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Help contents > Managing conferences > Adding and updating conferences

Adding and updating conferences

The information required to add or update a conference is nearly identical. Refer to these topics for details:

Adding a conference

To add a conference:

  1. Go to Conferences > Add new conference.
  2. Complete the fields referring to the table below for the most appropriate settings for the conference.
  3. Click Add conference to add the conference and return to the Conference List. The recently added conference appears either in the Active or Scheduled Conferences depending on its scheduled start time.

Ad hoc conferences (if you allow them) are added by users in the auto attendant.

Updating a conference

To update an existing conference:

  1. Go to Conferences.
  2. Click a Conference name and then click the Configuration tab.
  3. Edit the fields referring to the table below for the most appropriate settings for the conference.
  4. Click Update conference to add the conference and return to the Conference List. The updated conference appears either in the Active or Scheduled Conferences depending on its scheduled start time.

The following settings can also be updated for ad hoc conferences:

See the table below for more information:

Field Field description Usage tips
Parameters
Name

The name that users will see on auto attendant screens and on the MCU's web interface.

Conference names must be unique; conferences cannot share names.

Only scheduled conferences have a configurable Name; ad hoc conferences do not have one.

Description

Additional information about the conference, which can assist users joining conferences.

Use the description to provide more detailed information about the conference than the name alone conveys.

This is an optional field for scheduled conferences; ad hoc conferences cannot be given a description.

Numeric ID

The unique identifier used for dialing in to the conference (as a chairperson participant) using an auto attendant or through an H.323 gatekeeper or SIP registrar. This number can also be used to stream the conference from the Streaming-only interface. For more information about chairpersons and guests, refer to Using IDs and PINs.

When connected to an auto attendant, participants can join a conference by typing its numeric identifier.

If you plan to allow audio-only participants, then you will need to enter either a Numeric ID or a Guest numeric ID.

If H.323 gatekeeper registration is enabled for a conference, the MCU attempts to register the conference with an E.164 telephone number, which is comprised of the Registration prefix and the numeric identifier.

If SIP registration is enabled for a conference, then the Numeric ID is registered with the SIP registrar.

Conferences that are simultaneously active must not share a Numeric ID. For example, a conference on a Tuesday and a conference on a Thursday can share a Numeric ID, whereas two permanent conferences cannot share a Numeric ID. The same number can be used for the Guest numeric ID, if there are two different PINs. Additionally, because the numeric identifier is used in gatekeeper registration, conferences and auto attendants cannot share a numeric identifier value.

For more information, refer to Using IDs and PINs.

For ad hoc conferences created via the auto attendant, the number allocated by the conference creator becomes the Numeric ID. If ad hoc conferences are registered with the gatekeeper (and for this to work, the Register ad hoc conferences with gatekeeper control must be enabled on the Settings > Conferences page), participants can dial in using this number. Note that the actual number that participants will dial depends on whether prefixes are used in the Settings > Gatekeeper page.

For an active ad hoc conference, you cannot configure the Numeric ID.

PIN

Provides a level of security to conference access.

If a conference has a PIN set, users cannot join the conference or change its configuration without entering the correct PIN. Depending on the conference settings, it may be possible for participants to join a conference as a chairperson (using the Numeric ID and PIN), or as a guest (using the Guest numeric ID and Guest PIN).

For an ad hoc conference, you can configure a PIN while the conference is running.

Guest numeric ID

The unique identifier used for dialing in to the conference (as a guest participant) using an auto attendant or through an H.323 gatekeeper or SIP registrar. This number can also be used to stream the conference from the Streaming-only interface. For more information about chairpersons and guests, refer to Using IDs and PINs.

When connected to an auto attendant, participants can join a conference by typing its Guest numeric ID.

If you plan to allow audio-only participants, then you will need to enter either a Numeric ID or a Guest numeric ID.

If H.323 gatekeeper registration is enabled for a conference, and you have entered a Guest numeric ID, the MCU attempts to register the conference with an E.164 telephone number, which is comprised of the Registration prefix and the Guest numeric ID.

If SIP registration is enabled for a conference, and you have entered a Guest numeric ID, then the Guest numeric ID is registered with the SIP registrar.

