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Connecting Polycom PVX to Tandberg MXP

Posted on 2009-04-07
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We have Tardnberg MXP end points at 2 sites in the UK and 1 in China which all work well. We are now experimenting with certain remote users have home video conferencing using Polycom PVX. The users are using standard home DSL lines.

By modifying the settings on their DSL routers I can dial out from the Tandberg to the users machines ok but I cant get them to dial in. Sometimes the call connects but with no video or sound. Othertimes it won't ring or connect at all.

I assumed it was a Firewall issue in our offices however at one site there is no firewall. I also took a laptop running PVX and connected it to the same connection as the Tandberg and it connected ok so it seems to be a compatability issue. I've checked all ports and settings and just can't see anything. Does anyone have any ideas?

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Question by:nexusinds
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foobar_666uk earned 500 total points
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If you are absolutely shure that this is not a firewall blocking ports then it sounds like the problem might be that you are using NAT? Are you using NAT at your offices - or are your Tandberg MXP's directly on the public internet?

If you are using NAT you will need to configure your Tandberg MXP to know about its external NAT address (Go to Admin Settings -> Network -> H323 Settings -> Advanced H323 Settings) in here you will see settings to switch NAT On or Off. Switch NAT on and then specify the external NAT address and this should then work.

The reason that NAT does not work with H323 video conferencing is because the endpoints embed the IP address into the IP payload, so that normal NAT functions will not work. But the settings above will tell the Tandberg endpoint to embed the correct external IP address into the Payload, therefore NAT will work.

Let me know how you get on

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by:nexusinds
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Thanks for your quick response.

We are not using any NAT. The office endpoint is on a static IP address and we are connected to our ISP using a 10mb each way fibre link. There is a Cisco 1820 router between the Tandberg system and the internet. It was supplied by our ISP and they say there is no filtering on the router. Its just providing the physical interface between our LAN and them. Our LAN is protected by a firewall but the VC bypasses that.

Conferencing between the Tandberg systems works fine and from the PVX software I was able to contact our site in China but not our two UK sites. I dont know much about the network connection in our China office but I believe its a standard DSL line and the ISP supplied router. The endpoint is a 550MXP.

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by:foobar_666uk
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What is an IP address of one of your Tandberg systems and I can try to call into you from one of my systems to help prove where the problem is (if you are OK with that?)
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by:nexusinds
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Thanks for your help and your offer of testing. I've done a bit more work on this and am absolutely convinced it is an issue with the Tandberg system so I have logged the issue with them. We're going to try some software updates etc.
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by:jujitsuphil
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What version Polycom PVX software are you running? (8.02 or 8.04). You should disable Windows/Zone Alarm or any other firewall program for a test and try the call again. Blocked video/audio is a firewall issue and just opening ports TCP/UDP 3230-3253 bidirectional does not always fix the problem. You should also see if you can open a DMZ on your router for a test.  The last thing you can try is to bypass your router if possible an plug your network directly to the PC. The last test is to see if it is a NAT issue. One of these should allow your call to have both video and audio. Let me know and I can advise you further. I work on Polycom videoconferencing equipment all day.
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by:vanleeuwen
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I think I've got the same problem as you have NEXUSINDS; did you solve it ?
I am trying to connect from PVX 8.0.4.4035 on Vista Business with Firewall switched off from my home to a Tandberg 880 MXP at the office and it does not work.
Today I tested within the same LAN at the office and it does not work either, but ... if the Tandberg unit initiates the call it does work.
In a Tandberg release note I found that the SW version F6.1 is compatible with PVX 8.0.2.0235, but that version gives a message on my Vista notebook that it isn't connected to an IP-network, which may be due to Vista.
I plan to do a test on WXP to see whether it will run 8.0.2.0235 and if it will connect to the Tandberg.
So I think the problem is caused by an incompatibility of the SW versions.

Thanks,
Paul
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by:foobar_666uk
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If you have Tandberg MXP on F8.0 and Polycom PVX on 8.0.4 then they definately work as I have tested this here in my office with no problems.
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by:nexusinds
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Hi

For us this problem was solved by updating to the latest firmware on the Tandberg (F8.0). Our main setup works fine now but we have a lot of problems with certain firewalls both 'commercial' and home ones. We find that no matter what ports you have open it doesn't want to connect. I think it may be more to do with NAT that port blocking itself.

Rich
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by:foobar_666uk
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H323 do not like Firewalls or NAT one little bit. You can get the Tandberg MXP to work via pretty much most Firewalls and NAT quite easily.

There are two problems with H323;
- Typically H323 use a random port of anything from 1024-65535 for its UDP Audio and Video - howeever most manufacturers now support the ability to fix the ports to a much smaller range.
- NAT usually works by changing IP address's in the headers of the IP packets - however unfortunately the way that H323 works is that the IP address is actually in the payload of the packet aswell as the header. NAT will only typically change the header, and as such H323 has problems

Most endpoints now have the ability to fix the ports, and to specify your NAT address to overcome these problems. The Tandberg MXP can support both of these. So to over come your problem do the following;

1st - Tell the Tandberg MXP to use Fixed ports. (refer to the Tandberg Admin guide here: http://www.tandberg.com/collateral/documentation/User_Manuals/TANDBERG%20MXP%20Administrator%20Guide.pdf)
Page 214 - shows where to set fixed/static ports
Page 321 - shows the ports used when Fixed Ports is Enabled.

