A video conferencing network is a type of computer network design that transmits live video recordings to multiple users using Internet technology. Often, video conferences are used in place of face-to-face meetings or telephone conferences. The network that transmits the live recordings uses a combination of traditional phone line, Internet, and broadband services. A video conferencing network will typically also include the use of a server or software application.
In order to transmit live recordings, each user in a video conferencing network needs to have a camera that sends video signals through a computer. The computer transmits the signals from each computer, which are then received by each device connected to the network. A video conferencing software program makes the transmissions user-friendly. Software applications provide an interface where network users can initiate and terminate transmission activity with commands.
A video conferencing network may use ISDN phone lines, DSL lines, or broadband cable lines to connect to a central Internet provider. Some of the phone or data lines used by certain organizations may be dedicated. This means no other organization or individual has access to its use. Government agencies typically use dedicated lines to create private networks that are not subject to outside monitoring or interference.
Each computer in a video conferencing network will have its own modem or router that connects it to the network. The Internet service provider (ISP) receives video signals from the main transmitter, which in a business setting is often a corporate headquarters or main office. Sometimes referred to as "the main meeting room," the video signal gets sent through some type of central database and switch. It then travels through a modem or router to the ISP.
The network, which is sometimes called a "cloud," is where all of the video signals are exchanged. In some cases, video conferencing involves multiple users receiving some type of live presentation, with very little opportunity for feedback. Other uses of video conferencing systems involve more of an intimate two-way exchange between two separate groups or individuals. There may be active exchanges similar to a conference call conversation.
Video conferencing equipment may employ the use of small cameras or full video recorders. There are many portable web cameras that attach to almost any computer device that are used for video conferencing. The concept behind video conferencing networks is the same as other types of phone or computer networks. Types of technology used will vary depending upon the number of network users, the amount bandwidth needed, the level of video quality that is desired, and the level of security that is needed.