Posts in Category "Seminars"

Safeguarding the Newly Edited State of a Connect Meeting

Environment : Hosted, ACMS, Managed ISP and On-premise

Hosts should select the End Meeting menu option instead of clicking the “x” in the upper right of the Meeting Addin or browser at the conclusion of a Meeting in order to insure the state of the Meeting is immediately saved and the Meeting processes terminated.

When a Meeting Host deliberately ends a Connect Meeting using the Meeting room Meeting menu option as depicted, the Meeting room state is saved and the supporting Meeting processes are ended.

endmeet-fw

If the Meeting Host ends the Meeting by clicking on Meeting >End Meeting menu option then the Meeting session is ended for all the users in that Meeting room; users will get a message stating that the meeting has ended. This action triggers the Connect server to save the state of Meeting and end the supporting processes. This is a safe and tidy way to manage Meetings; it ensures that the meeting is ready for next session along with all the content which was added during the previous session.

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Alternatively, if a Meeting Host closes the Meeting room by clicking the “x” in the upper right side of the Meeting Addin or browser, then the Meeting will remain active until all users have left the Meeting room before closing. The Meeting will wait for up to 12 hours before timing out and closing the Meeting room if participants keep open any Addin or browser sessions in the Meeting room. Keeping a Meeting open this long runs some inevitable risks to the recently edited current state of a prolonged Meeting.

Note: If there are multiple Meeting Hosts, any host leaving prior to others may choose to Exit Adobe Connect as well:

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Connect 9.5 Bandwidth Utilization Estimates Illustrated

Introduction:

Adobe Connect bandwidth utilization will vary based on use case. Variables such as Meeting size, Connect features employed, disposition of clients and type of Connect server hosting, all have an effect on the network bandwidth utilized and as well as on where the bandwidth on a network will be most affected.

This article focuses on bandwidth and not on latency: Latency and bandwidth are different topics that are often confused or inappropriately lumped together. Although in some cases there may be a correlation between bandwidth and latency as when exceeding available bandwidth will drive up latency, nevertheless, the relationship between them is often inappropriately overstated. Bandwidth refers to the size of the network pipe while latency refers to the speed over the network or the time it takes for the data to travel. Connect clients with excess bandwidth may still experience latency with Connect for reasons unrelated to bandwidth such as network distance, transmission errors, resource performance (server, DB or client), maintenance schedules and imposed constraints such as QoS or blocking the RTMPS protocol and thereby forcing inefficient tunneling of RTMPS encapsulated in HTTPS.

Resources:

For information on latency see the following articles:

Tunneling with RTMP encapsulated in HTTP (RTMPT) should be avoided as it causes latency

Connect Meeting RTMP VS/VIPs on Load-Balancers

Adobe Connect Database Performance and Monitoring

 Connect on VMWare – some deployment tips

Below are some references on the topic of Connect bandwidth; these are often referred to as a general guide; the examples sited later in this article however are from baseline testing described herein:

Estimating Bandwidth Consumption in Connect Meetings

Best Practices for Adobe Connect

Adobe Connect best practices for large events and seminars

VoIP Bandwidth and Microphones

The Connect Cluster:

The context of the Connect bandwidth utilization is important and should be included among pre-deployment architectural considerations when rolling out Connect. There are basically two primary Adobe Connect deployment models for consideration: In the cloud and on-premise. The disposition of the clients attending the meeting has an effect where the on the network bandwidth will be utilized for any Connect Meetings or Webinars. To support these two broad deployment paradigms of cloud or local on-premise, there are three basic Adobe Connect licensing models.

  1. Adobe Connect Multi-tenancy Hosted
  2. Adobe Connect Managed Services (ACMS) single domain hosting
  3. Adobe Connect On-Premise licensed single domain

Note: An Adobe Connect on-premise license need not only be deployed within the customer’s LAN infrastructure. Adobe Connect Partners offer Managed ISP hosting options and an on-premise license deployment can be cloud-based as well.

Cloud or LAN:

For the purposes of considering the relationship of bandwidth to architecture, an Adobe Connect cloud-based deployment and an on-premise deployment within a customer’s LAN present different concerns with reference to the disposition of bandwidth rather than with the specific license type.

Primary differences with reference to bandwidth when comparing cloud-based Connect server clusters with on-premise based Connect server architecture is with the handling of external clients and the direction of the network traffic. There will be less internal network traffic on the LAN when external users (with possible lower-impact exceptions such an SSO server) remain external. Note that VPN users in remote offices are considered internal users.

