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Configuring global conference settings

You can modify the global conference settings for the MCU choosing by Settings > Conference. However, many of these values can be overwritten by other MCU settings, for example individual conference, participant, or endpoint settings.

On this page:

Conference settings

Refer to this table for assistance configuring the conference settings. After making any configuration changes, click Apply changes.

 

Field Field description Usage tips
Maximum video size

Identifies the greatest video size that the MCU will send and receive when connected to a video endpoint.

This option is only available on the MCU 4200 Series, and only if the MCU 4CIF (HRO) feature key is present.

Motion / sharpness trade off

Choose the unit-wide/blade-wide setting for motion/sharpness trade off. The options are:

  • Favor motion: the MCU will try and use a high frame rate. That is, the MCU will strongly favor a resolution of at least 25 frames per second
  • Favor sharpness: the MCU will use the highest resolution that is appropriate for what is being viewed
  • Balanced: the MCU will select settings that balance resolution and frame rate (where the frame rate will not be less than 12 frames per second)

The settings for motion (frames per second) and sharpness (frame size or resolution) are negotiated between the endpoint and the MCU. This setting controls how the MCU will negotiate the settings to be used with an endpoint.

Note that the Motion/sharpness trade off setting for an individual endpoint will override this unit-wide/blade-wide setting for calls to/from that endpoint.

Transmitted video resolutions

Choose the unit-wide/blade-wide setting for transmitted video resolutions. This setting can be overridden by individual configured endpoint settings.

Retain the default setting (Allow all resolutions) unless you are experiencing problems with the display of certain resolutions by endpoints.

Endpoints advertise the resolutions that they are able to display. The MCU then chooses from those advertised resolutions, the resolution that it will use to transmit video. However, some endpoints do not display widescreen resolutions optimally. In these cases, you might want to use this setting to restrict the resolutions available to the MCU.

Note that you can configure this setting for individual configured endpoints if you do not need to restrict transmitted video resolutions for all endpoints.

Default bandwidth from MCU

Identifies the network capacity (measured in bits per second) used by the media channels established by the MCU to a single participant.

When the MCU makes a call to an endpoint, the MCU chooses the maximum bandwidth that is allowed to be used for the media channels which comprise that call. This field sets that maximum bandwidth, and is the total bandwidth of the audio, video, and content channels combined.

This setting can be overridden by individual endpoints' Preferred bandwidth from MCU values.

Default bandwidth to MCU

Sets the bandwidth that the MCU will advertise to the endpoint when it calls it.

This setting can be overridden by individual endpoints' Preferred bandwidth to MCU values.

Default view family

Determines which layout views (see Customizing layout views) new participants see when connecting to conferences.

Regardless of the family chosen here, participants can cycle through the available families using the Far End Camera Controls. See Understanding how participants display in layout views.

Use full screen view for two participants

When there are only two participants, each participant will see the other in full-screen view.

If selected, when there are only two participants in a conference, this will apply regardless of which layout was originally chosen for the conference. If you do not select this setting, then the default family view is used with unused panes blank.

Active speaker display

When in a conference, there is generally one participant that the MCU recognizes as the active speaker, notionally the person currently speaking the loudest. This setting determines how the MCU displays that participant in conference views.

  • None
    With this setting, no special action is taken when displaying the active speaker.
  • Red border
    Displays a red border around the active speaker.
  • Green border
    Displays a green border around the active speaker.

Specifically, an active speaker is the participant who has been identified by the MCU as the current loudest speaker, and they are currently speaking. When you choose to have a border display around the active speaker, it will only display when that participant is speaking.

Media port reservation

Determines whether the MCU is operating in Reserved mode (Media port reservation Enabled) or Unreserved mode (Media port reservation Disabled).

Note that if you set this field to Enabled, you will not be able to create ad hoc conferences. See Port reservation modes for additional information.

Audio notifications

Allows various audible in-conference features to be enabled or disabled.

The options are:

  • Conference timing: audible messages to indicate when the conference's scheduled end time is approaching.
  • Join and leave indications: audible messages indicating when other participants join and leave the conference.
  • Conference status: audible status messages for example indicating to a participant that he is the only participant in a conference.
Overlaid icons

Allows various in-conference icons to be displayed on participants' endpoints.

