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Cisco’s foray into desktop videoconferencing

Dec 12, 20032 mins
Data Center

At this week’s Cisco Worldwide Analyst Conference 2003, Cisco outlined its plans to offer a desktop videoconferencing system:

With the bandwidth in many LANs “huge,” the new Cisco videoconferencing product will run without the jerkiness and other distortion typically associated with earlier desktop solutions, [Charlie Giancarlo, Cisco’s senior vice president of product development] said. He added that users are also interested in replacing awkward videoconferencing systems that involve rolling equipment around on carts or reserving space in a special room.

From the sounds like it will involved some sort of USB-based camera and desktop software that will be interoperable with Cisco’s current lineup of IP phones, meaning it’ll probably be SIP based. While it’s great that Cisco is getting in the desktop videoconferencing market, the jerky video problem Giancarlo describes does not usually occur in point-to-point video on the same LAN. Most desktop video systems perform admirably when there’s 100 megabits of connectivity between endpoints. The problem Cisco and the other vendors need to fix is when a conference takes place over a tighter WAN or public network connection, particularly the latter. Video in particular suffers horribly from latency and network congestion, an inherent problem on the ‘Net. If Cisco’s product line overcomes that problem, it should be a success, but I’m not holding my breath.