See the following diagrams comparing a 2-server cloud-based cluster with a 2-server on-premise cluster hosted on a customer LAN. Both assume the need for internal and external users to participate in Meetings.

Cloud-based:

With a cloud deployment, the external users have little or  no impact on the internal LAN of the Connect account owner. The biggest bandwidth hit is at the cloud-based hosting facility. The primary concerns for the Connect owner’s IT will be routing RTMPS around third-party proxy servers and making sure client profiles and other internal restriction, limitations and constraints do not prevent or enervate Connect usage:

two-server-cloud

LAN-based:

With a LAN-based on premise deployment, internal Connect users will normally have great performance on the average corporate back-plane by avoiding any mitigating and often unpredictable WAN variables. External users may be hosted on a reverse proxy Connect Edge server in the local DMZ to meet security requirements. All external traffic is terminated in the DMZ where the remote Edge server does all the heavy lifting. The Edge connections to the internal cluster consolidate the external connections and reduce the overall internal impact of external users by limiting them to the external firewall and DMZ:

EdgeDMZAbbrev

Connect Meeting Features and Bandwidth:

Screen-sharing and the use of multiple live web cameras are the two most bandwidth intensive activities in any Connect Meeting or Webinar. The latter requires that a Meeting Host or Presenter project the client screen up to the Connect servers and then back down to each user in the Meeting. The more users with cameras, the more upload and download activity.

The features employed in any Connect Meeting determine the amount of bandwidth utilized.  Depending on the Connect use case, you could use between 5 to 10 Mbps per 100 participants. These general rules apply:

    • The typical average is 50 kbps per user
    • It depends on what Connect Meeting users are doing
    • For example, on the high end one client measured regularly uses 20 Mbps for 150 users in a Connect Meeting room.
    • More typically there is a max of 100 Mbps at the firewall (outgoing, incoming is never that high)
    • With just over 1000 users a safe estimate is < 100kbps per user totaling 12 MB
    • 5 Mbps per 100 is the low average (or 6MB per 1000 users using best practices for large Webinars).
    • Things like video and screen sharing tend to use more bandwidth
    • A one-to-many broadcast of an uploaded PowerPoint deck uses less bandwidth
      • PPTX should always be uploaded to the Meeting room
      • Do not present a PPTX using screen-sharing as it wastes bandwidth

Bandwidth Utilization Use Case Baseline Tests:

The following tests corroborate these guidelines listed above and offer a model to test bandwidth utilization for any Meeting or Webinar use case; it is prudent to do these type of tests with your specific use Webinar case as part of your rehearsals to get accurate bandwidth utilization baselines:

First bandwidth test: I uploaded a 15.5 MB PPTX to a Connect Meeting room and advanced thru all the slides while monitoring the download stream to each client; the average for each client was 50 kilobits; see below:

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Second bandwidth test: I then tested with a camera pod set to the highest quality and wide screen option: Meeting>Preferences>Video; see my host camera settings below:

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The average download stream at each client when I had the camera pod sized small in the upper corner of the meeting while flipping slides was under 200 kbps (kilobits); The host screen capture below corroborates; my host client in the Connect addin is pushing 121 kilobits up to the server; see below:

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The average when I expanded the camera pod and moved around create some activity on screen (waving etc.) was 300kbps download streaming to each client; see below my upload from host client to server is 381 kbps; see below (wow- my hair is getting thin):

cambndwdthlrgtrun

Third bandwidth test: I then tested screen-sharing a slide deck from my desktop to simulate application sharing live demonstrations and found a significant variance based on the screen resolution of the host sharing the screen:

  • Host screen-sharing at 1920×1080 resulted in an average  download to each participant of 700 kbps
  • Host screen-sharing at 1288×768 resulted in an average download to each participant of 200 kbps
  • The participant experience was very similar. I see no reason to waste the bandwidth on the higher host screen-resolution: Lower screen resolution resulting in very economical bandwidth utilization while sharing the screen
  • See the bandwidth indicator while I share my screen flipping through multiple jpegs at 1288×768. I am pushing up 338 kbps to the Connect server while actively changing jpeg images on a second monitor that I am sharing.

