Posts in Category "Seminars"

Behind the Curtain: Making Multiple Connect Meetings or Seminars Appear as One

On those occasions when a Meeting invitation may attract more participants than expected or planned for at the last minute so that you are unable to increase Seminar capacity in a timely manner, a skilled host can use two or more Connect Meeting rooms and project them to participants as though it were one room as an emergency workaround. Here is a basic outline of how to split a large meeting onto multiple servers. It is prudent to not just have more than one Meeting in these cases, but also to make sure each Meeting is hosted on a separate server in a cluster to add robustness to the meeting. Load-balancing is a wonderful thing and you should always use it to its fullest.

Assume an example of a three-server cluster/pool of Connect servers and that you want to split a Connect Meeting onto all three servers; a simple 3-server cluster is depicted here to use as an example:

C9SSLCluster3Simple

For a working example, let’s place a Connect Meeting room hosted on each server; to do this you will need three separate URLs: One URL for each 1/3rd  of your attendees. Getting the attendees distributed among the three rooms can be tricky. One effective technique is to either send out three different invitations, with each targeting 1/3rd of your audience and each offering a different URL, or just point everyone to a page with  all three URLs and request/instruct the participants to alphabetically arrange themselves in subsets of users by URL selection. That way it is not random; I have seen this technique work fine; here are sample meeting URLs based on our picture above:

http://connect.domain.com/splitmeeting1
http://connect.domain.com/splitmeeting2
http://connect.domain.com/splitmeeting3

To make certain the each meeting is hosted on a separate server (rather than all three on one as load-balancing could easily prescribe), it will either require some effort to keep entering and leaving the room until your meeting lands on the server you want.

The way to tell which server you are on is simple: In any meeting room click Help and while holding down the shift key click About Adobe Connect. This will pop up an RTMP string that will identify the server that Meeting is hosted on and also which server a client is coming through as each client can be using multiple servers (just to add not only to the complexity, but also the overall robustness).

Here is what the RTMP strings might look like for each of the three servers in our simple example above ( I am inserting some URL parameters from a hosted meeting as I write this in order to create our hypothetical example RTMP strings – rtmp://arfms3.adobeconnect.com:1935/?rtmp://pcparapp07:8506/meetingas3app/89676385/630888204/)

rtmps:// connectmtg01.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp01:8506/meetingas1app/847483075/1086833045/
rtmps:// connectmtg02.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp02:8506/meetingas2app/847483076/1086833046/
rtmps:// connectmtg03.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp03:8506/meetingas3app/847483077/1086833047/

The first name in the string (connectmtg0#) is the built-in Connect Edge server and the second name (connapp0#)  is the Connect origin server  hosting the meeting (each Connect servers runs both AMS/FMS and Tomcat together). The second name is the important one for our technique of splitting the attendees onto separate meeting servers.

In the hypothetical RTMP string samples above, I have made these artificially neat and tidy, the truth is that the first part of the string can be any of the three for any meeting participant regardless of the application server hosting the meeting. For example, you could come in to connapp01 through connectmtg03 – any combination is possible. Load balancing is done at more than one level as Connect leverages both a hardware-based load-balancing device and also its own internal clustering capabilities; combinations for various clients (including the hosts and presenters) in our example cluster depicted  above might include:

rtmps:// connectmtg01.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp02:8506/meetingas2app/847483076/1086833046/
rtmps:// connectmtg02.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp02:8506/meetingas2app/847483076/1086833046/
rtmps:// connectmtg01.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp03:8506/meetingas3app/847483077/1086833047/
rtmps:// connectmtg03.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp03:8506/meetingas3app/847483077/1086833047/
rtmps:// connectmtg02.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp01:8506/meetingas1app/847483075/1086833045/
rtmps:// connectmtg03.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp01:8506/meetingas1app/847483075/1086833045/

The key to remember is that the second name is the one that matters; a distribution of participants approximating 1/3rd on each server is the goal targeting: connapp01, connapp02 and connapp03. After this is set-up, the pre-meeting preparation part is complete (this should be done at least one hour prior to the meeting).

