9 points to consider when self-installing a video conferencing system.
With certain video conferencing solutions we would always recommend an accredited engineer(s) installs and configures the solution. However, we also understand it can be easier and cheaper to install the solution yourself. Here are a few tips for anyone wanting to install a SIP/H.323 video conferencing system themselves.
1. Confirm you aren't out of your depth!
Some basic solutions are easy to install, the following may prove to be too challenging or simply too time-consuming to install yourselves:
- Infrastructure (i.e. on-premise MCUs, ISDN gateways, Management tools etc. that need lots of configuration)
- Control units (AMX, Crestron, SY etc.)
- External cameras and audio solutions
- Multiple units/locations, this can be time consuming it may be difficult to keep consistency throughout the locations
2. Ensure you have the correct solution for your requirement
A common problem is people mistakenly thinking they can use a basic webcam in a large setup such as a 16-seat boardroom. It is then discovered that that this solution isn't suitable, and a replacement is then sourced. Here are some factors to consider when finding the right solution:
What is the room size? This is commonly measured by how many seats or people are in the room
- A room with up to 4 seats would be considered as a huddle space which may be suitable for a very basic setup,and even potentially a webcam
- 5-10 seats would be a medium-sized boardroom with a professional unit with a 4x zoom camera would be sufficient
- A boardroom with 11+ seats would require a professional unit with at least a 10x zoom camera and potentially extras microphones
- A lecture room or a setup with external microphones and/or cameras may require an integrators codec. It is highly recommended to include a professional at this point
Are any extra inputs/outputs required?
If you are planning on connecting any extra devices to the video conferencing codec, it is worth considering which connections they will use, then checking the product datasheet to see if these connections are available
Is Multipoint required?
Most systems can only communicate in point-to-point (with one other video conferencing unit at a time). Some systems have an optional Multipoint licence, allowing up to 8 participants in a call. Alternatively, most solutions today use a cloud-hosted solution, in which case a point-to-point system will be sufficient
If you'd like some help with this, check out our quiz that helps your find the right product based on a few questions - click here.
3. Non-video conferencing devices ability to join calls
Standardly, video conferencing systems only have the ability to join calls with other SIP/H.323 (perhaps ISDN) video conferencing systems. If you'd like to have the option for PC/Mac, telephone, Skype For Business, iOS & Android users to join a call, then a gateway will need to be purchase. Please Contact Us for more details on this, as there are a lot of options available
4. Ensure you have the correct bandwidth
It is important to ensure the system will have decent bandwidth access. Standardly a HD video call will consume around 2Mbps upload and download speed. Therefore it's important to ensure there is enough bandwidth available, also accounting for any other users/devices sharing the line
5. Pre-prepare technical info
Ensure the correct techinical information is provided prior to installation. Including opening firewall ports and providing IP addresses, NAT addresses, Subnet mask, registrations etc.
6. Prepare the room
A few physical characteristics need to be taken into account before installing the video conferencing system, these include where the camera, codec & microphone(s) will be placed:
- The codec is standardly close the to screen as it connects into this, this would usually be installed in a cabinet/credenza or on a wall shelf/bracket.
- The camera would also standardly be placed on a wall bracket or shelf below or above the screen. The ideal setup is for the camera to be at eye-height with people sat at the table, this is usually around 1.2m from the ground
- The microphone(s) would go on the table or in the ceiling. It is worth noting how the cable will get from the cable to the table/ceiling, and how the cable will get through the table
7. The correct monitor/projector is in place
Most projectors, televisions or professional displays will be suitable to connect the video conferencing unit to. The main requirement is usually simply that a HDMI input is spare (for the codec to connect to) and that it has speakers
8. Cable Lengths
It is always worth noting the cable runs for the camera, codec & microphone(s), especially if the room in question is large. There is a chance that longer cables or extensions cables will need to be purchased, and there is nothing worse than starting a project with the wrong cables and having to put the project on hold whilst the extensions are ordered
9. Data sharing
All professional video conferencing systems have the option to share a laptop/PC during a call using a cable. This is standardly done with a basic HDMI cable, however there are wireless options available - see here for more information
Hopefully this information proves useful with your self-installation. If you would like to enquire about our installation services, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01252 744 744 with your project details.