Depending on the check boxes that are selected, in-conference icons appear:

  • Important participant: a crown icon appears on all participants' endpoints in the pane of the participant that has become important.
  • Unsecured conferences: encrypted participants in a conference where encryption is optional see an icon indicating that there are other participants who are unencrypted:
    This icon is also visible to participants of an encrypted conference if there are people streaming that conference.
  • Tunneled camera control: an arrow icon appears on their endpoint when one participant uses the far end camera control to control another's camera.
  • Layout changes: an icon appears on their endpoint when a participant changes their layout view.
  • Recording indicator: an icon (a red dot) appears near the top left of the conference display to indicate that the conference is being recorded. For the recording indicator to display, the recording must be made by an IP VCR running software version 2.1 or later, and the connection between the IP VCR and the MCU must be using H.323.
  • Audio participants: an icon appears near the top left of the conference display to indicate if there are any audio-only participants. To the right of the icon, the number of such participants will be displayed. If enabled, the icon will only display if there are one or more audio participants.
    Audio-only participants are participants that cannot be viewed; either the participant's endpoint cannot send video, the MCU has not allocated a video port to the participant, or the participant has muted their endpoint's video channel to the MCU.
  • Streaming participants: an icon appears in the top left of the conference display to indicate if there are any streaming participants in the conference. If enabled, the icon will only display if there are one or more streaming participants. Streaming participants are people who are viewing and listening to the conference using a web browser.
  • Media quality: an icon (video camera with a cross through it) appears when a participant is experiencing high packet loss or if the network link's bandwidth is too low for the type of channel to the MCU that the endpoint has established.

Refer to Using in-conference features with video endpoints to see all in-conference icons and their descriptions.

Overlaid text

Allow various in-conference features to be enabled or disabled.

Depending on the check boxes that are selected, in-conference messages appear:

  • Conference status: messages appear when the conference's scheduled end time is approaching and when other participants join and leave the conference. Status messages can also be played for example when you are the only participant in a conference
  • Conference timing: a message appears when the conference's scheduled end time is approaching
  • Join and leave indications: messages appear when other participants join and leave the conference
  • Text messages: allows a message sent using the web interface to be displayed on participants' endpoints
  • Content channel text chat: messages that users can send one another via the content channel are displayed on participants' endpoints. Note that this functionality is only available if the web conferencing option (WCO) is activated on your MCU.
Overlaid logo duration

This setting controls for how long (if at all) the Codian logo is displayed to participants joining a conference. When displayed, the logo appears in the bottom right of a participant's conference display. Choose from:

  • <never show>
  • 5 seconds
  • 10 seconds
  • 1 minute
  • <permanent>

This field only applies to the MCU 4500 Series and MSE Media2 blade.

Conference welcome message

Allows you to enter a message that will be seen by participants joining conferences on the MCU. The message is displayed at the bottom of a participant's conference display.

The duration of the message is configured using the Conference welcome message duration control.

Conference welcome message duration

This setting controls for how long (if at all) participants joining a conference will see the conference welcome message. Choose from:

  • <never show>
  • 5 seconds
  • 10 seconds
  • 1 minute
  • <permanent>

If you want streaming viewers to see the welcome message, you must configure the duration as permanent.

Time to show participant names

This setting controls whether (and for how long) participants shown in view panes are accompanied by their supplied name.

The "Conference welcome message" (described above) and any other overlaid textual messages (for instance information on how soon the conference is going to end, or endpoints leaving and joining the conference) will take priority over the displaying of participant names for the duration of those messages.

Advanced settings

You typically only need to modify these advanced settings if you are working with a support engineer or setting up more complicated configurations.

 

Field Field description Usage tips
Audio codecs from MCU

Restricts the MCU's choice of audio codecs to be used for transmitting audio to endpoints.

When communicating with an endpoint, the MCU receives a list of supported audio codecs from the endpoint. The MCU chooses an audio codec from those available, and sends audio data to the endpoint in that format.

Note that the Custom codec selection setting for an individual endpoint will override this unit-wide/blade-wide setting for calls to that endpoint.

Audio codecs to MCU

Determines which audio codecs the MCU advertises to remote endpoints, restricting the endpoints' choice of channels available for sending audio data to the MCU.

Note that the Custom codec selection setting for an individual endpoint will override this unit-wide/blade-wide setting for calls from that endpoint.

Video codecs from MCU

Restricts the MCU's choice of video codecs to be used for transmitting video to endpoints.