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Fourth bandwidth test: Video – I created an mp4 using the following settings: Appropriate quality settings are a major variable determining the amount of bandwidth used and the playback experience of mp4 video in Connect:

  • I used: H.264, 720×404, Frame Rate 30, bitrate CBR, target rate 1Mbps, Key Frame Dist 90.
  • Best practice encoding for video in Connect imperative: Rehearsal and testing of any Video used is prudent prior to any Meeting or Webinar. It is easy to test playback experience and bandwidth consumption per client participant. Note also here (in the highlighted bandwidth indicator) how my remote office client experiences some latency albeit manageable  (595kbps down) that not affect the video playback experience – no choppiness at all watching the pups wrestle (the Jack-Russell ends up winning although this capture shows him as the underdog):

video

Bandwidth Utilization Use Cases:

Using the baselines from these tests, here is a list of potential use cases from a recent customer inquiry with the predicted overall account-wide bandwidth usage estimates running Connect 9.5.

Case 1: A 1500 user seminar room with a PowerPoint and a desktop share:

Estimate: 1500 users x 50 kilobits each for the PPTX use case =75000 kilobits or 9MB. Add to that a desktop share with conservative screen-resolution (1280×768) 1500×200=300000 kilobits or 37MB. Add them together (75000+300000) for an average of 375000 kilobits or 47MB. Realistically it will be less at any given time because it is rare to simultaneously do both activites at once in a meeting. It is more common to share either flip PPTX slides or share an application thereby lowering the actual bandwidth utilized at any given time.

 Note: There is an important caveat with reference to an initial spike caused by the PPTX SWF download of 1000 kbps per client participant for a few seconds each. This affects every use case with SWF content is a share pod. Assuming 1/3 at a time as participants enter the layout with the PPTX on stage in a share pod even if downsized in a corner or hidden behind another pod, and assuming that there will not be any screen-sharing initially during the downloading: 1500/3 = 500x1000kbps for a few seconds each = 50000 kilobits or 62.5MB. A worst case spike scenario of all entering at once due to host error or a late upload due to last minute editing (this should be avoided if possible): 1500×1000=1500000 kilobits or187MB Spike for up to 10 seconds depending on latency effects on the initial SWF download. This spike may be missed in testing if you rely on the Meeting room bandwidth indicator as it may happen too fast to register; it is better measured using Wireshark on a client in the Meeting.

Case 2: A 1500 user seminar room with a PowerPoint and a 10 minute MP4 Video played:

Estimate: 1500 users x 50 kilobits each for the PPTX=75000 kilobits or 9MB. Assuming a medium quality MP4 (as discussed above) uploaded to the meeting room and meted out at an average 600 kbps per participant with intermittent spikes to 1200 kbps: 1500×1000=1500000 kilobits or187MB + 9 = 196MB while the video is being played with the PPTX still onstage visible in another pod. Note: Until the Video is played, this room is at 9MB just meting out PPTX SWFs after the initial SWF downloads are complete.

 Note: PPTX download spike variables as described in case # 1 above applies.

Case 3:  A 1500 user seminar room with a PowerPoint and two, 3 minute videos played:

Estimate: Same as case 2 above assuming that the videos are played one at a time.

Case 4: Two 1500 user seminars with just PPTs for content (uploaded to the Meeting room and not screen-sharing) and jpeg pictures for Presenter head-shots in lieu of a camera:

Estimate: 1500 users x 50 kilobits for the PPTX=75000 kilobits or 9MB x 2 seminar rooms = 18MB

 Note: Assuming the seminars will not start both at the same time and will nevertheless overlap, the brief PPTX download spike variables as described in case # 1 above applies albeit multiplied by two: 126 MB for 1/3rd and worst case of both seminars doing a last minute deck upload at the start of the Meeting: 274MB until initial SWF downloads complete. Staggering slightly the start of each seminar will mitigate the overall spike as will allowing users to trickle into a prepared room with assets on stage.

Case 5:  Two 1500 user seminars with just PPTs for content (uploaded to the Meeting room and not screen-sharing) and PPTs for headshots shared, PLUS 100 separate Connect meetings of 20 users each, with 10 of those meeting rooms sharing one web camera:

Estimate: 1500 users x 50 kilobits each for the PPTX=75000 kilobits or 9MB x 2 = 18MB, plus 90 meeting rooms with 20 users each doing the same activity, 1800×50 kilobits=90000 kilobits or 11MB, plus the 10 meetings with cameras added 10 x 20 users each x 200 kilobits=40000 kbps or 5MB; also add the upload for each camera 10 cameras x 200 kilobits =2000 kbps or .25MB. Total =.28000 kilobits or 35MB.