Conferences that are simultaneously active must not share a Numeric ID. For example, a conference on a Tuesday and a conference on a Thursday can share a Numeric ID, whereas two permanent conferences cannot share a Numeric ID. The same number can be used for the Guest numeric ID, if there are two different PINs. Additionally, because the numeric identifier is used in gatekeeper registration, conferences and auto attendants cannot share a numeric identifier value.

For more information, refer to Using IDs and PINs.

Ad hoc conferences cannot be configured with Guest numeric IDs or PINs.

Guest PIN

Provides secure access to conferences for guest participants.

If a conference has a PIN set, users cannot join the conference or change its configuration without entering the correct PIN. Participants joining as guests have restricted privileges. For more information, refer to Using IDs and PINs.

Ad hoc conferences cannot be configured with Guest numeric IDs or PINs.

Numeric ID registration

Enables the MCU to attempt to register the Numeric ID and/or Guest numeric ID with the configured H.323 gatekeeper and/or SIP registrar.

This setting applies to both the Numeric ID and Guest numeric ID (if you have set both). For more information, refer to Using IDs and PINs.

For ad hoc conferences, whether or not they are registered with the gatekeeper depends on the Register ad hoc conferences with gatekeeper setting on the Settings > Conferences page.

When only guests remain

Controls what happens to the conference when the last participant with chairperson status leaves the conference. The options are:

  • Disconnect all participants: this is the default option. When the last participant with chairperson status leaves the conference, all other participants will be disconnected
  • Take no action: all participants may continue the conference until the last one disconnects

This setting applies to scheduled conferences that include guest participants (that is, those who have joined the conference using the Guest numeric ID (and PIN if one was set).

Floor and chair control

Controls "Floor and chair control" settings for this conference. The options are:

  • Do not allow floor or chair control: the use of floor and chair controls is not allowed in this conference
  • Allow floor control only: only floor control is allowed in this conference; chair control is not allowed. Any participant can 'take the floor' so long as no other participant has currently 'taken the floor'
  • Allow floor and chair control: both floor and chair control are allowed in this conference. Any participant can take the floor, and any chairperson participant can take the chair so long as no other participant has currently done so

Some H.323 endpoints support a feature known as floor and chair control that is encompassed by the H.243 protocol. For more information, refer to H.243 floor and chair control.

If you change the "Floor and chair control" setting for a scheduled conference currently taking place, there will be no immediate effect. That is, an existing floor or chair participant will not have that status removed.

If the unit-wide "Floor and chair control" setting on the Global conference settings page is set to Disabled, it will not be possible to use floor or chair control operations in any conference.

Owner

The owner of the conference, usually the user ID of the user account that the person who scheduled the conference logged in with.

You may or may not be able to change the conference owner, depending on your privilege level. See Conference ownership for additional information.

This setting does not apply to ad hoc conferences.

Visibility

Indicates the visibility of the conference on the auto attendant and the web interface. The options are:

  • Public: the conference will be listed in the auto attendant and be visible to all users of the web interface
  • Private: the conference will not be listed in any auto attendant except for auto attendants specifically set to show it. The conference will also only be visible in the web interface to the conference owner and to the admin user

For private conferences not visible on an auto attendant, participants will still be able to join the conference if they know the PIN.

Note that only admin users can choose which conferences are visible on a given auto attendant.

This setting is only available for schedules conferences. For ad hoc conferences, whether or not they are listed on the auto attendant depends on the settings of that auto attendant. For more information, refer to Adding and updating an auto attendant.

Encryption

The encryption setting for this conference, if you have the encryption feature key enabled.

If encryption is enabled unit-wide (through the Settings > Encryption page), you can set one of:

  • Required: encryption must be used for this conference
  • Optional: encryption is optional for this conference

This setting is grayed-out if encryption is disabled on the Settings > Encryption page.

Note that to be able to use encryption, the Encryption feature key must be present on the MCU.

Layout control via FECC / DTMF

Prevents or permits conference participants changing their view layout or focused participant using Far-End Camera Controls or DTMF tones.

