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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Sherbrooke, Qc, Canada, Quebec, Canada
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    Video/audio conferencing through VPN


    I was wondering what you people thought of doing video conferencing through a VPN ?
    Basically I'm working on a distance-learning project at the local university and we would like for "students" to be able to speak with teachers with the use of webcams. If they use webcams on campus or in other universities, there's no problem because the bandwidth is large enough.

    If the "student" is at home connected through a local ISP and the teacher is located on campus, the video becomes awfully grany.

    I know that most ISP's reserve their bandwidth for stuff OTHER THAN video conferencing which makes it hard.

    I was hoping that by creating a VPN, the ISP would be "fooled" by not knowing what's going through the tunnel so it would give us greater bandwidth than we would have without the VPN.

    Does anyone have any ideas or comments or stuff to add to this ?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Video/audio conferencing through VPN

    How are the students connected to the internet? Dialup, cable modem, DSL? Most likely, the VPN would add additional overhead of encryption, and possibly packet-fragmentation depending on the type of VPN (OpenVPN uses UDP to tunnel TCP which prevents the double-error-correction and packet fragmentation issues with tunneling TCP protocols over a TCP-based VPN, and therefore may be faster than some traditional VPN solutions unless they are also UDP based), on top of whatever the (probably limited) speed of the student's internet connection. If the ISP really does filter content types specifically to keep video bandwidth low or other usages high, it may have some impact, but generally video is so demanding that home connections aren't fast enough to handle very high quality streaming video. It's one of the reasons video compression codecs are being developed all the time to try and get better video out over lower-bandwitdh links.

    As far as I know, you would have to verify with the ISP that VPN bandwidth would be given higher priority than unencrypted video, and then you have to balance whether the encryption and tunneling overhead of the VPN can be handled by the client and server computers without slowing down at that point. But that's something the ISP would have to answer about bandwidth in your specific case, and you would have to answer as far as VPN overhead and CPU power is concerned.

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