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05 - A Global Experimental Web Conferencing Service for R and E

Valter Roesler (UFRGS), Leonardo Crauss Daronco (UFRGS), Daniela Brauner (RNP), Felipe Cecagno (UFRGS), André Marins (RNP), Iara Machado (RNP), Michael Stanton (RNP / UFF)

The objective of this paper is to promote a discussion about the creation of a global experimental web conferencing service for R&E. The main idea is that all NRENs and R and E institutions collaborate in a Global Web conferencing Service Model powered by Mconf.

MConf is an open source Web conferencing system that enables the creation of a distributed and scalable network of Web conferencing servers. Mconf is based on BigBlueButton (http://bigbluebutton.org)technology and MConf architecture [Roesler et al., 2012], resumed on Figure 1, which enables the separation in two distinct levels: Mconf-Web access portals and Mconf-Live Web conferencing servers.

Each NREN can contribute to the network in three ways: a) make available at least one Mconf-Live server to strengthen the global network; b) create their own NREN web portal to serve as the access point to their users; c) help in the debate to improve the model. The development of Mconf technology is supported by RNP, the Brazilian Research and Education Network [RNP, 2013], as a R&D project since 2011. During 2013, RNP deployed an experimental service [MConf RNP, 2013] to prepare for future replacement of its current Web Conference service.

The proposed initial steps to the creation of this global collaboration webconference network are:

 Form a committee between the interested NRENs and R&E institutions to discuss the model, its governance, support model, SLAs and any other issues that could be relevant in this context, ex.: software evolution.

 The installation of at least one Mconf-Live server in the interested NREN or institution.

The advantages of this model are:
The NREN or institution do not need to worry about issues of availability, demand peaks or load capacity of its server, since demand peaks will be supplied by the collaboration network. In fact, as more MConf-Live servers exists, the stronger the network becomes:

a) the network will support more simultaneous users;

b) if a server fails, another server will maintain the availability of the service;

c) the system supports “peaks” of traffic, since there is a concentrated demand in an institution, its users will be distributed across multiple servers, and vice versa;

d) the global model is efficient, because when it is night in one side of the globe, it is day in the other, then the network capacity is multiplied.

 With Mconf it is possible to users accessing the Global Services via each NREN institutional portal or via other web portals, like institutional Moodle for example;

 MConf is Shibboleth compliant. In Brazil, it is authenticating RNP users through CAFe (http://portal.rnp.br/web/servicos/cafe

So, let’s start an experimental R&E global webconferencing service?

Join us: mconf-global@googlegroups.com

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