Brent Kelly
Brent Kelly is president and principal analyst at KelCor, Inc., where he provides strategy and counsel to key client types...
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Brent Kelly | April 25, 2016 |


How CafeX 'Makes Music' with Chime

How CafeX 'Makes Music' with Chime CafeX enables browsers of any flavor to 'chime-in' using voice and video.

CafeX enables browsers of any flavor to 'chime-in' using voice and video.

A new CaféX video product branded "Chime" won the Best of Enterprise Connect Award, as Beth Schultz reported in her March No Jitter article. So what's all the fuss about? Today I'd like to take a deeper dive into Chime's value proposition and how it works in order to deliver that value.

Chime's Value Proposition

CaféX Chime is an advanced video application server accompanied by an application programming interface (API). Chime provides four primary benefits:

  1. Enables nearly any Web browser to join an audio/video meeting
  2. Can reduce WAN video bandwidth
  3. May reduce the number of MCU ports required for a multipoint meeting
  4. Enables browser-based video to interoperate with H.323- and SIP-based video endpoints as well with Skype for Business clients

Unlike WebRTC, which is limited to Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers for the moment (Microsoft Edge is getting there, but is not quite able to interoperate yet, and Apple Safari is "under development"), CaféX Chime will allow video from the browsers of all four of the major manufacturers to interoperate with one another, including most versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer. As one considers the proliferation of desktop video in the enterprise, a solution that requires no additional clients or software may be very attractive to CFOs as well as the IT staff charged with PC management.

Chime reduces WAN bandwidth by decreasing the number of individual video connections that traverse the WAN. It does this by creating clusters of browser-based video endpoints that exchange video among themselves, with one node in the cluster designated for transmitting video to the Chime server. The Chime server integrates with MCUs, bringing browser-based video to the MCU, and it is at the MCU level that the browser video mixes with the H.323, SIP, and/or Skype for Business video. Because fewer video streams traverse the WAN, fewer MCU ports are required when mixing the video.

How Chime Works

The figure below shows a conceptual overview and architectural diagram of Chime:

Figure 1. A Chime architectural overview

The Chime Server

Chime server is at the heart of the Chime architecture, containing most of the intelligence and algorithms that enable the solution to work. Think of Chime server as the control mechanism in the solution.

As illustrated above, the Chime server interfaces with browser-based video clients on one side and with a variety of MCU-types on the other, including Cisco Telepresence Server, Skype for Business Server (on-premises only at present), and Zoom's cloud-based multipoint video servers. Additional on-premises and cloud-based MCU solutions will be supported in future releases.

Chime server software runs on off-the-shelf hardware, and it can be virtualized. A Chime server node consists of two logical elements:

  1. An application server for secure signaling and cluster control
  2. A media broker for interfacing with MCUs

Each of these logical servers uses between four and eight CPU cores supporting up to eight GB of RAM each. A single server can support approximately 320 browser endpoints and up to 80 simultaneous video calls. Additional capacity can be added simply by spinning up additional virtual servers.

Chime can transmit video packets using either TCP or UDP. Out of the box, the server uses TCP, which allows the server to be placed behind the firewall. Standard Web proxy servers can then be used with the browser traffic, and no additional session border controller is required. This is important to IT organizations as they do not need to modify or add infrastructure.

Continue to next page for discussion of cluster rings, codecs, bandwidth conservation, and more


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