When communicating with an endpoint, the MCU receives a list of supported video codecs from the endpoint. The MCU chooses a video codec from those available, and sends video data to the endpoint in that format.

Note that the Custom codec selection setting for an individual endpoint will override this unit-wide/blade-wide setting for calls to that endpoint.

Video codecs to MCU

Determines which video codecs the MCU advertises to remote endpoints, restricting the endpoints' choice of channels available for sending video data to the MCU.

Note that the Custom codec selection setting for an individual endpoint will override this unit-wide/blade-wide setting for calls from that endpoint.

Video transmit size optimization

Allows the MCU to vary the resolution and codec of the video being sent to a remote endpoint within the video channel established to that endpoint. The options are:

  • None: Do not allow video size to be changed during transmission
  • Dynamic resolution only: Allow video size to be optimized during transmission
  • Dynamic codec and resolution: Allow video size to be optimized during transmission and/or dynamic codec selection

With this option enabled, the MCU can, for instance, decide to send CIF video within a 4CIF channel if this will increase the viewed video quality.

The circumstances under which decreasing the video resolution can improve the video quality include:

  • if the original size of the viewed video is smaller than the outgoing channel
  • if the remote endpoint has used flow control commands to reduce the bandwidth of the MCU video transmission

Typically, lowering the resolution means that the MCU can transmit video at a higher frame-rate.

Video resolution selection mode

This setting can be used to influence the choice of outgoing video resolution made by the MCU in certain circumstances.

  • Default
    The MCU will use its normal internal algorithms to dynamically decide which resolution to send in order to maximize the received video quality.
  • Favor 448p
    The MCU will heavily favor sending 448p or w448p video (resolutions of 576 x 448 and 768 x 448 pixels respectively) to those endpoints that are known to work best with these resolutions.

You should leave this at Default unless your environment dictates 448p or w448p resolutions only.

Video format

Sets the format for video transmitted by the MCU.

  • NTSC
    The MCU will transmit video at 30 frames per second (or a fraction or multiple of 30, for example: 15fps or 60fps)
  • PAL
    The MCU will transmit video at 25 frames per second (or a fraction or multiple of 25, for example: 12.5fps or 50fps)

This option should be set to match your endpoints' video configuration. If you set this incorrectly, the smoothness of the video both to and from the endpoints might suffer.

NTSC is typically used in North America, while PAL is typically used in the UK and Europe.

Maximum transmitted video packet size

Sets the maximum payload size (in bytes) of the packets sent by the MCU for outgoing video streams (from the MCU to connected video endpoints).

Typically, you only need to set this value to lower than the default (1400 bytes) if there was a known packet size restriction in the path between the MCU and potential connected endpoints.

Video streams generally contain packets of different lengths. This parameter only sets the maximum size of a transmitted network datagram. The MCU optimally splits the video stream into packets of this size or smaller. Thus, most transmitted packets will not reach this maximum size.

Interlaced video optimization

Controls whether the MCU restricts video resolutions in order to reduce the effect of interlacing artifacts.

You should only enable this option if you are seeing video interlacing artifacts or on the advice of Customer support. Note that all resolution restrictions imposed by this setting apply only to video being sent from endpoints to the MCU.

Video receive bit rate optimization

Enables the MCU to send bandwidth control messages to optimize the video bandwidth being used.

The MCU can send these messages to endpoints requesting that the bandwidth of the video that they are sending be decreased or increased, up to the maximum bandwidth of the channel.

If the participant is very prominent, then the MCU will ask the endpoint to send video at a high bandwidth. If the participant is not being viewed at all (or only being viewed in very small view panes), the MCU will request that the video is sent at a lower rate to conserve network bandwidth.


Note: When an MCU 4500 or MSE Media2 Blade is in HD+ mode, this option is automatically enabled by the MCU. For more information, refer to Configuring media port settings.
Flow control on video errors

Enables the MCU to request that the endpoint send lower speed video if it fails to receive all the packets which comprise the far end's video stream.

The MCU can send these messages to endpoints requesting that the bandwidth of the video that they are sending be decreased based on the quality of video received by the MCU.

If there is a bandwidth limitation in the path between the endpoint and the MCU, it is better for the MCU to receive every packet of a lower rate stream than to miss some packets of a higher rate stream.


Note: When an MCU 4500 or MSE Media2 Blade is in HD+ mode, this option is automatically enabled by the MCU. For more information, refer to Configuring media port settings.