Next comes the creative hosting venture during the split meeting: As the host, you will need all three meetings open in front of you to manage them as one. From the perspective of the participants, there is only one meeting (ignore the host behind the curtain). Be sure to hide the Attendee List Pod in the Presenter-only area as it will only present those participants in that specific Connect Meeting thereby allowing a peek behind the curtain or misrepresenting the size of the entire three meeting combination.

And here is where the techniques are very much up to you:

  • Splitting video among the three rooms is possible using a third-party option, one we have used successfully is: Splitcam.com.
  • For audio, if using integrated audio, be sure to use the same integrated telephony number for all three rooms.
  • If using VoIP, then allow one speaker only at a time to send audio via VoIP.

Some ways in which you can limit the amount of data being processed in your room and to improve the overall performance of these sessions are:

  • Optimize room bandwidth to DSL, regardless of your setting. In a Connect Meeting, at the top of the screen click on MEETING > Room Performance and Appearance > Optimize Room Bandwidth > DSL
  • Turn off cameras whenever they are not in use.
  • When in use, multiple cameras should probably be set to SLOW images (depending on how many and other variables).
  • Turn off VoIP if not talking.
  • Participants should directly connect to the fastest internet connection available and be on a dedicated DSL connection, at a minimum.
  • No clients or hosts on wireless – allow no exceptions.
  • Shut down Email, instant messaging, and any programs NOT being used for the presentation.
  • Shut down any VPNs as a VPN will potentially destroy the possibility for success.

When large Connect Meetings or Seminars become commonplace in your enterprise, this cumbersome workaround quickly becomes impractical and you should increase your Seminar or Webinar licensed capacity as needed to avoid this complexity and manual work. With that said however, this technique will work in a bind and will provide a robust Connect Meeting experience for a very large audience even if it challenges a seasoned Connect Meeting host.

Estimating Bandwidth Consumption in Connect Meetings:

Estimating bandwidth consumption in Connect 9.x Meetings using:

The following tables may be used for estimating the amount of bandwidth that will be required for a Connect Meeting based on the features used.

Screen Share:

Screen Share Frame Rate Quality Bandwidth
(kbps)
Low 2 65 500
Medium 4 80 800
Standard 6 90 1200
High 8 100 2000

VoIP:

With reference to VoIP, it is independent of any settings. There is no metric comparable to frame rate or quality or bandwidth with VoIP;  a single metric of micRate is used. Currently we use following values:

Number of VoIP users Without UV With UV
<4 22 kHz 22 kHz
>=4 11 kHz 8 kHz

Note: In a simple test during which a song was played via VoIP for a single user, up bandwidth consumed was 44 kbps when the number of VoIP users was < 4.

Webcam video:

Webcam Video Frame Rate Resolution Quality Bandwidth
(kbps)
Normal Widescreen
Low 4 160×120 214×120 70 200
Medium 4 320×240 427×240 70 300
Standard 8 320×240 427×240 70 300
High 20 640×480 854×480 90 600

Large Seminar Sessions need to be scheduled 45 minutes before start of Session

In Adobe Connect 9.5 Seminar sessions need to be scheduled 45 minute(s) prior to the start time of large seminars to allow for implementing > 600 participants (license purchased for Webinar 1000 Managers)

9.5-SeminarSession

Instant sessions created from the large seminar room will only allow < 600 participants

9.5SeminarSessions

Previously with 9.4, the expected number of participants had to be selected in order to distinguish between regular Seminar Sessions (up to 600 Participants) and large Seminar Sessions (> 600 Participants)

Regular Sessions

This option is no longer listed with 9.5 since we now have dedicated webinar servers to accommodate large seminar licenses for both standby mode and scheduled sessions.

