Zextras Suite Video Server for your Zimbra

Video conferencing as a method of communication that uses the web to connect a group of people via a live video and audio feed, has a lot of advantages, naming a few would be saving time and money, bringing remote workers together, being more engaging than phone conferencing, increasing efficiency and productivity. Video conferencing is turning into an increasingly viable means of communication for businesses both small and large.

Like lots of technologies, popularity makes the scalability problem even more significant. For example, you might have heard of peer-to-peer video conferencing. Basically, peer-to-peer video conferencing can only be scaled to a limited extent. The reason is that peer-to-peer video conferencing provides a one-on-one video feed which means it sends your video feed directly to the person you’re talking to. Therefore the more people you add to a meeting, the more bandwidth, and processing power you need. It also depends on the stability of everyone’s internet connection and adding more people introduces more instability.

How Does Zextras Suite Video Server Solve It?

A centralized video server can tackle the mentioned problems by sending your video feed to a server for distribution as opposed to sending the feed directly to the person you’re talking to. Zextras has already addressed these problems by introducing its centralized video server. Zextras Video server solves the bandwidth problem by merging all the video and audio feeds into a single feed and sending it to all participants. This way there is no need for each participant to send their feed to all the other participants which require huge bandwidth. Zextras Video server solves the processing power by receiving all the video and audio feeds as a single normalized feed. This way there is no need for the participants to process multiple feeds containing all the participants’ data which requires lots of processing power.

Why Zextras Suite Video Server

Imagine you own a small company and you need an independent call platform providing secure communication. You can reach your goal with Zextras Video Server since considering the fact that with the Zextras Video Server as a part of the Zextras Team, your data stays on your own server allowing you to keep your messages and conversations private. Another use case could be when you need only an internal platform for your communications. Furthermore, if you need video conferencing for more than 100 users at the same time without the need to have huge bandwidth, Zextras Video Server is an absolutely perfect option, since it drastically optimizes bandwidth and resources by receiving all the video and audio feeds as a single normalized feed.

Requirements

System
  • Minimum 4 CPU cores (suggested at least 8 to handle more than 100 users at the same time)
  • 1024MB of RAM + 1MB of RAM for each connected user
Network
  • A public IP
  • A publicly resolvable FQDN
  • 200Kb/s (0.2 Mb/s) bandwidth for each connected user (default settings)
  • WebSockets
Ports
  • The mailbox server will establish a WebSocket on port 8188 to communicate with the Video Server
  • Clients will use a random UDP port between 20000 and 40000

Installing Zextras Suite Video Server

The Zextras Video Server must be installed on a dedicated server.

  • Download the installer package from zextras.com/download-customer if you’re already a Zextras Suite customer, or alternatively download the installer package from zextras.com/download if you want a free trial
  • Copy the installer package to the server
  • Unpack the installer package with tar zxvf videoserver-[OS]-installer.tgz (replacing the [OS] with your operating system)
  • Enter the unpacked directory: cd videoserver-installer
  • Run the installation script: ./install.sh
  • Install all missing dependencies by entering Y
  • Install the Video Server packages by entering Y
  • Insert the Public IP Address of the Zimbra infrastructure that uses this video server when you’ve been asked to.

In Ubuntu, you’ll get an output like the following

Configuring zimbra-videoserver
------------------------------



Please insert the Public IP server to bind with.

.: Public IP server :.

Then execute the two commands returned by the installer, on any Mailbox Server of the infrastructure to set up the connection with the Video Server and enable it for all servers

Please execute these commands in a mailbox node as zimbra user to complete the setup of the video server:
 
zxsuite config global set attribute teamVideoServerSharedSecret value [SERVER HASH]
zxsuite config global set attribute teamVideoServerHostname value [HOSTNAME]:8188

In CentOS, you’ll get an output like the following saying you need to manually insert the PUBLIC_IP_ADDRESS value within the /etc/janus/janus.jcfg file

Then execute two steps you’ll get after the installation like below

.: Congratulations! Every bit is in its right place :.

Please execute these steps:
* Set ${PUBLIC_IP_ADDRESS} value within /etc/janus/janus.jcfg

* Please execute these commands in a mailbox node
as zimbra user to complete the setup of the video server:

zxsuite team video-server add 77dd59de494e port 8188 secret E/wYSeSsUA/sDDAmmoADsdpNU7O6xi4p

Video Server Service

To manage the Video Server service the administrator can use zxsuite team CLI. For example, the Video Server service can start and stop executing

zxsuite team doStartService team-videoserver-pool
zxsuite team doStopService team-videoserver-pool

Feed Quality

Administrators have a variety of choices when it comes to configuring the quality of the feed. Including these options

  • The Webcam and screen sharing feed quality based on the relative bitrate.100Kbps is the minimum and 200Kbps is the default value, it can be set to more bitrate too.
  • The Audio feed quality based on the sampling rate. 16000 Hz is the default, 8000 Hz, 12000 Hz, 24000 Hz, and 48000 Hz are other available options.

By default, the Zextras Video Server uses conservative Codecs (VP8 and Opus) but there are also other available codecs to choose from

  • The video codec can be set to, AV1, H264, H265, VP8, and VP9.
  • The audio codec used by the Zextras Video Server is Opus which is the only reliable one available across all supported browsers.

To learn how to configure these settings on your server, please refer to Zextras Video Server Documentation.

Product marketing and technical writer at Zextras, an open-source and technology enthusiast who creates instructional and technical articles about Zextras and Zimbra.

Comments

IT Admin
08/06/2021 1

Very good work from Zextras! Installation went thru without issues. But Janus won't start. You should add an "How to start the video server manually" section :)

Hi IT Admin, thank you for the feedback. The service should automatically start at the end of the installation or server restart. We will check however to be sure about that. Thanks again for sharing it with us.

IT Admin
08/06/2021 1

OK, I get it... it's the command "zxsuite team doStartService team-videoserver-pool" that is not working. (for us on the NG Connect version)

Post your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Zextras Suite 3.1.8 - Added features to ABQ
Coherency Check