How can the IT department help me deploy video conferencing?

If you are in management and in charge of video conferencing deployment, it’s critical to have the total cooperation with “buy-in” from the IT department.  Most video conferencing solutions are very good and will perform as advertised – But they only work as good as your network.   Your IT department generally has enough headaches without adding video conferencing to the network. This being said you really need their help for a smooth and seamless deployment.

First order of business is get the IT department involved at the very beginning of your discussion about video conferencing.  You need to analyze with their help the current and potential applications.  Find out if there is enough bandwidth on the network.  Ask the IT department if the configuration of your typology needs to be changed or upgraded.  For example MPLS or Multiprotocol Label Switching, prioritizes audio and video data on your network.  This accommodates VoIP, or voice over IP, and video conferencing deployments on your network.  With MPLS any audio or video traffic gets top priority.  Email and any other data traffic that’s not audio or video gets a lower priority.  MPLS will make video conferencing run smoothly and reliably. Decisions affecting your network like MPLS certainly need your IT department’s involvement.

The firewall and security will certainly be a big concern in the IT department – And it certainly should be.  You can have video conferencing with all the benefits of connecting to those outside of your network and still maintain a sound firewall with ample security.  There are several tools at your IT department’s disposal for a seamless and secure deployment.

Video conferencing CODECS or systems are really simple devices that are very reliable for the most part.  When problems occur with quality or connecting it’s usually caused by a network issue.  There are generally two reasons the network fails a video conferencing application — First, not enough bandwidth and Second, a poorly configured network infrastructure.  In any event the IT department and your circuit provider hold the keys to headache free video conferencing.

There are times when the network is so badly configured and inadequate that video conferencing will never work and in fact make the network perform worse or even crash.  We have one client in this scenario; however we easily worked around this by adding dedicated circuits to the video conferencing units and this had no affect or encumbrance in their network.  Management is happy because they didn’t have to wait the many months it will take to correct the network issues to accommodate video conferencing.

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