Don't see yourself in small panes

Prevents the MCU from showing conference participants their own video in small panes of variable-sized pane views (and in conferences with equal-sized panes).

If this option is set, then a participant will never appear in a small pane (self-view), even if there is a free small pane available. They may still appear in larger panes, however, for example if the view focus is manually changed to show their video. See Understanding how participants display in layout views for more details.

Don't duplicate in small panes

Prevents the MCU from duplicating large-pane participants in small panes.

When using a conference view with some large and some small panes, the MCU will typically duplicate in a small pane the video of a participant shown in a large pane. This is done to minimize the switching of small panes in response to changes of participant focus in the large pane. If you would prefer not to duplicate participants in small panes in this way, select this option. For more details of view layouts, see Understanding how participants display in layout views.

Automatically make content channel important

Any new content channel in a conference will be treated as important and displayed prominently to all participants who see the content channel in their conference layout.

When this setting is enabled, any endpoint successfully contributing content to a conference is immediately treated as important. This has the same affect as using the 'crown' icon in the content channel row of a conference's Participant list page.

An administrator can remove the importance from the content channel at any time in the conference.

This setting does not affect participants who view the content channel independently from their conference panes (for example, those viewing the content channel on a separate video screen).

This setting will not affect those participants using pane placement. Participants using pane placement who have not allocated a pane to the content channel, will not see the content channel even if it is 'important'.

Loudest speaker pane placement behavior

When pane placement is in use, this option affects the potential duplication of participants that are specifically placed in view panes with view panes configured to show the conference's current active speaker.

  • Never duplicate placed participants
    A pane set to show the loudest speaker will never show a participant that is specifically configured to be displayed in another layout pane. If another layout pane has been configured to show the participant which is the current active speaker, panes set to show the loudest speaker will instead show the conference's previous loudest speaker.
    If you never want a pane that is set to <loudest speaker> to duplicate a participant shown in another layout pane, choose this setting.
  • Allow duplication of placed participants in small panes only
    This is the default setting; panes configured to show the loudest speaker will be able to show participants that are configured to be displayed in one or more small panes for that layout, but not those shown in big panes. This is most appropriate when using layouts with more than one big pane, in order to make best use of the screen area.
  • Allow duplication of placed participants in any pane
    Panes set to <loudest speaker> will always show the current active speaker for a conference, whether or not any other layout panes have been specifically configured to show that participant.

For more details of view layouts, see Understanding how participants display in layout views.

Pane rolling interval

When pane placement is in use, this option determines how often panes set to "rolling" change which participant they are showing.

For more details of view layouts, see Understanding how participants display in layout views.

Voice switching sensitivity

Determines how easy it is for a participant to replace the active speaker for a conference based on how loudly they are speaking.

A value of 0 means that it is very difficult for the active speaker to be replaced; a value of 100 means the active speaker can be replaced very easily.

Maximum height of participant name within pane

Determines the height of the text that the participant's name is displayed in the viewing pane.

Enter a percentage value. For example a value of 50 will display the participant name in half the height of the pane.

Additional audio delay relative to video

Select the delay to be applied to audio relative to video.

A setting used only to rectify some types of 'lip sync' issues sometimes found with certain endpoints. Leave at default setting, unless advised to alter it by Customer support or a reseller.

Floor and chair control

Controls whether connected endpoints are allowed to use floor and chair control operations.

This option acts as a unit-wide control over whether any H.243 floor and chair control operations are permitted. Individual conferences may have their own floor and chair control policies set; however, if this setting is Disabled then no floor or chair control operations will be possible within conferences. Changing this setting will only affect new calls - existing calls will continue with the setting in force when they became active.

For more information, refer to H.243 floor and chair control.

Incoming calls to unknown conferences or auto attendants

Sets the default action when endpoints call into the MCU using an unknown E.164 number, conference number, or auto attendant. In other words, a number that does not correspond to any configured conference.

  • Default auto attendant
    The endpoint will enter the default auto attendant from which they may join existing conferences or potentially create a new conference (see Using an auto attendant). This behavior is the same as if the endpoint had called the MCU using its IP address rather than a number.
  • Disconnect caller
    Endpoints are not allowed to call unknown conference or auto attendant numbers, and the call will be terminated.
  • Create new ad hoc conference
    A new conference will be created with the number called as its numeric identifier. The endpoint automatically joins this new conference. This option is not available if the MCU is in port reservation mode.

