About PINs, Hosts and Guests

For added security, you can set up your Pexip Infinity Virtual Meeting Rooms (including scheduled conferences) and Virtual Auditoriums with PIN numbers. You can use the same PIN for all participants, or you can use PINs to differentiate between Hosts and Guests.

When a participant dials the alias of a conference that has a PIN, they are presented with an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) screen where they are asked to enter the PIN number. They must enter the correct PIN before they can join the conference. This topic covers:

Using the same PIN for all participants

All participants in a conference that uses a single PIN have the same Host privileges. (To create a PIN-protected conference where participants have different levels of privileges, see Using PINs to differentiate between Hosts and Guests.)

To set a PIN number on a conference:

  1. Go to Service configuration > Virtual Meeting Rooms, Service configuration > Virtual Auditoriums or Service configuration > Scheduled Conferences and select the service you wish to change.
  2. In the Host PIN field, enter the PIN number to be used.
  3. In the Allow Guests drop-down list, select No.

Note that:

  • PINs must use the digits 0-9 only.
  • PINs may optionally end with #.
  • PINs must be between 4–20 digits long, including any #.

Using PINs to differentiate between Hosts and Guests

You can set up your Virtual Meeting Rooms and Virtual Auditoriums so that they are "Hosted". Hosted conferences have two different types of participants: Hosts and Guests. Hosts and Guests both dial the same alias to join the conference.

You can create two types of Hosted conference:

  • the Host must enter a PIN, but Guests do not require a PIN, or
  • both Hosts and Guests must enter a PIN.

In both cases:

  • Only those participants who enter the Host PIN have privileges to control the conference; everyone else is a Guest and can only participate in the conference.
  • An administrator can configure individual Virtual Meeting Rooms and Virtual Auditoriums so that Guest participants are not allowed to present into the conference (they can still receive presentation content from other Host participants). By default, Guests are allowed to present content.
  • If a conference is locked, Hosts can still join, but Guests are held at a waiting screen.
  • For conferences that use Virtual Auditoriums, the administrator can select different layouts for the Host view and Guest view. For more information, see Selecting the layout seen by participants.

Guest privileges

  • If any Guests join the conference before a Host has arrived, or while the conference is locked, they are shown a holding image and hear a message advising them that they are waiting for the conference Host. The message is repeated every 30 seconds for video participants, and every 15 seconds for audio-only participants. Such participants will be disconnected automatically after 15 minutes waiting, but Administrators can change this time - see Limiting how long Guests can wait for a Host.
  • A minute or so after the last Host has left, any remaining Guests are automatically disconnected. Administrators can change the length of time before Guests are disconnected by going to Platform configuration > Global settings > Guests-only timeout.

In addition, if the conference is held in a Virtual Auditorium:

  • During the conference, Guests are only able to see the Hosts; they cannot see other Guests. However, after the last Host has left, Guests can see any other remaining Guests during the disconnection timeout period.
  • Guest participants will not be shown the streaming indicator and so will not be aware if the conference is being streamed or recorded.

Host privileges

  • Guests cannot join a conference until the first Host has joined. However, if the Host joins as a presentation and control-only participant via an Infinity Connect client, that Host has to start the conference manually to allow Guests to join.
  • If the first participant to join the conference is a Host, that Host is shown a holding image until another Host or Guest joins the conference.
  • If the conference has a Host PIN, participants who enter the Host PIN can join the conference even if it is locked.
  • The presence of a Host in a conference may prevent that conference from being automatically terminated.
  • A minute or so after the last Host has left, any remaining Guests are automatically disconnected. Administrators can change the length of time before Guests are disconnected by going to Platform configuration > Global settings > Guests-only timeout.
  • Hosts can use Infinity Connect clients to:

    • disconnect participants from the conference
    • add participants to the conference
    • mute and unmute an individual participant, or all Guest participants simultaneously
    • lock and unlock a conference, and to allow individual participants into a locked conference
    • change the role of other participants in the conference
    • send DTMF tones to other participants in the conference.

If the conference is taking place in a Virtual Auditorium:

  • The Pexip Infinity administrator may configure the Virtual Auditorium so that Hosts see other participants in a different layout to that seen by Guests. For more information, see Selecting the layout seen by participants.

Creating a Hosted Virtual Meeting Room or Virtual Auditorium

To create a Hosted Virtual Meeting Room or Virtual Auditorium:

  1. Go to Service configuration > Virtual Meeting Rooms, Service configuration > Virtual Auditoriums or Service configuration > Scheduled Conferences and select the service you wish to change.
  2. In the Host PIN field, enter the PIN number to be used by the Hosts.
  3. In the Allow Guests drop-down list, select Yes.
  4. If you want to require Guests to enter a PIN, in the Guest PIN field, enter the PIN number to be used.

    If you leave this field blank, anyone who dials the alias of the Virtual Meeting Room or Virtual Auditorium will be able to access the conference as a Guest. However, the conference will not start until the first Host has joined and in the meantime all Guests will continue to be shown the holding screen.

Note that:

  • Host PINs and Guest PINs must be different.
  • PINs must use the digits 0-9 only.
  • PINs may optionally end with #.
  • PINs must be between 4–20 digits long, including any #.
  • If the Host PIN ends in # and a Guest PIN is used, the Guest PIN must also end with #.
  • If # is not used, Host PINs and Guest PINs must have the same number of digits.
  • You cannot configure a Guest PIN unless you have already configured a Host PIN.