2nd - Configure the Tandberg MXP to use NAT. (See Page 213 of the Admin Guide) Specify the external address of your Router/Firewall.

3rd - Configure your Firewall to open the ports as per Page 321 in the Admin Guide (alternatively place the IP address of the system in DMZ) You also want to open the management ports of the device (HTTP/HTTPS/Telnet/SSH) to remotely the manage the system.

This should then get your system to work over any NAT/Firewall/Router.

There are some gotcha's thought - some bigger Firewalls (Checkpoint/Cisco etc) support something called Packet Inspection or H323 Awareness. This tried to overcome the original H323 problems by inspecting the payload of the traffic for the NAT address, and opening and closing the random ports required by H323 automatically. If using the Tandberg MXP to overcome these problems you should disable these features of these Firewalls, as both methods will conflict. In experience I find the Tandberg approach to overcome the problem a lot more stable than the Firewall manufacturers. Also most Firewall manufacturers are versions behind the H323 version used today in most systems - so again another reason to disable these features on the Firewall.

Anyway.... enough from me.... GOOD LUCK!
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by:vanleeuwen
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Thanks for your help.
I tried PVX 8.0.2.0235 on WinXP within the LAN (NO routers or Firewalls in between !!!) but still no joy :-(
EyeCatcher can connect to PVX fine but if I initiate the call from PVX it does come through on the EyeCatcher which gives:
Call Status
Connected: 4066
(or whatever "H.323 Extension (E.164)" you gave in PVX)
But there is no traffic and after about 20 secs connection drops and PVX gives a pop up with:
Your call could not be completed because the
call was routed through an intermediate
network that does not service the far site.
Contact your network administrator for
assistence.

EyeCatcher is still on F6.1.
Paul
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by:foobar_666uk
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Hi Paul,

Sorry what is an EyeCatcher? I am not familiar with this product?
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by:vanleeuwen
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Hi foobar,

EyeCatcher is a Tandberg 880 MXP engine wich is built into a kind of autocue system.
The idea is that you look into the camera (which is behind the mirror) so that you can make "eyecontact" if both ends use such a system. See http://www.exovision.nl

I just got word from them that they know of software problems and an upgrade on the 880 MXP may solve them.
But they say an upgrade to a higher version costs (a lot of) money and I was just in the process of verifying that ;-)

Paul
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by:nexusinds
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If its the 880MXP then the upgrade should work. We found (roughly speaking) version 5x worked, 6x didnt and 8x works fine. Someone at Tandberg broke something. I dont like Tandberg's instence that you have to have a maintenance contract or pay a lot of money to get software updates.
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by:foobar_666uk
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To upgrade a Tandberg 880 MXP you need a valid service contract with Tandberg. They are not too expensive - and also cover maintenance break down etc.

I would always strongly reccomend getting a service contract, and then all future software upgrades are available for no extra charge.

F6.1 is quite a way behind....we have had F6.2, F6.3, F6.4, F7.0, F7.2, F7.3 & F8.0 since, as you can see by looking here: http://ftp.tandberg.com/pub/software/endpoints/mxp/



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by:foobar_666uk
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It looks like Polycom PVX 8.0.2 worked with Tandberg MXP F6.4 as it states in the release notes that it was interop tested.

However in the release notes for Tandberg F7.0 it reads

"Corrected the negotiation issue with a MXP Sw F6.x and Polycom PVX Sw 8.0.2 when they are not registered to a gatekeeper. Please referrer to the H.323 section in the Changes and Improvements since Previous Version section [Ref. # 50601]."

"Corrected the initializing of H.460 (use or not) to the alerting and connecting messages when the endpoint is not registered to a gatekeeper [Ref. # 50601]"

So this maybe the problem you are experiencing which appears to be resolved in F7.0 and later...
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by:jujitsuphil
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I have run across this problem and if Zone Alarm is switched off then check the algorithms that you are connecting at. Polycom and Tandbergs have issues connecting with H.263 or H.264 and need to connect with Basic Mode H.261. You cannot hard code this with the PVX software. See if this can be done with the Tandberg. If Zone Alarm is active then check if it is allowing vvsys and netmeeding. I know that netmeeting is not part of the PVX software but has to able to run in the Zone Alarm settings. If you want to run a test with a VSX7000s that I can hard code with Basic Mode - H.261 let me know. I have connected with Tandberg's often with these settings.
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by:vanleeuwen
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I got the suggestion to try it with PVX 6.1 but could not find a download.
What I did find is http://vsee.com/blog/?p=219 and I ended up testing Mirial Softphone (http://www.mirial.com) and . . . that works within the LAN both to and from the EyeCatcher (Tandberg 880 MXP) ;-)
If testing from outside the LAN works too (and I don't see why it wouoldn't) I think my problem is solved.
Mirial Softphone has some nice features in 3-party conference and call record/playback/export to wmv-file.
Thanks for all your advice.
Paul
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