Note: Assuming the various meetings will be starting at different times the spike estimates for #4 above apply.

Case 6:  Two 1500 user seminars with just PPTs for content and PPTs for headshots shared, PLUS 100 separate Connect meetings of 20 users each, with 10 of those meeting rooms sharing one web camera, PLUS one 500 user seminar with a PowerPoint shared(uploaded to the Meeting room and not screen-sharing).

Estimate: Add 500 users x 50 kilobits each = 25000 kilobits or 4MB. Add this to use case 5 depicted above: 35MB+4=39MB.

Note: Assuming the various meetings will be starting at different times the spike estimates for use cases #4 and #5 above apply here.

Case 7: Two 1500 user seminars with just PPTs for content and PPTs for headshots shared,  PLUS 50 separate Connect meetings of 20 users each with 10 of those meeting rooms sharing one web camera, and one 500 seminar with just a PowerPoint shared (uploaded to Meeting room and not screen-sharing):

Estimate: 1500 users x 50 kilobits each  for the PPTX=75000 kilobits or 9MB x 2 = 18MB, plus 40 meeting without cameras x 20 users each=800x50kbps= 40000kbps or 5MB, add the 10 meetings with cameras 10 meetings x 20 users x 200 kilobits=40000 kbps or 5MB; also add the upload for each camera 10×200=2000 kbps or .25MB. Total= 232000 kilobits or 29MB.

 Note: Assuming the various meetings will be starting at different times the spike estimates for use case #4, #5 and #6 above apply.

Conclusion:

It is easy to avoid both overestimating and underestimating the bandwidth needed account-wide for Connect deployments on-premise or in the cloud. For large Webinars, a quick rehearsal with a small sample audience of external and internal users as appropriate is prudent. Best practices in large Meetings make a substantial difference in the amount of bandwidth utilized: Proper camera use, screen-sharing and video-encoding are all very important considerations.  Although it may at this point seem like a mantra, a basic best practice that so many Connect users miss is to upload a PowerPoint to the Meeting room share pod rather than use screen-sharing to run through a slide-deck. Maybe some Presenters are just overly possessive and have an innate refusal to let their work upload – whatever the reason, I will surely be in a Meeting today and some Presenter will share a PowerPoint from their desktop via screen-sharing and I will need to avert my eyes to maintain my light grasp on sanity. Used properly, Adobe Connect is the best means to deliver rich collaboration experiences while minimizing the impact on bandwidth utilization.

What Triggers the Low-bandwidth Pop-up While Screen-sharing in Connect?

Inquiring minds have asked what is the bandwidth threshold that triggers the low bandwidth toast pop-up while screen-sharing in Connect:

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The answer: We show this message when the available bandwidth (BW) drops to 1/4 of the initial BW set in the meeting. The initial BW is set based on the chosen quality setting the host picks for screen sharing under Meeting>Preferences>Screen Share Settings Quality:

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Following are the BW settings and the thresholds:

Quality Settings Bandwidth (kbps) BW toast threshold (kbps)
Low 500 125
Medium 800 200
Standard 1200 300
High 2000 500

These BW settings are the default and may be edited in the  application.xml file for on-premise customers.

Connect Meeting RTMP VS/VIPs on Load-Balancers

This article applies to on-premise Adobe Connect servers running behind hardware-based load-balancing devices or SSL accelerators.

A common cause of performance problems in Adobe Connect Meetings stems from the improper configuration of the Virtual Server (VS) Virtual IP Address (VIP) handling Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) traffic in on-premise Connect deployments.

An Adobe Connect Meeting Server is at least two servers in one (possibly more if AEM/Events and UV telephony are incorporated); it is at least always a Tomcat-based HTTP application server and an Adobe Media Server (AMS) using RTMP. The two servers are fully integrated to work together in tandem to support Adobe Connect Meetings.

The most popular load-balancing and SSL acceleration  option in the Adobe Connect on-premise enterprise is the F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM). This tech-note will illustrate the proper configuration of an RTMP VIP supporting Adobe Connect Meeting on an F5 LTM. The concepts apply to any load-balancing device and SSL accelerator.

