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Cisco Voice and Video Conferencing for ISR Routers

Cisco ISR G2 Video Conferencing Services

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The Cisco® Integrated Services Routers Generation 2 (ISR G2) routers with the packet voice and video digital signal processor 3 (PVDM3) have introduced the ability to do multipoint video conferencing for Ad Hoc and Meet-Me video conferences with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Unified UCM) or Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express (Unified CME) as call agents. The Cisco IOS® Software integrated video conferencing services on the ISR G2 extend the long-supported audio conference feature with its digital-signal-processor (DSP) resources to include a broad portfolio of video endpoints for video conferences to meet customers' visual communication needs. Besides the conference service, the Cisco IOS Software integrated video conferencing services also support point-to-point audio and video call transcoding with Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express. Both video and voice services can reside on the same PVDM3 module with great flexibility. This document answers frequently asked questions about the Cisco IOS Software integrated video conferencing and transcoding services on the Cisco ISR G2.

General

Q. What is video conferencing and transcoding on the Cisco ISR G2?
A. The ISR G2 routers with the PVDM3 have been successful for audio conferencing and transcoding services. The same concept has been extended to include video conferencing and transcoding. Customers can now use the ISR G2 with the PVDM3 to switch video streams from multiple video endpoints and experience video conferencing. When video endpoints cannot negotiate to a common format, the Cisco ISR G2 can also provide video transcoding services, where video can be converted from one format to another.
Q. Why should I use video conferencing services on the ISR G2?
A. Cisco ISR G2 routers have the unique advantage of running multiple services at the branch office. When the PVDM3 is used on the ISR G2, multiple video streams are processed locally at the branch office, avoiding the use of WAN bandwidth to carry streams to the head office to be mixed by a multipoint control unit (MCU).
Cisco ISR G2 routers also support Ad hoc and Meet-Me video conferences, allowing you to join a video conference without having to schedule one.
Q. What video codecs, resolutions, and frame rates are supported?
A. For a list of supported video codecs, resolutions, and frame rates, please refer to the data sheet at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/sw/voicesw/ps4952/products_data_sheets_list.html.
Q. What platforms are supported?
A. Video conferencing and transcoding services are supported the Cisco 2900, 3900, and 3900E Series Integrated Services Routers.
Cisco 2800 and 3800 Series routers are not supported, nor are the Cisco AS5350XM and AS5400XM Universal Gateway routers.
Q. What endpoints are tested and supported?
A. Table 1 lists the supported endpoints.

Table 1. Video Endpoints Supported by Cisco ISR G2 Routers

End points

CUCM 8.6 Controlled Video Conferencing Services on ISR G2

CUCME 8.6 Controlled Video Conferencing Services on ISR G2

 

Ad-hoc

Meet Me

Ad-hoc

Meet Me

Cisco Unified Video Advantage

X

X

X

X

Cisco Unified IP Phone 7985G

X

X

X

X

Cisco Unified Personal Communicator

See note (3) below

X

 

X(2)

Cisco IP Communicator

X

X

X

X

Cisco UC Integrationfor Microsoft Office Communicator

See note (3) below

X

 

X(2)

Cisco Unified IP Phone 9900 Series

X

X

 

X(2)

Cisco Unified IP Phone 8900 Series

X

X

 

X(2)

Cisco IP Video Phone E20

See note (4) below

X

See note (4) below

X(2)

Cisco TelePresence System 1700 MXP

See note (4) below

X(1)

See note (4) below

X(1)

Cisco Telepresence System EX60/EX90

See note (4) below

X(1)

See note (4) below

X(1)

Cisco TelePresence System Codec C40

See note (4) below

X(1)

See note (4) below

X(1)

Polycomm 4002/8000HDX Series

See note (4) below

X(1)

See note (4) below

X(1)

Lifesize Room 220

See note (4) below

X(1)

See note (4) below

X(1)

Notes:
(1) These endpoints are not directly registered to the call control device and are treated as SIP trunks. These endpoints can join existing Meet Me conferences using the designated Meet Me number, but they cannot initiate Meet Me conferences unless the Meet Me conference is unlocked. Unlocked Meet Me is a configurable option with CUCME only.
(2) These endpoints can join existing Meet Me conferences hosted in CUCME using the designated Meet Me number, but they cannot initiate Meet Me conferences unless it is unlocked.
(3) Cisco Unified Personal Communicator and Cisco UC Integration for Microsoft Office Communicator cannot initiate Ad hoc conference. They can escalate chats to video conferences by configuring Meet Me on UCM.
(4) These end points do not have the Ad hoc key to initiate Ad hoc conference when registered to UCM.
Q. Which PVDMs can I use for video conferencing services on the Cisco ISR G2?
A. Only PVDM3 can be used for video conferencing services on the Cisco ISR G2. Further within the PVDM3 family only the - PVDM3-128, PVDM3-192, and PVDM3-256 - can be used for video mixing. However, all PVDM3 can be used for video switching.

