TrueConf vs Vidyo Infrastracture Comparison

Alina Krukova
March 27, 2014
Alina Krukova
Categories: Reviews

Trueconf vs Vidyo

We often get requests from IT specialists and system integrators to tell about the key differences between solutions by TrueConf and Vidyo.

Indeed, both companies have a similar approach in increasing capacity of video conferencing servers (so called MCU) by using the latest technologies, including scalable video coding (SVC), and by avoiding unnecessary transcoding and mixing of the video streams on the server. In other words, both solutions use switching video conferencing architecture compared to legacy MCUs with mixing and transcoding. System’s capacity and scalability are limited only by the network’s bandwidth not by CPU or DSP calculation power.

In first part of our comparison we will address infrastructure differences between TrueConf and Vidyo. We hope that it will help you to better understand the current offerings on the video conferencing market.

What TrueConf and Vidyo Have in Common

MCU server SVC server

These two pictures look alike at the first glance: they both shows the same functionality, but principles on which they are built differ radically. These features, as we believe, belong to video conferencing systems of current and future generations.

Let’s start with the general, but the most important features that distinguish TrueConf and Vidyo from Polycom/Cisco/LifeSize/Radvision/ClearOne/Huawei/ZTE or other standard based legacy VC solutions.

1. Both solutions utilize their own proprietary protocols: based on UDP, in the case of Vidyo, and based on TCP, in case of TrueConf. Why we chose TCP, you may ask? The answer is simple: it’s easier to get through a Firewall/NAT/Proxy, it also needs just one TCP port (4307) to be opened; but most important it allows us to adjust video streams to changing network conditions almost instantly delivering great network resiliency.

2. Interoperability with third-party equipment including standard based legacy video conferencing solutions requires a gateway that converts streams from one protocol to another. At the same time video and audio streams are not always necessary to transcode from one codec to another.

3. Both solutions are NOT engaged in decoding, resizing and mixing of several video streams into one during group video conferences. They don’t need a transcoding, which requires a lot of processing power and causes high upfront costs as it happen when classic MCUs are deployed.

On the contrary, they use modern video codecs extensions and algorithms that support scalable video coding, which allow you to do the same conversion of video streams without high CPU/DSP load on the server, where final layout is composed on endpoint from multiple video streams. This approach is usually called Switching.

4. Paragraph 3 also explains an extraordinary ability of these systems to deliver video streams optimized for channel capacity, screen, camera and CPU capabilities of each individual participant and it’s layout. And all of this is achieved by simple drop of data packets in the network flows without any significant computations on the server side.

5. Without transcoding, the video conferencing server does not cause any delays in the communication session.

Gordon Moore

You can thank specialists in data compression and algorithms, and, of course, Gordon Moore’s law for such dramatic changes in the world of video conferencing.

As a result, the system requirements for Switching servers are significantly lower than for the MCU-like ones. What is more important the end user will not see any difference in quality between them. Moreover, the cost of video conferencing infrastructure lowers by reducing the cost of server itself, shorter deployment period, using desktops and mobiles as terminals, and relatively simple scalability.

Difference in Ideology

The first thing to understand is that Vidyo sells hardware devices, despite the fact that they use ordinary PCs to build them. For customers who got used to deal with legacy products made by Cisco/Polycom this is a more familiar approach, but in terms of technology there is no need to complicate things up and ship hardware any more.

TrueConf video conferencing solutions are 100% software, which can be downloaded from our website with free trial available. Even our TrueConf Terminal for meeting rooms can be purchased as a software license and assembled with any peripheral equipment. We do not make the problem more difficult – everything is as simple as possible and we will provide the details later in this article.

You can only test Vidyo through the Internet by connecting to a local service provider or reseller’s Vidyo infrastructure. You will not be able to test Vidyo solution in “action” in your private network conditions until you buy yourself a set of hardware.

Infrastructure Comparison

VidyoConf Portfolio
© www.vidyo.com photo
TrueConf Server Infrastructure

The schemes clearly show that both solutions work with various terminals on different protocols. But in case of Vidyo, you need to pay attention to the fact that the basic video conferencing functionality is done by device called VidyoRouter. Additional features, such as a gateway, which is required to connect to solutions based on other protocols, recording, NAT traversal features require purchasing and deployment of additional hardware.

On the other hand, these modules are already included as a part of TrueConf Server software. You will not have to expand video conferencing infrastructure, wait for the delivery of equipment or customize it. Everything is installed and ready to use immediately after the launch. TrueConf Server deployment time in the local network takes several minutes.

You can see a comparative table of tasks for which Vidyo solutions require increased investment in infrastructure, while increasing its complexity:

VidyoRouter

  • 1U Rack mount.
  • Up to 150 concurrent connections in XL version.
  • Virtualization: VidyoRouter VE for VMware® ESXi™.
TrueConf Server

  • Can be installed on any compatible PC
  • Up to 2000 concurrent connections per instance.
  • Compatible with any virtual platforms that can run Microsoft Windows Server.
VidyoPortal (device is sold separately)

  • System management via web browser.
  • Conferences scheduling.
  • Management for users groups, tenants and polices.
  • LDAP / Active Directory integration
  • Personal area for users to host and join conferences.
Built-in Web Manager

  • All settings can be securely accessed and managed remotely via browser
  • Conferences scheduling and management.
  • Users groups, polices and multi-tennacy supported.
  • LDAP / AD supported as well
  • Users can use client apps for Windows, Linux, OS X, Android and iOS to create Ad-hoc conferences.

Learn more →

VidyoGateway (device is sold separately)

  • Gateway for connecting to H.323/SIP devices.
  • Supports single 720p connection.
  • Up to 2x 1080p or up to 5x 720p connections per device in XL version.
Built-in Multi Gateway

  • Up to 10x HD 720p connections via SIP per each TrueConf Server instance*.
  • Support RTSP protocol used in IP-cameras.
  • Communicate natively with WebRTC peers via VP8 SVC.
  • Can host multi-protocol video conferences, eg. Native + WebRTC + SIP.
  • H.323 is coming soon.

Learn more →

VidyoReplay (device is sold separately)

  • Video conference recording.
  • Webcast of video conferences (one-way communication).
Included in TrueConf Server

  • Recording is available in client applications and on the server side.
  • WebRTC client can be used for streaming.
VidyoWeb (browser plug-in)

  • Requires installation of a plug-in for the corresponding browser on the client side.
  • Collaboration features and content sharing available.
  • Video resolution up to HD 720p.
Built-in WebRTC Support

  • Plugin-free web-based video conferences in browser.
  • Can display content as video in a mixed layout.
  • VP8 SVC powered mixed video up to 720p.

* Higher system requirements may apply.

In the second part of our review we will focus on Vidyo and TrueConf client applications / terminals and licensing aspects and make a conclusion of what we found in our review.