The first thing to note is that the general configuration of a Connect server or cluster running behind an SSL accelerator or load-balancing device always requires more then one VIP. There are no exceptions to this rule and any attempts at shortcuts will result in delayed deployments and support cases. Attempts to place all traffic on a single VS/VIP are as common as they are incapacitating. General Connect cluster architecture tech-notes are here:

Adobe® Connect™ server pools/clusters and hardware-based load-balancing devices with SSL acceleration

Adobe Connect Servers and Hardware-based Load-balancing Devices

A simple diagram of an Adobe Connect server behind an F5 LTM follows; see the two VS/VIPs and Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDNs) for each on the LTM:

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Below we add a server to show a basic Connect cluster VIP configuration; see how each Connect Meeting server has its own VS/VIP while one VS/VIP servers both HTTPS application servers.

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Note: Neither of these basic diagrams depicts advanced configurations such as the integration of the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Events module. This article focuses on the performance of the Adobe Connect Meeting RTMP VIP in its basic context.

There is usually not an option for RTMP in the VIP profile of a hardware-based load-balancing device. A basic TCP profile is the correct choice. Here it is depicted on an F5 BIP-IP LTM:

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With detail:

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f5b.fw

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Note that the symptom for an improperly configured VS/VIP is either the inability to launch a Connect Meeting or excessive latency in the Meeting due to RTMP tunneling (RTMPT) encapsulated within HTTP when the RTMP VIP is blocked or inoperable.

The presence of a capitol “T” in the latency indicator of an Adobe Connect Meeting indicates tunneling as depicted in this tech-note:

Tunneling with RTMP encapsulated in HTTP (RTMPT) should be avoided as it causes latency

Further diagnosis is usually warranted by using the Connect Meeting Addin in logging mode as depicted here:

Enable Logging in the Meeting Addin

Also here:

Troubleshooting Verbose Meeting Addin Logging

When the RTMP VS/VIP profile is improperly configured, the Connect Meeting addin verbose log will show it clearly, particularly when it is compared with the server-side debug log.

Example snippet from a Connect Meeting addin verbose log:

18:51:55    16844    PLAYER_TRACE    SSL connection closed.
18:51:55    16844    PLAYER_TRACE    SSL DoSSLHandshake WaitHandshake not in ssl_active state. (State is 0.) Failing.
18:51:55    16844    PLAYER_TRACE    SSL DoSSLHandshake WaitForSocket not in ssl_active state, failing.
18:51:55    16844    PLAYER_TRACE    SSL Receive socket read error 0x0.
18:51:55    16844    ACTION_TRACE    5/10/2016 14:51:55.101 [DEBUG] breezeLive.main.FCSConnector [attempt 1 of 60] Trying fallback tunneling connection rtmps://onlinemeeting.connectexample.com:443/?rtmp://localhost:8506/meetingas3app/7/1234567/
18:51:55    17179    PLAYER_TRACE    NetConnectionIO::DoConnect rtmps protocol, HTTP(S) tunneling, tunnel open succeeded.

The corresponding snippet in the server debug log as well as the application logs will read: RTMPT and often reconnect=true:

               Line 23456: 2016-01-17  14:25:06              32260    (s)2641173          Asc-Room               IA_CONNECT      [dID:32, ticket:123456789xyz, phase:, uID:, name:]             New client connecting:  { ip=127.0.0.1, protocol=rtmpt, player=MAC 11,9,971,247, savedConnectionSpeed=undefined, reconnect=true }                        –

[11-05 15:08:05] FCSj_Worker:18 (INFO) params: {bytesdown=0, protocol=rtmpt, ticket=123456789xyz, status=C, reconnect=true, nickname=John Doe, action=register-client, role=v, bytesup=0, session-timeout=12}

Correct configuration of the RTMP VS/VIP is extremely important; a Connect Meeting VS/VIP must have a dedicated FQDN.  It must have its own SSL certificate if SSL is accelerated through the load-balancing device and the VS/VIP must not have an HTTP profile; a TCP profile is needed.

