration for these phones after upgrading to CUCM version 14. If the IP phone stays on, it will create unnecessary network traffic as well as load the CallManager service as the phone will try to register itself again and again.

Reasons For Not Supporting These Phones

Apparently Cisco will only use the 7800 and 8800 series telephones at the end of the day, and the reasons for this are explained in four subheadings:

  • Security – Because older phone models cannot receive critical software updates, to protect users as new security issues arise.
  • New Features and Applications – Since some phone models have been introduced many years ago (eg, 7900 series was introduced in early 2000’s), the older processors and hardware in these phone models creates a number of problems in implementing new applications and security features, so that the user experience can not be maximized.
  • Sustainability – To ensure sustainability because older phones no longer have development support or regression tests.
  • End-of-Life Products – The phone models listed above have made end-of-sale and end-of-life announcements in the past. These phone models will expire when the CUCM 14 is launched.

If you have a plan to upgrade to CUCM 14 and you have older model phones that is no longer supported, Cisco offers the following advice:

  1. Identify unsupported phones and schedule your upgrade to version 14 on time.
  2. Take advantage of competitive trading programs (Trade-in, Cisco Capital, etc.) or work with Cisco teams to cost-effectively renew the phones.
  3. Consider the strategy of migrating to software-based end devices like using Jabber.
  4. Talk with Cisco partners about switching to 7800 and 8800 series IP phones which are supported.

You can find the Field Notice on Cisco.com by clicking this link.