Deploying Multistream Conferencing with vTS and CUCM

With the release of CE8 code for Cisco video endpoints (like the SX10 (8.1), SX20 (also MX200-G2 and MX300-G2) and SX80-based endpoints like the SX80, MX700 and MX800), and the appropriate infrastructure components, multistream video is a possibility.  Multistream video allows an endpoint to send multiple resolution video streams and have the bridge pass the most appropriate streams to the far-end video units.  The far end video unit would receive a full resolution stream of the active speakers, and then low quality streams of the other participants.  The most useful feature of multistream video is the ability to use both screens of a dual-screen video unit to see remote participants (when doing single-stream transcoded mode, you can only do single screen video, and secondary screen content.)  Multistream also allows for ActiveControl layout, which allows the endpoint to choose the video layout vs. the video bridge determining the layout of the participants (which has rudimentary DTMF layout control).

Components used in my lab configuration:

  • SX10 (CE8.1)
  • MX800 (CE8.0.1)
  • (2) 8845 video phones (used to inject more video streams — these endpoints do not support multistream, they do single stream and receive their layout from the bridge)
  • Conductor XC4.1
  • vTS 4.2(4.23)
  • CUCM 11.0(1)21900-11 (Latest and greatest version is a requirement) -or- VCS X8.7.1

This guide assumes you’ve already setup a Rendezvous (aka MeetMe) number/URI that is routed to Conductor/vTS and you’re able to to normal conference calls.  We’ll modify settings to enable multistream.

Guide to configure endpoints and CUCM SIP Profile – http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/td/docs/telepresence/infrastructure/solutions/cmrpremises/cmr-premises-deployment-guide-r6-0.pdf

The relevant portion of this configuration is to make sure your SIP trunk to conductor is in a Location that supports full quality video.  I sent the inter-region bandwidth to UNLIMITED in my test system.  Cisco recommends a minimum of 1mpbs per screen, otherwise the vTS bridge may kick that video unit down to single-stream transcoded mode.

Configure the endpoint to support multistream

In CUCM the setting is in the device specific settings, Multistream Mode needs to be set to Auto.  Despite some of the documentation reading otherwise, Auto will attempt to do multistream, there is not actually an On setting.

Configure CUCM

Configure the SIP Profile used by the SIP trunk to Conductor to include the following settings:

  • Allow iX Application Media and Allow multiple codecs in answer SDP are checked on.
  • SDP Transparency Profile is set to Pass all unknown SDP attributes

In System > Service Parameters > Call Manager Service > click advanced > set SIP Maximum Incoming Message Size to 18000.

Configure Conductor

On the Conductor server, under the Conference Template you’re using for your conference, select advanced template parameters and add:

  • Enable iX protocol – True and the box checked
  • Multiscreen layout – ActivePresence and the box checked

No settings on vTS need to be changed, it will automatically do multistream if the endpoints meet the requirements, and CUCM (or VCS) and Conductor are properly configured.

When you join with a multi-stream endpoint you will see the following on vTS Conferences page:

 

vts1

You’ll notice the endpoints that support multistream show Multistream, and the 8845 phone named “Mike White” is Standard because it only supports a single stream.

If we look at the statistics for 5580 (the SX80) you’ll see multiple video streams being sent and received:

vts2

 

Lastly if we look at the call statistics from the video endpoint itself, we see the same information:

endpoint1

 

The touchpanel now shows more details in the layout.  You can see each participant in the conference and the active speaker.

IMG_5313

 

While you can select from several canned layout modes (same typical layouts are you’re used to), this version doesn’t yet support complete drag and drop layout of individual participants where you want them.  If you select a particular participant, you can see information about any of the participants and boot them if you are meeting organizer:

IMG_5314

 

Overall its very cool, and sets the groundwork for much more flexibility in the future with layout control.

 

IMG_5315

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Upgrading to VCS X8.1

If you’re upgrading an existing system, you’ll need:

  • VCS X8.1 upgrade tar file (as opposed to the ova file for a fresh deplyoment) – Found Here
  • New VCS 8.x release keys from Cisco – request via PUT

Once you’ve baked up your systems (VCSc and VCSe), and you’re in a maintenance window (this will disrupt all system registrations and calls), SSH in to each machine and put the system in Maintenance Mode:  xConfiguration SystemUnit Maintenance Mode: On

Initiate the upgrade in the GUI, and add the new release keys.

My VCSc upgrade failed with an error:

System error: tar zxf /tmp/tandberg-image.tar.gz: Execution failed: tar (child): /tmp/tandberg-image.tar.gz: Cannot open: No such file or directory

I rebooted VCSc and attempted the upgrade a second time and it succeeded.

Collaboration Edge – VCS X8.1 released, TC 7.0 firmware released

Collaboration Edge is an umbrella term for an architecture.  It allows Jabber clients (Win/Mac/iOS/Droid) to be proxied though a server (Expressway E) in the DMZ back to Expressway C and then CUCM.  Collaboration Edge also includes the ability to proxy remote CUCM registered video endpoints (SX20, EX90, etc.).

Currently Collaboration Edge components are/will be:

  • VCS X8.1 software (called VCSc, VCSe, Expressway C, or Expressway E depending on deployment model.  It’s one actual piece of software.)
  • Jabber 9.6/9.7 software (depending on platfrom)
  • TC 7.0 video endpoint firmware
  • CUCM 9.1

Expressway C and Expressway E is analogous of the VCS Control/VCS Express model, except that it is only for CUCM registered endpoints.  It is actually VCS software.   VCS Control is called “Expressway C” and VCS Expressway called “Expressway E” when deployed as Collaboration Edge (Jabber proxy, and endpoint proxy to CUCM) only.  Depending on size, scale and deployment model it may run co-resident if you already have VCS deployed, or you may need to stand up two new VMs to run it.

VCS X8.1 is now out – the terminology it uses for the Collaboration Edge functionality is “Mobile and Remote Access”  It is called a feature preview in 8.1, and will be prime-time in 8.1.1. – Release notes have some details here – http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/telepresence/infrastructure/vcs/release_note/Cisco-VCS-Release-Note-X8-1.pdf

Download here – http://software.cisco.com/download/release.html?mdfid=283733603&flowid=46003&softwareid=280886992&release=X8.1&relind=AVAILABLE&rellifecycle=&reltype=latest