You may wish to prevent participants from changing their view layout in a managed conference, or classroom environment.

This is a per-conference option, but FECC/DTMF layout control may still be enabled or disabled on a per-participant basis using the web interface.

When calling out to endpoints, the endpoints' layout control configuration overrides this setting, and therefore it applies only to endpoints which connect to the conference via an auto attendant or by dialing in directly.

Invite pre-configured participants

Indicates when the MCU should invite any pre-configured endpoints into a conference. The options are:

  • At the start of the conference
    Pre-configured participants will be called as soon as the conference starts.
  • When at least one other participant is present
    Pre-configured endpoints will only be called after at least one other participant joins the conference.

Select which option fits your requirements best. Calling pre-configured endpoints at the start of the conference is most appropriate for repeating conferences with a particular start time.

Calling pre-configured endpoints when at least one other participant is present is most appropriate for permanent conferences; such conferences are typically un-attended for much of the time, and it may only be useful to invite pre-configured endpoints when others are present.

This setting only applies to scheduled conferences.

Mute on join

Select to initially mute audio and/or video from all participants when they join the conference.

If you select to mute audio on join, when a participant dials-in to a conference, he will not be able to contribute audio to the conference. If you select to mute video on join, when a participant dials-in to a conference, he will not be able to contribute video to the conference. You can mute both audio and video if required.

This can be altered during the course of the conference by going to Conferences and clicking on the name of a conference and altering a participant's settings. For more information about altering a participant's settings during a conference, refer to Viewing the conference participant list.

Note that for pre-configured participants and for participants to whom the MCU dials out, the Initial video status and Initial audio status settings will be used to determine whether or not audio and video contributions are muted. For more information about dialing out to participants, refer to Adding participants. For more information about pre-configured participants, refer to Configuring an H.323 endpoint and Configuring a SIP endpoint

For an ad hoc conference, you can configure the Mute on join setting while the conference is active.

Streaming

Individually allow unicast and multicast streaming access to conferences.

See Configuring streaming settings for additional information.

Content channel video

If Enabled, this conference is able to support an additional video stream, sent potentially to all connected endpoints, intended for showing content video.

This content video is typically high resolution, low frame rate data such as a presentation formed of a set of slides. Such presentation data can be sourced by:

  • an endpoint specifically contributing a separate content video stream,
  • the MCU being configured to use an endpoint's main video stream as the conference's content channel,
  • a dedicated VNC connection,
  • or user-generated markup data (the markup is normally, though not always, used in conjunction with content video or VNC data).

See Configuring content settings for additional information on MCU-wide content configuration parameters.

For ad hoc conferences, whether or not content channel video is allowed is controlled by the Content for ad hoc conferences setting on the Settings > Content page.

Content contribution from endpoints

Whether, by default, endpoints are permitted to contribute the content channel for a conference through the mechanism of opening a content video channel.

There can only be one endpoint contributing content video at any one time, and the MCU arbitrates between them. Therefore, even with this parameter set to Enabled, the ability of the endpoint to contribute content video will be affected by other endpoints' behavior.

If this setting is Disabled, it is still possible to enable content contribution on a per-endpoint basis when the conference is active. Similarly, it is possible to disable content contribution from specific endpoints, either while they are connected or via their configuration. For more information about endpoint configuration, refer to Configuring H.323 endpoints and/or Configuring SIP endpoints.

This setting only applies to scheduled conferences.

Maximum video participants

When the MCU is not in port reservation mode, this parameter sets a limit on the number of endpoints which can connect to the conference as video participants.

A participant counts (as a single unit) towards the video limit whether the MCU is sending a video stream to that participant or a video stream is being received.

If you do not want to limit the number of participants who can join this conference and use video, leave this field blank.

This field is only shown if the MCU is not in port reservation mode.

This field only applies to scheduled conferences.

Maximum audio-only participants

When the MCU is not in port reservation mode, this parameter sets a limit on the number of endpoints which can connect to the conference as audio-only participants.

A participant counts (as a single unit) towards the audio limit whether the MCU is sending an audio stream to that participant or an audio stream is being received.

If you do not want to limit the number of participants who can join this conference to use just audio, leave this field blank.

