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27 November 2002 Working together across the continent with video conferencing
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The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) has four major locations distributed across the continental USA. The observatory has long used audio conferencing for its internal meetings and working groups, but we began using video conferencing in 2000 both to enhance the quality of human communication and to allow sharing of visual aids and graphical presentations during inter-site meetings. The video conferencing equipment operates over our existing frame-relay network connections so the only operations cost has been its coexistence with other internal network traffic. In order to provide the necessary Quality of Service (QoS), the video conferencing equipment was placed on individual Local Area Network (LAN) segments on the site routers. A video hub (multi-conferencing unit) has allowed routine four-way conferencing between the main NRAO sites. Conferences with domestic and international colleagues over the commodity Internet and via Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) connections are also routinely supported. Using the existing equipment, we have also been successful in sharing auditorium presentations, such as workshops, tutorials, colloquia, and other special events to all major NRAO locations. The success and user acceptance has been such that we have recently expanded from four video installations to ten, allowing several simultaneous conferences.
© (2002) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Gene Runion, Alan Bridle, and Gareth Hunt "Working together across the continent with video conferencing", Proc. SPIE 4845, Advanced Global Communications Technologies for Astronomy II, (27 November 2002);


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