For some additional information about troubleshooting Connect architecture with reference to hardware-based load-balancing devises and SSL accelerators, see the following tech-notes:

The Adobe Connect Deployment Guide on the F5 Website needs Updating

Configuring application-level health monitors for Connect on BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager

Publishing PowerPoint Presentations in Connect Meetings

There are different techniques that a Connect content author or Connect Meeting Host may employ to publish PowerPoint content in Adobe Connect Meetings. This article discusses them and how they differ and how to choose the correct option and avoid common pitfalls. The four basic techniques are:

  • Direct upload or drag and drop into a Connect Share Pod
  • Upload to the Connect Content Library and then link to the Meeting Share Pod
  • Publish to the Connect Content Library using Adobe Presenter and then link to the Meeting Share Pod
  • Publish locally using Presenter to a zip package and upload to Connect

I will summarize each of these and then compare them and offer some tips to help make sure that the published converted SWF closely matches the original PPTX.

The first and perhaps most commonly used option by Meeting Hosts is to upload a PPTX directly to a Meeting room Share Pod. The ease and simplicity of this approach certainly accounts for its popularity: You can simply drag and drop a PPTX presentation into the Share Pod or navigate to the source PPTX and upload it.

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Drag and drop is pictured above. As the PPTX is dropped into the Share Pod from the local client, the boarder around the Share Pod will appear with a yellow highlight.

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File conversion begins as soon as you drop the file into the Share Pod.

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The PPTX is converted and ready for viewing as shown above.

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You may also browse to the PPTX file locally from the Share Pod menu drop-down: As a Connect Meeting Host or Presenter, click the down arrow in a Connect Meeting Share Pod and choose “Share Document” as shown above.

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Choose “Browse My Computer” (We will discuss content in the shared library anon).

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Browse to the PPTX locally and select it.

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The size of the file and bandwidth available will determine the amount of time it takes to upload.

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Likewise with conversion.

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The PPTX is converted and ready for viewing.

 

Uploading to the Content library is also a common method of Publishing a PowerPoint to Connect. This technique provides a URL for on-demand playback of a the PPTX as well as a single source for use in multiple Connect Meeting rooms. Multiple Connect Meeting rooms may share a presentation from the same source in the Content Library thereby simplifying editing and version control.

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Browse to the Content Library in Connect Central and choose “New Content” as shown above. Note that a Meeting Host will have access to “My Connect” by default but may need to request access to “Shared Content” and “User Content” folders depending on prior account-wide administrative permissions set.

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Browse to the desired PPTX on your client or share.

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Select the desired PPTX upload.

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Name the Presentation in Connect Central, create a custom URL and summarize the content for administrative reference if desired.

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There will be a delay while the content is processed; see the spinning wheel in the upper left.

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Once completed, the active URL and summary will be displayed.

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To use the Presentation uploaded to the Content Library in a Connect Meeting, simply point the share pod to the Content Library and link it to the meeting.

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It will appear instantaneously in the Connect Meeting as it is already uploaded to the Connect server.

 

The third means of uploading a presentation to Connect employs Adobe Presenter. This is the richest and most accurate PowerPoint conversion option. Presenter integrates with Connect, in fact, Connect had its start as Presenter: Presidia and Breeze 3.0 were originally based on PowerPoint on-demand content publishing to SWF. The integration of Flash Communication Server in Breeze 3.0.8 led eventually to the current Adobe Media Server and the Tomcat Application server platform along with such feature rich integration as Adobe Media Gateway for telephony and Adobe Experience Manager for Events management. Presenter has a long history and it is a very rich on-demand learning tool: http://www.adobe.com/products/presenter.html

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Once installed, Presenter appears as a menu option in PowerPoint and you can drive publishing to Connect in a number of ways.

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Out of necessity, here I will be intentionally terse and ignore a plethora of Presenter features and focus only on using Presenter to publish PowerPoint content for use in a Connect Meeting. The dialog above is under Adobe Presenter>Presentation menu items in PowerPoint with Adobe Presenter installed.

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The dialog above shows Presenter publishing options, among them is Adobe Connect which pushes the published Presentation to the Adobe Connect Content Library. Presenter is able to publish to any Connect server to which the author has access and permissions by its domain name.

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Presenter launches a browser to log into the Connect Central Content Library.

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By default Presenter will log into the Connect Central “My Content” folder belonging to the Presenter Author.

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Fill in the customer URL option if desired and the summary fields.

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Publishing may take a few minutes depending on the size of the PPTX file.

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Once complete the active URL is available along with the summary.

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It is now available as on-demand content and can be used from the Content Library in a Connect Meeting.

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From the Connect Meeting room, choose the Share Pod drop down option and browse to the Content Library. Here I am using the “My Content” folder as the repository.

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The published presentation is available in the Connect Meeting Share Pod.

