Components Required for a Video Conferencing System

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: June 28, 2011

A professional video conferencing system is made up of a wide assortment of different technical components. This guide will describe each of them so you can know what is required to set up a system for your business.

You will need to obtain one of the following:

Multipoint Control Unit – The multipoint control unit is the device that bridges the different video and audio feeds during a session. It always includes a Multipoint Controller, and sometimes has Multipoint Processors.

Broadband Modem – This is a digital modem that connects your office to your high-speed internet service. A standard modem will generally not suffice since a great deal of bandwidth is required for a videoconference session to run smoothly.

Router – This router is used to connect each of the computers in your office to the broadband modem. You can also use a hub to achieve this function, but a router tends to be much more efficient at handling internet traffic and offers a variety of security features.

Each of your employees will then require the following components:

Webcam – A webcam is used to record the video signal that is sent to other people during a live session. Many of them come with special features like autofocus and a status indicator light so you can know when the webcam is in use.

Computer – A desktop or laptop computer is needed to run the videoconferencing software. It is also used to compress and decompress the video stream and maintain the data link to the network.

Codec – This is used to convert the audio and video feed into a digital signal of labeled packets. It is typically available as a software program that you download onto the different computers at your office.

Monitor – The monitor displays the videoconference session to your employees while it takes place. If you want a HD videoconferencing system, you will need to get computer monitors that support the resolution.

Speakers – Each employee needs a good set of speakers so they can listen to the audio portion of the videoconference. If the speakers are poor quality, the person may not be able to hear everything and miss out on important details.

Microphone/Headset – Your employees will need a microphone or headset to speak with other people during a session. A microphone tends to be less obtrusive, while a headset frees up your employee’s hands and helps to eliminate background noise. It should also be noted that some webcams automatically come with microphones, in which case an additional one will not be necessary.

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