Having done a lot of integration work with Crestron and various Videoconference codecs, I often need to generate test calls to see how a system will handle them and help me work out how the control system should be responding. Looking for some alternate solutions to setting up another vc unit to generate these test calls, I reached out to resident video conferencing expert Daniel Garan and he had the following suggestions:

There are some free video conference software that are viable, but from experience their setup procedures are not always straightforward or easy to follow.

Free software:

Ekiga – http://www.ekiga.org/
ooVoo – http://www.oovoo.com/
Homer – http://www.homer-conferencing.com/en/index.php

Ekiga and Homer I’ve tried personally and they both worked well, however when compared to brand name alternatives they are not as refined.
In addition, free software do not always support both H.323 and SIP protocols (its usually either this or that),

Brand name free trials:

Cisco Jabber – http://www.cisco.com/web/products/voice/jabber.html
Polycom Telepresence m100 – http://support.polycom.com/PolycomService/support/emea/support/video/personal_telepresence/m100.html
Polycom RealPresence Desktop – http://www.polycom.com/products-services/hd-telepresence-video-conferencing/realpresence-desktop/realpresence-desktop.html
LifeSize Clearsea – https://www.lifesize.com/en/products/video-conferencing-software/clearsea

My personal picks of the range are the two Polycom based products.
They are really simple to install and configure and in terms of licensing, they don’t cost too much (especially for m100).
A license usually costs around 50-80$ U.S.

In addition, from experience where there are more complex network environments, the additional settings found within the m100 give it an edge over the RPD software, allowing it work easier with multiple firewalls.

This is a developing discussion here on ProAVSchool and I will dive into some of the challenges and solutions for this type of testing in further articles. Shaped by YOU! – What do you want to hear more about this subject?

About the author

Dustin has been involved in the Professional Audio Visual industry for over 20 years, working for integrators both big and small. Learning the ropes through many years of trial, error, and firsthand experience, Dustin is passionate about creating resources to help share the knowledge that he has obtained the "hard" way.

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