This field is only shown if the MCU is not in port reservation mode.

This field only applies to scheduled conferences.

Video ports to reserve

In port reservation mode, this parameter specifies the number of video ports to reserve.

A participant counts (as a single unit) towards the video reservation value whether the MCU is sending a video stream to that participant or a video stream is being received.

This value is both a reservation and a limit; the MCU guarantees that this many video participants can connect to the conference, but no more than this will be able to join.

This field is only shown if the MCU is in port reservation mode.

Audio-only ports to reserve

In port reservation mode, this parameter specifies the number of audio-only ports to reserve.

A participant counts (as a single unit) towards the audio reservation value whether the MCU is sending an audio stream to that participant or an audio stream is being received.

This value is both a reservation and a limit; the MCU guarantees that this many audio-only participants can connect to the conference, but no more that this will be able to join.

This field is only shown if the MCU is in port reservation mode.

Start time
Start time

The time at which the conference will begin.

 

Start date

The date on which the conference will begin.

 
Set to current time

Sets the conference start time to the current time on the MCU.

The current time on the MCU is determined by the settings in the Settings > Time page, which can only be modified by the administrator. See Displaying general status for additional information.

Duration
Permanent

Allows you to retain a conference and its settings for an infinite period of time.

 

Maximum duration

Limits the duration of the conference for one instance of the conference.

These fields are not available or necessary for conferences set to permanent.

Repetition
Interval

Which days and / or weeks the conference repetitions will occur.

The repetitions will always start at the same time of day: the conference's configured Start time (see above), and will last for the same amount of time: the configured Maximum duration.

The start date is taken into account when determining when the first repetition should occur. For instance, if the start date is a Wednesday and the conference is scheduled to repeat every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday then it will occur only on Wednesday in the first week and on all three specified days in subsequent weeks.

Termination

If a conference is set to repeat, its repetitions can be configured to go on forever, stop after a certain date, or to occur only a certain number of times.

The first activation of a conference counts as a "repetition", so configuring a conference to repeat but terminate after 1 repetition is equivalent to it not repeating at all.

Adding configured endpoints

You can choose to pre-configure endpoints to be part of a conference. These endpoints will be automatically invited into the conference by the MCU. This is useful if you regularly invite the same participants into a conference. To select which previously configured endpoints will be pre-configured for this conference, press Pre-configured participants. (This button may also show a number in parentheses to indicate the number of participants that are currently pre-configured). Refer to Adding participants for more details.

Using IDs and PINs

There are two types of conference participant: chairperson and guest. IDs and PINs allow participants to connect to conferences as the correct participant type.

Chairperson participants use Numeric ID and optionally, PIN; guest participants use Guest numeric ID and optionally, Guest PIN.

A conference will not begin until the first chairperson joins. This means that guests will see a black screen/hear silence with on screen text 'Waiting for conference chairperson' and an audio prompt after five seconds and then every minute thereafter. Streaming viewers will see a black screen/hear silence although mark-up and text chat will work.

You can control the behavior when the last chairperson leaves the conference (that is the When only guests remain setting). The two options are:

If you set both Numeric ID and PIN, you must set either:

or

If you use a Guest PIN, you must use a PIN. If you use a Guest numeric ID, you must use a Numeric ID.

Note that for a conference Numeric ID and Guest numeric ID can be the same only if the two PINs are different; likewise, both PINs can be the same if the IDs are different.

Note that participants dragged and dropped into a conference on the web interface will be chairperson participants.

Where no IDs or PINs are configured for a conference, all participants will be chairpersons regardless of how they join.

H.323 and SIP registration

Both Numeric ID and Guest numeric ID can be registered with an H.323 gatekeeper and/or SIP registrar to enable participants to dial in to conferences directly and as the correct participant type. The Numeric ID registration setting applies to both IDs.

Audio-only participants

Audio-only participants can be guest or chairperson participants by connecting to a conference using either a Guest or Chairperson ID. In the case of an audio-only guest, if no chairperson has yet joined the conference, they will hear an audio prompt informing them of that. The conference will start when the first chairperson joins.

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