 

The fourth method of publishing a PPTX to Connect is to first publish locally as a zip package using Presenter and then upload it to Connect.

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Within PowerPoint under Adobe Presenter >Presentation, choose “Publish” and set the publishing options to “My Computer” and the Output options to “Zip package”. Click “Publish”.

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The conversion process may take a few minutes.

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By default it will publish the zip package to: \Documents\My Adobe Presentations\

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In the Connect Central Content Library, choose New Content.

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See that among the supported upload file types, a zip package is listed.

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Browse to the locally published zip package; in this case it is: \Documents\My Adobe Presentations\Large\Large.zip

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Add the details in the Connect Central Content Library and click Save to begin the upload.

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The published active URL allows access to the on-demand Presentation.

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In the Meeting Share Pod the Presentation is accessible from the Content Library.

You may also directly upload the Presenter published zip package from the author’s client to the Connect Meeting Share Pod and ignore the Content Library as shown below:

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The presentation is available for use in the Connect Meeting Share Pod.

 

Choosing the best presentation publishing option:

Once the PowerPoint presentation is selected, converted, and uploaded by whichever means, it is prudent to review it to check for any delta between the uploaded content and the original PPTX. Deltas are usually in one of two forms:

  • Select fonts do not match
  • Tables or bullet formatting does not line up as expected

With reference to custom fonts such as certain esoteric mathematical symbols, this article may help: Tips on Mitigating Connect Server-side PowerPoint Publishing Deltas

Using Adobe Presenter to publish, effectively eliminates any font discrepancies as all publishing is done on the author’s client where presumably all fonts are installed and are available to facilitate accurate conversion.

When uploading a PPTX to the Connect Central Content Library without Presenter, a Connect server-side version of Presenter, called Producer, facilitates the conversion process invoking the fonts available server side. If a font is used in the PPTX that is not available on the server, Producer will choose the closest font available on the Connect server to the original font.

Note: Adobe Connect hosted and ACMS customers who wish to have proprietary fonts installed on their Connect accounts  should contact the Connect Support Team to discuss the process.

When uploading a PPTX directly to a Connect Meeting room Share Pod, server-side Producer is not invoked. The client-side is leveraged and Microsoft Office should be installed on the client as PowerPoint client-side helps facilitate the conversion.

This warning message may appear when uploading a PPTX to Connect:

pptx42.fw

This warning is most common when Mac users who do not have Microsoft Office installed on their clients, attempt to upload a PPTX directly to an Adobe Connect Meeting room. There are not any client-side assets to facilitate conversion.

This tech-note is relevant: Best Practices for Sharing PPTX Files on Adobe Connect

With specific reference to portions of tables missing from graphs, often this can be mitigated by saving a PPTX as  PPT and re-uploading it to Connect.

A PPTX may also be locked down and further editing prohibited. This will affect conversion of the PPTX because conversion to SWF in Connect is a form of editing.

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PowerPoint menu options to Protect the Presentation prior to uploading may cause a delta in the converted uploaded Presentation.

 

Conclusion:

The surest way to have the richest and most accurate PPTX to SWF conversion is by using Adobe Presenter on the author’s client. The next most accurate is to upload to the Connect Content library and invoke server-side Producer for conversion. The quickest way is to simply upload directly to the Meeting Share pod but be sure to have Microsoft Office  installed on the client to help mitigate any delta. Be sure to upload and test well in advance of the Adobe Connect Meeting.

Connect Meeting and Client-side Speaker Audio Output Control

There is a Connect feature request from various customers in place asking for the Connect Meeting GUI to offer an option to choose audio output devices. The request is a complex one because the audio output control options are opaque to Flash; the settings for audio output are in the various operating systems (OS) of the many possible clients. Connect uses what is chosen as the OS default as depicted in our help documents:

Set up audio broadcasting

The feature request number is: CONN-4082570; one customer recently suggested that we add expanded functionality for client speaker audio output control roughly similar to what we already have in Adobe Connect for Microphone and Webcam selection.  A speaker drop-down menu for sound output is desirable for obvious reasons.

There is no set date for implementation of this enhancement in Connect and I will update this blog entry if that changes. In the meantime, if the default client OS audio output option is not the option desired for use with Connect Meeting, the following example may help: I will show how to add a Bluetooth speaker to a Windows client and toggle the audio output in Connect from the built-in laptop Realtek speaker to a new iHome Bluetooth speaker. While audio output options may vary, by showing how it is done with this common example of a Bluetooth output device, it will hopefully help to show how other optional client-side speaker output devices may also be managed in kind.