Attendee Pod in large Seminar appears in Presenter Only Area

In Adobe Connect 9.5, large Seminars (license purchased for Webinar 1000 Managers) are now by default launched on the Webinar Server (both in stand by mode and session scheduled)

Attendee Pod is functional only in “Presenter Only Area

AttendeePodListedEdited
Attendee Pod is NOT functional in “main meeting/seminar room area

AttendeePod

 (For reference only),

rtmps://na12wbn2.adobeconnect.com:443/?rtmp://PACNA12WBN02:8506/meetingas3app/1280557514/1424793651/

9.5 Large Seminar Attendee Pod

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of this functionality

  • To conserve bandwidth and CPU load
  • Highly recommended when anticipating over 100 participants (drop down listing of participants viewed only by hosts/presenters)

Previously, with the 9.4 release, the Attendee List Pod was functional for large seminars only in the stand by mode (< 600 participants) when launched on FMS (Meeting server) and NOT on the Webinar Server

(For reference only),

rtmps://na12fms1.adobeconnect.com:443/?rtmp://PACNA12APP03:8506/meetingas3app/1280557514/1424426402/

9.4 LargeSeminar

 

Moving Meeting Rooms to User Seminars Folder

In Adobe Connect 9.5, Meeting Hosts now have the ability to move normal Adobe Connect Meetings into their own User Seminars folder if they are part of a Named Webinar Manager group.

Previously, with the 9.4 release, we added new Seminar licensing called ‘Named Webiner Managers’. This essentially gives users in that new group, the ability to create and manage their own Seminar rooms (under their User Seminars folder).   In Adobe Connect 9.5, if you are a Named Webinar Manager and you are in the Meeting Hosts group and want to move one or more of your Meetings from your My Meetings folder (User Meetings > {username}) or the Shared Meetings folder to your individual User Seminars folder, you can now do this in the UI.

move

You will notice the new link location for User Seminars in the Move functionality.

Seminar Extensions after Connect 9.3

Beginning with Connect 9.1.1, Connect Seminar extensions in session beyond the initially scheduled time were 30 minutes and then another 30 minutes and then an additional 10 minutes provided there was not a conflict with another scheduled Seminar. Beginning with Connect 9.3, this has changed; the new in-session Seminar extension options are now unlimited as long as there is not a conflicting scheduled Seminar under the same Seminar license. If there is another scheduled Seminar that is in conflict, then you will only get a 10 minute warning before your Seminar ends, but if there is not a conflicting Seminar then this interactive pop up will allow the Seminar host to extend the Seminar:

force-extend-seminar

Connect on-premise: Seminar licenses show as expired following an upgrade to version 9.3.1

Some customers may run into this issue following an upgrade from Connect 9.0.0.1 to 9.3.1 if you use seminar licenses.

After the successful upgrade all seminar licenses show as expired. Re-applying the license file in the console does not help and you see the following message in the debug.log:

[03-03 13:41:48,526] http-80-24 (ERROR) Exception caught in DBRows.populate(), e=java.sql.SQLException: [Macromedia][SQLServer JDBC Driver][SQLServer]Ambiguous column name ‘DATE_END’.
[03-03 13:41:48,527] http-80-24 (INFO) 1ms spid:64 com.macromedia.airspeed.db.SQLServerUtilityQueries.setIsolationLevel(Disable Isolation)
[03-03 13:41:48,527] http-80-24 (ERROR) Exception thrown
java.sql.SQLException: [Macromedia][SQLServer JDBC Driver][SQLServer]Ambiguous column name ‘DATE_END’.
at macromedia.jdbc.sqlserverbase.ddcg.b(Unknown Source)
at macromedia.jdbc.sqlserverbase.ddcg.a(Unknown Source)
at macromedia.jdbc.sqlserverbase.ddcf.b(Unknown Source)

[…]

To resolve this, run the following query on your database to change the SQL compatibility level:

sp_dbcmptlevel ‘breeze’, 90

If your Connect database is named something other than “breeze”, then put the correct name of the database in the query.

Now re-install your license file one more time.

