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Cisco TelePresence Room Design

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Cisco Press.
  • Date: Jun 17, 2009.

Chapter Description

This chapter covers the spatial, aesthetic, environmental, and technical requirements for designing a space so that Cisco Telepresence participants can focus 100 percent of their attention on the people they meet with and the meeting content, and experience most of the same emotional and psychological interactions that occur when people meet face-to-face.

Network Connectivity

Cisco TelePresence systems use a unique multiplexing technique so that even though there are multiple codecs, cameras, microphones, speakers, displays, and auxiliary accessories, the entire system requires a single Category 5e or Category 6, Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Gigabit Ethernet port to attach it to the network. These topics are covered in detail in Chapter 3, "TelePresence Audio and Video Technologies," and Chapter 4, "Connecting TelePresence Systems."

In addition to the single Gigabit Ethernet port required by the TelePresence system, network connectivity must also be provided for the participants, who might want to bring laptop computers into the meeting. There are two ways to accommodate this:

  • Built-in Ethernet and Power Receptacles
  • Providing 802.11 wireless Ethernet coverage within the TelePresence room

First, for Cisco TelePresence systems that provide integrated furniture, such as the CTS-3000 and CTS-3200 models, Ethernet and power receptacles are provided as built into the table legs. Note that these Ethernet ports do not connect to the back of the primary codec. Instead, a separate Ethernet switch (sold separately) must be provided to terminate all these Ethernet ports and then attach upstream to the network. A 1RU high and 19-inch (48.26 centimeters) wide mounting bracket is provided with the CTS-3000 and CTS-3200 that provides a convenient location for the Ethernet switch to be rack-mounted to the back of the system, and a second Category 5e or Category 6, Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Gigabit Ethernet port must be provided for this switch to uplink to the network.

When using this method, follow two important guidelines:

  • For acoustic purposes, the Ethernet switch you choose must generate as little ambient noise as possible.
  • This switch should provide a software feature set that meets your organization's requirements and policies for LAN security, quality of service (QoS), and manageability.

Finding this combination of features in an Ethernet switch can be difficult. On the one hand, low-cost, fanless Ethernet switches might not provide adequate security and management functions. On the other hand, a Cisco Catalyst switch with the appropriate enterprise class feature set might be too loud. At the time of writing, Cisco TelePresence Technical Marketing identified the following models of Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series switches as the most suitable for use with a CTS-3000 or CTS-3200 model system:

  • Cisco Catalyst 2960G-8TC-L with RCKMNT-19-CMPCT=
  • Cisco Catalyst 2960-8TC-L with RCKMNT-19-CMPCT=

Because new switch products are always coming out, you should check with Cisco for the latest recommendations.

The second method you can use is to deploy an 802.11 wireless Ethernet solution within the room. Chances are high that a customer deploying TelePresence will already have an 802.11 solution deployed, so this is the ideal way to do it, not only because it's silent, but also because it's generally easier to secure a wireless network and provide differentiated access for guest users versus regular employees. Within the Cisco internal deployment of TelePresence, this has been the method of choice. The Ethernet ports in the table legs are left physically disconnected, and wireless is provided to all users. In addition to providing reliable and secure access to Cisco employees, guestnet access is provided to customers and other guests. The guestnet provides them with a connection that is outside the corporate firewall and quarantined from the rest of the internal network.

In summary, each Cisco TelePresence system requires either two Ethernet ports (one for the system and one for the participant access switch) on the wall located behind the system, or one Ethernet port with wireless network access for the participants.

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