Should I have a dedicated circuit for video conferencing?

This is not a bad idea; especially if you have concerns about security on your network or you have a network unable accommodate videoconferencing.  There are major benefits with a dedicated circuit for video conferencing.  First, security – You don’t have to worry about opening ports in your firewall or changing the configuration in your routers.  Also just about all video conferencing systems or CODECS are computer free with no spinning hard drives, very tough to hack without a MAC address.   Second, reliability – If your network has many users and someone is on a high def video conference call, participants could experience poor video quality or disconnections.  With a dedicated circuit you have 100% control over bandwidth use without the worry of conflicting network traffic affecting critical conferences.   Third, redundancy – Think about the times you are shutting your network down for routine maintenance or the network crashes when a video conference is scheduled.  Fourth, efficiency – Your IT management resources are busy enough without the headache of video conferencing. Often this application is throwing a “monkey wrench” in the network and the IT department.  Dedicated circuits can eliminate these headaches for the IT department or IT outsourcing.

All this being said in very large organizations with many endpoints, dedicated circuits for each may not be efficient.  In these cases their networks are very robust and can accommodate video conferencing through MPLS, (multi-protocol label switching) w/Qos, (Quality of services), these configurations prioritize data carrying audio and video packets.  Companies who use VoIP typically have MPLS and QoS in their network as voice communications is a critical application. Video conferencing works within the same protocols as VoIP and dovetails very well with networks using MPLS and Qos.

If you are a small organization with a few videoconferencing endpoints, dedicated circuits could be the best network solution.  If you are a large organization with many video conferencing end points, dedicated circuits may not be the best or most efficient. Telecom and Network management companies can help you decide the best path for your particular situation and sort out the options.  The good news is broadband circuits are ubiquitous and pricing is much more competitive.  Either way, over time circuit cost will go down.  Meanwhile the algorithms in the CODECS themselves are more efficient and can deliver much better quality with less bandwidth.  Everything is heading in the right direction for more reliable video conferencing over IP or Internet protocol.

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