Note: PVDM2 modules do not support video conferencing services.

Q. What video conferences are supported?
A. Three types of video profiles are supported: homogeneous conferences (video switching), heterogeneous conferences (video mixing), and guaranteed audio conferences (best-effort video).
Q. What is a homogeneous conference profile?
A. Cisco ISR G2 routers with PVDM3 support multiple conference schemes. A homogeneous video conference profile is a conference profile in which all participants in the conference use the same video format. They have the same bit rate, frame rate, codec, resolution, etc. Only one codec, resolution, and bit rate is configured. All other participants are forced to negotiate to match this profile in order to join the video conference. If negotiation fails they fall back to audio-only participants. For example:
dspfarm profile 1 conference video homogeneous
codec h264 cif frame-rate 30 bitrate 320kbps
This profile requires less PVDM3 resources than the heterogeneous conference profile.
Q. What is a heterogeneous conference profile?
A. Another video profile that is supported on the Cisco ISR G2 with PVDM3 is the heterogeneous conference profile. In a heterogeneous video profile, the participants are expected to use different video formats. They may have different frame rates, bit rates, codecs, or resolutions. The network administrator has the flexibility to choose what profiles to configure, depending on the nature of the participants. The PVDM3 resources are reserved for the profile that is configured. For example:
dspfarm profile 1 conference video heterogeneous
codec h263 cif
codec h264 cif
codec h264 vga

Note: HD resolutions are not supported in heterogeneous conferences.

Q. What is a guaranteed audio conference profile?
A. The third video profile that can be configured is the guaranteed audio video profile, also known as best-effort video. As the name suggests, when this profile is configured, the system attempts to display video for all participants; however, it does not guarantee that the video of all participants is displayed. For those participants whose video is not displayed, participants are downgraded to audio-only and the profile guarantees preservation of the audio portion of the call. This option gives you added flexibility because the DSPs are not all reserved when the profile is created; the system attempts to reserve them when this profile is activated with an actual conference. For example:
dspfarm profile 1 conference video guaranteed-audio
codec h264 vga
codec h264 4cif
Q. How many participants per conference are supported?
A. Video conferencing supports 4, 8, or 16 participants per conference. However, CUCME Ad hoc conference only supports up to 8 participants.
Q. Can a homogeneous conference support different types of endpoints?
A. Homogeneous conferences are endpoint-independent. As long as the endpoints can negotiate the codec and resolution that are configured in the profile, they can use the profile.
Q. What viewing modes of conferences are supported?
A. Cisco IOS Software integrated video conferencing services on the Cisco ISR G2 routers support two types of layouts or viewing modes:

• Loudest speaker: In this mode, only video of the loudest speaker is displayed across all video endpoints.

• Lecture mode: This mode is supported only with Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express. In this mode, the lecturer can see the video of participants one at a time, whereas the participants see only the video of the lecturer.

Cisco Unified Communications Manager

Q. What version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager is supported with Cisco integrated video conferencing services on the Cisco ISR G2?
A. Cisco Unified Communications Manager Version 8.6 and later are supported with the Cisco IOS Software Conference Bridge.
Q. Can I register the Cisco IOS Software integrated video conferencing services on the Cisco ISR G2 prior to Cisco Unified Communications Manager Version 8.6?
A. No.
Q. How do I register the integrated video conferencing services on the Cisco ISR G2 with Cisco Unified Communications Manager 8.6?
A. In the Cisco Unified Communications Manager, go to Media Recourses - > Conference Bridge. Under Conference Bridge, select the appropriate conference type you would like to register. The available choices follow:

• Cisco IOS Heterogeneous Video Conference Bridge

• Cisco IOS Guaranteed Audio Video Conference Bridge

• Cisco IOS Homogeneous Video Conference Bridge

Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express

Q. Which version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express supports Cisco IOS Software integrated video conferencing services on the ISR G2?
A. Cisco ISR video conferencing services on the ISR G2 are supported from Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express 8.6 as part of Cisco IOS Software Release 15.1(4)M.
Q. How do I register Cisco IOS Software integrated video conferencing services on the ISR G2 with Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express?
A. Configure your DSP farm profile. Then configure and activate Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express. Under telephony service, configure the sdsp units and tag them with the conference profile name. If required you can also configure lecture mode.
Q. What is lecture mode?
A. Lecture mode is a display format wherein the person speaking or giving the lecture sees the video of the listeners and the listeners see only the video of the speaker or lecturer. This mode of display is supported only with Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express.
Q. How does Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express know who the lecturer is when configured for lecture mode?
A. Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express allows you to use the lecture mode of a video conference. The lecture mode allows the lecturer to scan the video of all attending users for a configurable amount of time, and the participants see only the video of the lecturer. The following conference command-line interface (CLI) under telephony-service can be used to enable this feature:
sdspfarm conference lecture-mode on 345 release 456 scan-interval 5

Video Transcoding

Q. What is video transcoding?
A. Video transcoding is similar to audio transcoding. When endpoints cannot negotiate down to a common list of parameters, then to complete the call, a device is required to convert from one format to the other. This process of converting from one format to the other is called video transcoding. Video transcoding is needed if any one of the following parameters is different between 2 endpoints:

• Bit rate

• Frame rate

• Codec

• Resolution

Note:

1. Cisco Unified Border Element point-to-point transcoding supports only Session Initiation Protocol SIP-to-SIP calls and Cisco Unified Border Element point-to-point video.

