[AG-TECH] FYI: Progress with conferencing under Windows XP

Jay Beavers jbeavers at microsoft.com
Thu Jan 3 20:37:07 CST 2002

Just a note to let people know that we've made substantial progress at
Microsoft Research working on our conferencing components.


We've been writing an RTP network stack for the DotNet Framework and
integrating it with our Windows Media and DirectShow technologies.  Our
current target is enabling 5-way high quality conferencing for use in
researching futures of distance education.


We've reach the point where we put on a pretty good demo.  We're doing
320x240 video conferencing with 15 delivered & rendered frames per
second using MSVideo compression.  MSVideo is a proprietary offshoot of
MPEG-4 research which has been highly optimized for the Windows OS and
MMX/MMX2 enabled CPUs (Intel Pentium III, IV, and Athlon XP).  We're
getting almost no compression artifacts at sustained 15 fps using only
512 kb/s per video stream (256k stream, double sent for loss
correction).  We're also using MSAudio to get high quality audio streams
at low bitrates (~128 kb/s after error correction).  Our goal is to
enable $1500 desktops to participate in two way conferencing over a 1.5
Mb/s network and five way conferencing over a 10 Mb/s network.  We also
leverage larger hardware to enable AG-like scenarios of dozens of
participants, though we haven't done performance and scalability testing
to know where our limitations are currently.


We're also working in a componentized fashion to enable other real-time
network application to use the RTP stack.  For instance, we've written
some network diagnostic tools and we have other groups creating
distributed whiteboard / workspace applications on top of the RTP stack.


We're currently at demo quality, but not distribution quality.  We have
a number of additional features that need to be implemented to enable
support of multiple types of cameras and device configurations as well
as performance and security work before we can distribute externally.
I'll keep everyone posted as things progress.  Our intention is to post
binaries on Research.Microsoft.Com for research and educational use in
the next few months.


We're demonstrating the system in conjunction with University of
Washington, Carnegie Mellon, and Brown University at the upcoming Next
Generation Internet Principle Investigator's conference this weekend.


 - jcb

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