Conference distribution

All Pexip Infinity services (Virtual Meeting Rooms, Virtual Auditoriums, Virtual Receptions and the Pexip Distributed Gateway) can be accessed via any Conferencing Node. When a user dials in to a Virtual Meeting Room, or Virtual Auditorium a conference instance is created. As more users dial in to the conference, it may be managed across one or more Conferencing Nodes.

When you deploy a Conferencing Node, you select its system location and role:

  • System location: this is normally used within Pexip Infinity to group together those nodes that are in the same physical location. Conferences that span more than one Transcoding Conferencing Node can be locally distributed, globally distributed, or both, depending on the system location of each of the nodes involved. These various distribution scenarios are described in more detail below.
  • Role: determines if the Conferencing Node has a transcoding role (i.e. it is a Transcoding Conferencing Node that manages and hosts conferences) or has a proxying role (i.e. it is a Proxying Edge Node that forwards the client's media onto a Transcoding Conferencing Node). Proxying Edge Nodes (and their associated locations) do not affect whether a conference is locally or globally distributed, as they simply forward media onto the Transcoding Conferencing Nodes that are responsible for hosting the conference — but the locations of the transcoding nodes that process the media do affect how the conference is distributed. See Conference distribution and Proxying Edge Nodes for an example of calls received on proxying nodes that are forwarded onto transcoding nodes in a locally and geographically distributed conference.

When two or more Transcoding Conferencing Nodes are hosting the same conference, they send the call media between each other over a secure IPsec backplane.

Locally distributed conferences

Locally distributed conferences exist across multiple Transcoding Conferencing Nodes in the same System location, as shown in the diagram opposite.

Having more than one transcoding node in a single location allows you to increase conferencing capacity and provide redundancy.

To maintain efficiency, no more than three transcoding nodes per location will handle the media for a particular conference instance. However, you can configure "overflow" locations that will handle the media if a location reaches its capacity for a conference instance. For more information, see Handling of media and signaling.

Globally distributed conferences

Globally distributed conferences exist across several Transcoding Conferencing Nodes, where each node is in a different system location. As system locations are typically used to represent different physical locations, this allows participants in different regions to access the conference from their local Conferencing Node. The nodes send the call media for the conference to each other over a single geo backplane, with each node sending the media on behalf of all the endpoints connected (or proxied) to it, thus minimizing WAN bandwidth usage between locations.

This helps to provide a superior meeting experience as it reduces the distance that the media has to travel between the endpoint / client and the Conferencing Nodes.

Locally and globally distributed conferences

Locally and globally distributed conference with four Conferencing Nodes across four host servers in three locations

A conference can be locally and globally distributed at the same time, if two or more Transcoding Conferencing Nodes in one location and at least one other transcoding node in a different location are involved. In such cases, one transcoding node in each location acts as the intermediary for any other transcoding nodes in the same location that are handling the media for that conference. Call media for each location is sent between the intermediaries only, thus minimizing WAN bandwidth usage between locations.

Conference escalation from locally to globally distributed is handled automatically by Pexip Infinity and is seamless to conference participants.

Conference distribution and Proxying Edge Nodes

Proxying Edge Nodes (and their associated locations) do not affect whether a conference is locally or globally distributed, as they simply forward media onto the Transcoding Conferencing Nodes that are responsible for hosting the conference — but the locations of the transcoding nodes that process the media do affect how the conference is distributed.

A system location should not contain a mixture of Proxying Edge Nodes and Transcoding Conferencing Nodes. Hence, in the example scenario shown here, the Conferencing Nodes in the two locations "London Edge" and "Oslo Edge" are Proxying Edge Nodes and thus those nodes and locations are not involved in the actual hosting of any conferences. They forward the media onto the Transcoding Conferencing Nodes in the "London Transcoding" and "Oslo Transcoding" locations respectively. This conference is locally distributed within both of those "transcoding" locations (as there are multiple nodes hosting the conference within each location, with a local backplane between those nodes), and as the conference is split across two locations, it is also geographically distributed and therefore there is a geo backplane between one of the nodes in the "London Transcoding" location and one of the nodes in the "Oslo Transcoding" location.