 

This is also the solution to a related issue: http://blogs.adobe.com/connectsupport/licensed-after-upgrading-to-connect-9-1-exception-occurs-when-clicking-on-meeting-tab/

Please contact Support if you still encounter issues.

Stop Sharing Button On IE Is Not Available Any More.

Description : We use to get this button on IE when we share the screen.

StopSharinghowever now this button is no longer available.

Reason being it interfaces with the DWM (Glass effect of windows 7+).

DWM : Stands for Desktop Window Manager Click here

We used to support Windows XP which had no Glass effect and thus it was not a problem. On windows 7 we used to switch the DWM off before starting the screen share. Window 8 onwards the DWM cannot be programmatically switched off and thus this button was causing problems. Many applications change the Glass area and IE is one of them. Others include Chrome, FireFox, Office etc. In case the applications change the Glass area then it’s a matter of timing to Display the button or the custom title bar the application draws.

This was actually a bug 2943337 due to which the button

StopSharing

Intermittently disappears. The bug is only reproducible with the applications which have custom title bars. Ex. Real Player/Office Apps/Live messenger and media players. With the Office 2007 applications the title bar is custom drawn and thus it intermittently draws over the button and it disappears. This only happens with skinned title bars, Skinned apps try to redraw their title bars so button disappears until we redraw again.

The “Red Button” never worked for 64 bit processes. This will also not work for any apps which have skinned title bar as i said earlier. Moreover this feature will not work if the process in question is sandboxed (Acrobat for example).

Yes downgrading IE will help probably but it’s not something we can recommend in good faith as it will expose the users to all kinds of security bugs. (Not recommended)

o    Windows 8 and onwards the button is not even an option as DWM can’t be switched off by programs programmatically and the button itself has issues when DWM is on

o    As of today this button has been disabled permanently.

Hope this helps those users who are expecting the red buttons on their IE when sharing the Application or Windows and not desktop using Adobe Connect Meeting Room,

Thanks,

Empowering Your Seminar Hosts to Create Seminar Rooms

The question comes up on occasion, “Why can’t my Seminar Hosts create seminar rooms?”

The answer is that they have been affected by an intermittent bug, which we realize may cause some confusion, if not chagrin. There is a workaround available, which we’ve outlined below.

Workaround:

As an Administrator, create a typical account with Meeting and Seminar Host permissions (as a test):

sem

Log in with that account and this is what you may see in the Shared Seminars directory. There is no ability to create a Seminar and the Seminar license is not viewable:

sem1

If you switch back to the administrative account log-in, you will see the Seminar license sub-directories:

sem2

sem3

Resetting the permissions on the Seminar license sub-folder using the to “Reset to Parent” button in the Connect Central GUI has no effect on the permissions. You must manually add the folder permissions to the Seminar license sub-folder instead of using the “Reset to Parent” option:

sem4

Once the Seminar license sub-folder permissions are manually edited, the Seminar Host is able to view and manage the Seminars including the ability to create new Seminar rooms under the Seminar license sub-folder:

sem5

The workaround is very easy so this is a low priority bug and we will address it in a future release. At the time of the writing this tech-note, the shipping Connect release is 9.3.1.d.

Troubleshooting Microphone and Camera Issues in Connect Meetings

When both the web camera and the microphone do not work in an Adobe Connect Meeting, it is often caused by a restriction setting in the mms.cfg file.

The mms.cfg file it is found in the following directories:

  • Windows 32: C:/Windows/system32/Macromed/Flash (32-bit Windows)
  • Windows 64: C:/Windows/SysWOW64/Macromed/Flash (64-bit Windows)
  • MAC: MainDisk:Library:Application Support:Macromedia

Renaming or deleting the mms.cfg to mms.old is one way to solve the issue, but often it is more prudent (less intrusive) to edit the file. Open the mms.cfg in any text editor and look for the line:

AVHardwareDisable

Delete the setting AVHardwareDisable from mms.cfg and save the file. This setting deliberately prevents the Meeting SWF from gaining access to cameras and microphones on the Meeting client.