This option can make it easier for callers to create ad hoc conferences if Create new ad hoc conference is selected. If you do not want callers to be able to create conferences in this way, select one of the other options.

Failed preconfigured participants redial behavior

Determines the redial options for failed preconfigured participants.

Controls the frequency of redial attempts to preconfigured participants. The options are:

  • Never redial
    The MCU will never attempt to redial a preconfigured participant, even if they fail to connect.
  • Default
    The MCU will make nine retry attempts to a preconfigured participant who fails to connect. The first four will be at one minute intervals, the following five will be at five minute intervals.
  • Constant redial
    The MCU will make constant retry attempts to a preconfigured participant who fails to connect. The first four will be at one minute intervals, all redial attempts after this will be at five minutes.

Conferences remain locked when empty

When enabled, conferences remain locked when all participants leave the conference.

Without this option selected, when the final participant leaves a locked conference, the MCU unlocks that conference.

Use conference name as caller ID

If enabled, when the MCU is calling out to an endpoint, the caller ID that the endpoint will see is the conference name.

Without this option selected, the caller ID is the name of the MCU. This setting applies to both H.323 and SIP endpoints.

Require H.323 gatekeeper callers to enter PIN

Instructs the MCU to request conference participants dialing into protected conferences using an E.164 number via an H.323 gatekeeper to enter a PIN before they may join the conference.

You may want participants joining a conference via a gatekeeper not to need to enter a PIN, even for protected conferences. If this is the case, do not set this option. If you want conferences to be protected, regardless of how participants connect, ensure you set this option.

When this option is set, participants calling into a protected conference will be presented with PIN-entry screen instead of the normal conference view. The option has no effect for conferences with no PIN set.

Require a PIN for ad hoc conferences

If this option is checked, a participant creating an ad hoc conference must enter a PIN for that conference. The MCU will not create the conference until the participant enters a PIN.

When a PIN is required for ad hoc conferences, the auto attendant will wait forever for the participant to enter a PIN.

This option is required in some highly secure environments.

Minimum required PIN length for ad hoc conferences

The minimum number of digits required for a PIN.

This field is only available if Require a PIN for ad hoc conferences is selected. This forces a participant who is creating an ad hoc conference to protect it with a PIN with at least this number of digits.

Time to wait when setting up ad hoc conference PIN

The timeout setting for a participant entering a PIN for an ad hoc conference that they are currently creating:

  • <never configure PIN>
    Participants will never be prompted to enter a PIN when creating an ad hoc conference.
  • 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 1 minute
    Participants will be prompted for a PIN when creating an ad hoc conference. If the participant does not enter a PIN during the configured time period, the conference will be created without a PIN.
  • <wait forever>
    Participants will be prompted for a PIN when creating an ad hoc conference. They must either enter a PIN to create an ad hoc conference with a PIN or press the hash/pound key (#) to create the conference without a PIN.

This global setting may be useful where participants creating ad hoc conferences rarely need to configure a PIN.

This field is unavailable when Require a PIN for ad hoc conferences is selected. When a PIN is required for ad hoc conferences, the auto attendant will wait forever for the participant to enter a PIN.

Advertise out of band DTMF

If this option is checked, the MCU advertises the ability to receive out of band DTMF.

If this option is checked, endpoints are allowed to send out of band DTMF. If this option is unselected, the MCU will not advertise the ability to accept out of band DTMF and endpoints will instead be forced to use in band DTMF.

Prior to release 4.1, the MCU always advertised to endpoints the ability to receive out of band DTMF tones. Now you can disable this functionality if required. If you unselect this option, endpoints are forced to send DTMF in band (in the audio channel). This means that the MCU can pass DTMF tones on to an audio conferencing bridge or to another MCU where a conference is cascaded.

Enable resolutions above CIF to be sent to Cisco Unified CM

If this option is checked, the MCU will send resolutions higher than CIF to Cisco Unified Communications Manager.

Prior to Release 4.2 of the MCU, CIF was sent to Cisco Unified Communications Manager registered endpoints.

Enable transmission of 60fps

Enables the Cisco TelePresence MCU 4500 series, and the Cisco TelePresence MCU MSE 8510 to send and receive video at 60 frames per second (fps). Note that the MCU will only send 60fps video to endpoints that it knows are capable of receiving video at that resolution.

The Motion / sharpness tradeoff option in Conference settings above should be set to Favor motion.

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