2. Transcoding cannot be invoked if only the bit rate is different.

3. Cisco Unified Communications Manager supports only video conferencing; the application does not support point-to-point video transcoding.

Provisioning and Manageability

Q. What tools can I use to configure the video transcoding and conferencing features of the Cisco ISR G2?
A. At the time of first customer shipment (FCS), you can configure video transcoding and conferencing features on the Cisco ISR G2 only by using the Cisco IOS CLI. However, you can also use Cisco Configuration Professional Version 2.6, which is expected to become available in December 2011, to provision these features.
Q. Are there any management MIBs for the video conferencing and transcoding features?
A. Yes. You can use the CISCO-VIDEO-SESSION-MIB along with all existing voice MIBs such as CISCO-VOICE-DIAL-CONTROL-MIB to monitor the Cisco ISR G2 video conferencing and transcoding features.

DSP and Gateway Capacity

Q. How are DSP resources allocated and how are the maximum number of sessions calculated in guaranteed audio?
A. When homogeneous and heterogeneous conferences are configured, DSP resources are first checked to ensure the profile configured can be supported. If there are enough DSP resources, then a check is done to see how many sessions can be supported with the configured profiles. The "Maximum Sessions" CLI is then automatically updated to reflect the maximum number of sessions that can be supported. If "0" is displayed, it indicates that not enough DSP resources are available to support the requested video conferencing profile. Either changes would have to be made to the profiles or additional DSP resources would have to be added to ensure the profiles can be supported.
In case of guaranteed audio profile, the DSP credits are not reserved based on the configured profile. The DSPs are reserved during run time.
Q. How can I calculate the number of DSPs required for my video transcoding profile?
A. Please use the DSP calculator to calculate the number of DSPs required for your profile. The DSP calculator is available at http://www.cisco.com/cgi-bin/Support/DSP/dsp-calc.pl.
Q. How do I calculate the number of DSPs required for my video conferencing solution?
A. Please use the DSP calculator to calculate the number of DSPs required for your video solution. The DSP calculator is available at http://www.cisco.com/cgi-bin/Support/DSP/dsp-calc.pl.

Basic Configuration

Q. Can I configure multiple codecs in my transcoding profile?
A. Yes, you can configure multiple codecs under your profile. The number of transcoding sessions depends on the number of DSP resources you have.
Q. What does the CLI "voice-service dsp-reservation" do?
A. The voice service DSP reservation CLI allows you to specify the percentage of DSPs to be reserved for voice and time-division multiplexing (TDM) applications. The total number of DSP resources installed in the router during bootup is dynamically calculated by Cisco IOS Software. The value entered here is taken as the percentage of available resources reserved for voice. The remaining resources are automatically reserved for video. This CLI ensures voice services are provided with adequate resources to function. You cannot reserve all resources for video when analog interfaces are installed on the router.

Note: This CLI is available starting with Cisco IOS Software Release 15.1(4)M on the Cisco ISR G2 routers.

Q. Why can I not configure participants in increments of 1?
A. Conference participants are in the order of 4, 8, or 16. You cannot configure participants in the increments of 1. If there are 3 participants, the DSP resources for 4 are reserved. Similarly, if there are 6 participants, DSP resources for 8 are automatically reserved, and if there are more than 8 participants, DSP resources for 16 are reserved.
Q. What is the recommended video profile to be configured?
A. To best use DSP resources, the recommend video conference profile is a homogeneous conference profile. By configuring a homogeneous profile, the endpoints are forced to negotiate down to one codec and the DSP resources are used to switch traffic between endpoints.
Q. Why do I get maximum-sessions 0 after configuring the required codecs?
A. Display of maximum-sessions 0 while configuring your dspfarm indicates that not enough DSP resources are available. You can try to remove certain codecs from your profile or add additional DSP resources. Please use the DSP calculator to calculate the number of DSPs you need.
Q. Why do I see only CIF and QCIF resolutions under H.263?
A. CIF and QCIF are the only two resolutions that are supported with H.263 codec. With H.264, CIF, QCIF, w360p, w448p, VGA, 4CIF, and 720p are supported. Note that 720p resolutions are supported only for homogenous switching conferences.
Q. What is video-capability-class?
A. Video-capability-class is defined as a set of attributes that comprise the video format of a data stream of a group of phones. The support video capability class options are 2, 3, and 4.