Large Group Teleconferencing: Techniques and Considerations

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Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Internet Computing, Las Vegas, NV, USA, June .

Much work has focused on the problems of small group communication and of one-to-many broadcast, while issues in large scale interactive networked teleconferences have received less attention. In this paper, we consider the problems inherent in conducting large scale conferences: teleconferences with hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of active participants. The lessons learnt from our design for a digital amphitheater – a system based on active agents, where about one hundred remote participants can conference together – are discussed. In that system we successfully overcame end system limitations by off-loading some processing into the network, thus creating parallelism and reducing the bottleneck inherent in the serial nature of the hosts managing each display. We expand on this architecture, further exploring parallelism by pushing functions from individual end systems, to clusters and the network, with the aim of scaling to thousands of users.

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