To see the enabled audio output options on a Windows client, look at the Device Manager under the Control Panel:

sound-dev-mgr.fw

Here we see a Realtek device and this corresponds with the option in the lower right of the desktop tray:

audiowzd-bt5b.fw

Opening the mixer shows more detail:

realtek.fw

If I play music by invoking the Audio Setup Wizard in Connect Meeting, the Realtek speaker will play:

asw.fw

conn-soundoutput.fw

Since our example will be to switch to a Bluetooth speaker, the first step will be to make certain that Bluetooth is enabled. On my Lenovo, that is done by pressing the keys FN>F5 simultaneously. Here we see Bluetooth is enabled:

sound-bt.fw

The next step is to follow the device instructions to pair the Bluetooth speaker with the client computer; these will vary.

See the Bluetooth icon enabled and  highlighted in my system tray:

sound-bt1.fw

After putting the iHome speaker in pairing mode, I am able to search for it from the client:

sound-bt2.fw

sound-bt2a.fw

sound-bt3a.fw

Now we have more than one speaker option to toggle as the Device Manager and the system tray attest:

sound-dev-mgr1.fw

sound-bt5.fw

In Connect we now see the option to use the new audio output device:

sound-fin.fw

Note: The iHome Bluetooth speaker also has a built-in Microphone so the Connect Audio Setup Wizard will see it in the Microphone drop down menu.

Without audio output controls built into Connect, adding and/or changing the default audio output device in the client OS is the way to toggle the audio output option in Connect. The key thing to be aware us is the danger of audio feedback loops. When separate speakers feed back into a microphone and cause echoing in a Connect Meeting. On a mobile device such as an iPAD, without a headset the speaker audio will feed right back in the microphone; it is best practice to use a headset with iPad to prevent audio loop/echos.

Troubleshooting the Flash-less Connect Addin Launch Feature

In order for the Flash-less Connect Meeting Addin to work, you must install the latest Connect Addin as an executable. The reason behind this requirement is that the Addin executable setup inserts needed registry keys within the Windows platform that are necessary to launch the Meeting Addin without Flash. The default, Lightning Addin download by design does not have admin access and cannot configure the Windows client for Flash-less Meetings.

With reference to Macintosh clients, the same rule applies as well. The complete installer needs to be run locally on each client to enable launching the Connect Meeting Addin without Flash.

flashlesssnapshot

If the Flash-less launch continues to be problematic, check for older version of the Addin and uninstall them:

flashlessunsint.fw

If the problem still persists, check also in the registry as there may be residual “connectpro” entries there under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT:

forceaddin-reg.fw

Manually delete these entries carefully.

New Adobe Connect Support Blog Subscription Option

Now you can stay on top of the new articles and posts by subscribing to the Adobe Connect Support Blog. Simply go to the Adobe Connect Support Blog home page and enter your email address and check off the categories about which you would like to be notified. Click “Subscribe me” and you will begin receiving  regular updates:

subscribe.fw

 

 

Recording Message in Edge Browser

When using the Microsoft Edge browser in an Adobe Connect Meeting, you may see the following dialog box in the upper left:

msedge1.fw

This does not indicate that the Adobe Connect Meeting is being recorded for later playback as an on-demand archive. To see if an Adobe Connect Meeting is being recorded, the place to look in the 9.5 Meeting is here:

msedgerec.fw

The Microsoft Edge notification is not actually denoting recording in the traditional sense understood by Adobe Connect Meeting users. If you hover the mouse over the red dot in Edge, the recording message will appear in an Connect Meeting, but it has nothing to do with any actual recording. It seems merely to be triggered by the act of broadcasting with a camera or microphone. The recording indicator dot will disappear in Edge if the microphone and camera are not in use or muted, paused or turned off.

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 require some effort to keep entering and leaving the room until your meeting lands on the server you want. Using multiple browsers may be helpful as well. Working on this well in advance of the meeting is prudent as there is a session timeout factor to consider. The load balancing algorithm will eventually get the sessions distributed but it may take some effort.

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. In a Connect Meeting, at the top of the screen click on MEETING > Preferences. Under the preferences menu you are able to adjust screen sharing, video and VoIP quality setting separately.
  • 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.