Recently I had some fun and games with our two Tandberg Video Conference units at the Powerhouse. It had been report to me that it was not possible to dial into any VMR’s (Virtual Meeting Rooms), DARTs VMR’s included. To dial into a VMR it is necessary to use what is known as a ‘URI Dial String’, this string consists of two parts, firstly some text or a number followed by the ‘@’ symbol then an IP Address or Domain name so, <text>@<ipaddress>, this is typically implemented by inputting the VMR as the first part of the string then the IP address as the second part.
As you would imagine not being able to dial into the DART VMR is a big problem for us, and since I am still relatively new here I am not really sure how this was achieved in the past, but I set about fixing the problem, and after much back and forth and much googling I came to the conclusion that the firmware in our Tandberg units was way too old!
As it turns out URI dialing cannot be used with Tandberg software version prior to TC4.2 unless the system is registered with a gatekeeper. We do not have a gatekeeper and you would only really need one if you had to implement inbound URI dialing. Cisco only introduced full support for H.323 Annex O (URI Dialing) in TC4.2, we had TC4.1 so could only do IP dialing. Problem is that we do not have a CISCO support contract on our VC units and getting firmware upgrades is usually done through support contract channels.
Thankfully, if you are in the same situation, there is a way out. You can either go to the trouble of installing gnugk a free gatekeeper application on a seperate server or you can in fact get a firmware upgrade for your unit. CISCO only require that you have a support contract to get the most recent version of the firmeware TC6.3, the older versions TC4.2 and TC5.1.8 are freely avaliable HERE. You will need a CISCO Tac login to be able to download it, but that is free as well.
There is a step-by-step process to installing a new firmware package in the administrators guide for your system. But basically you will need to;
– Download the package.
– Upload the packaged to the unit using the web interface that your unit provides.
– Wait about 10 minutes for the upgrade to finish and the system to reboot.
– Login to the CISCO Tac and obtain a Release Key from HERE.
– Login back into the web interface and apply the ‘Release Key’ from the maintenance menu.
Be warned though, a firmware upgrade like this is not for the faint hearted, things can go wrong, and if something breaks you will need advanced knowledge to recover from the situation!
So, if you’re brave, go forth, upgrade and enjoy all the new features that you never thought your VC Codec could do!