Video Teleconferencing

Written by Charles Peacock
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Video teleconferencing is something that has been around for a long time--at least in the movies and on TV. It seems that even 50 years ago, people were dreaming of the day when we could actually be able to see each other as we talked on the telephone. Thanks to the Internet and video compression technology, that day has finally come.

Video Teleconferencing Networks

The reason it took so long for video conferencing to become a reality is that no one knew how to solve the problem of squeezing a video signal into a pipeline as small as a telephone wire. It wasn't until video switched (in popular applications) from analog to digital that this became a reality. One of the distinct advantages of digital video as opposed to analog is that it can be compressed quite easily--rendering a normally enormous amount of data into something small enough to travel over a tiny wire.

Currently, video teleconferencing can be done using all sorts of different types of networks. The cheapest (and smallest bandwidth) network solution is to use a simple home broadband network. These networks have enough capacity to carry a decent video conferencing signal--although the quality is nothing like the picture on your television, for example.

Dedicated networks (like IP networks and ISDN lines) are usually a better solution for video teleconferencing, since they offer up a larger (and more predictable) amount of bandwidth. These types of networks can support video calls with 30 frames of high quality video per second, which is basically akin to the quality of a TV broadcast. If you can afford them, these types of systems make all the difference because the quality video makes the conversation feel much more natural.


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