How to combine Host PINs and Guest PINs for differing levels of security

The table below shows how to use Host PINs (for Host privileges) and Guest PINs (for Guest privileges) to achieve various levels of security when creating hosted Virtual Meeting Rooms and Virtual Auditoriums:

Access Roles Host PIN Allow Guests Guest PIN
Anyone - no PIN required All participants have the same Host privileges. Leave blank Select No Leave blank
All participants must enter the same PIN All participants have the same Host privileges. Enter the PIN Select No Leave blank
Hosts must enter a PIN but Guest do not

Participants who enter the PIN have Host privileges. The conference will not begin until they have joined, and will finish a minute or so after the last Host leaves.

All other participants have Guest privileges and do not need to enter a PIN. They will see a holding screen until the first Host joins.

Enter the PIN Select Yes Leave blank
Hosts and Guests must enter different PINs

Participants who enter the Host PIN have Host privileges. The conference will not begin until they have joined, and will finish a minute or so after the last Host leaves.

Participants who enter the Guest PIN have Guest privileges and will see a holding screen until the first Host joins.

Enter the PIN
(must be different from the Guest PIN)
Select Yes Enter the PIN*
(must be different from the Host PIN)

* If you configure a Guest PIN, you must also configure a Host PIN.

Incorrect PINs

Participants (other than Infinity Connect clients, and connections via the client API) have three attempts to enter a correct PIN. After the third unsuccessful attempt, they will hear a message advising them that the PIN is invalid, and their call will be disconnected. Further protection against PIN cracking attempts can be achieved using the Break-in resistance settings, which apply to all clients.

All PIN entry attempts, successful and unsuccessful, are logged in the administrator log.

Using # at the end of a PIN

PINs can optionally end with a # (known either as the pound or hash character). Using a terminal #:

  • Allows administrators to set different length PINs for Hosts and Guests.
  • Allows users who have accidentally entered too many or too few digits (particularly those using audio-only, who have no on-screen indication of the number of digits required) to return to the start of the PIN entry process by entering #.

You cannot configure a Host PIN that ends with # and a Guest PIN that does not (or vice versa).

For conferences where a terminal # is used, Pexip Infinity automatically uses the appropriate audio file, asking participants to "please enter the conference PIN number followed by the pound key". Preconfigured themes allow you to change the use of "pound key" to "hash key".

For Infinity Connect clients, the terminal # is optional when entering a PIN.

Examples

  • If you want to use a terminal # on a VMR with a Host PIN of 1234 and a Guest PIN of 567890:
    • in the Host PIN field enter 1234#
    • in the Guest PIN field enter 567890#.

    Now when anyone calls the VMR they will hear the message "please enter the conference PIN number followed by the pound key".

  • If you do not want to use a terminal # on a VMR with a Host PIN of 1234 and no Guest PIN:
    • in the Host PIN field enter 1234
    • leave the Guest PIN field blank.

    Now when anyone calls the VMR they will hear the message "please enter the conference PIN number".

Changing a participant's role from Guest to Host (and vice versa)

Infinity Connect users who have a role of Host can change the role of other participants in the conference. This is useful, for example, if a Host needs to leave the conference; they can promote one of the Guests to a role of Host so that the conference will continue after they disconnect.

You can also use this feature to allow a participant who is waiting at the PIN entry screen to join the conference as Host or Guest without entering a PIN. Such users appear in the roster with a role of Unknown. (Note that this does not apply to participants using Infinity Connect clients, as they use a different PIN entry process.)

Participants who have joined via a Skype for Business / Lync meeting will have a role of External; their status cannot be changed.

To change a participant's role, from the Participant list, select the participant and then select Make Host or Make Guest:

You cannot change your own role to Guest.

Including the PIN in the dial string to bypass the PIN entry screen

SIP and H.323 endpoints and Skype for Business / Lync clients that dial into PIN-protected conferences can bypass the PIN entry screen by including the PIN in the dialed alias.

This makes it more convenient, for example, when bookmarking PIN-protected conferences.

They can do this by including the relevant PIN (either the Host PIN or the Guest PIN as appropriate) in their dial string when dialing the Virtual Meeting Room or Virtual Auditorium. The dial string should be in the format: <vmr_alias>**<PIN>@<domain>.

For example, if the alias of the Virtual Meeting Room is meet.alice@example.com and the PIN is 1234, then the endpoint can dial meet.alice**1234@example.com to go straight into the VMR.

Note that H.323 devices can also use the dial format <vmr_alias>#<PIN>@<domain>.

If there is a # configured at the end of the PIN e.g. 1234#, then that # is not required in the dial string.

Limiting the time a participant can spend at the PIN entry screen

By default, participants have two minutes to enter a correct PIN before the system disconnects them. The timer starts when the participant gets to the PIN entry screen, and participants will be disconnected at the end of the specified time, whether or not they have entered any PINs during that time (in other words, the timer does not restart after each PIN entry).

You can change the length of time by going to Platform configuration > Global settings > Service configuration and changing the PIN entry timeout.

Note that this limit does not apply to participants using Infinity Connect clients, or to connections via the client API, because they enter PINs via a different process.

Limiting how long Guests can wait for a Host

By default, a Guest participant will be disconnected if they have been waiting for 15 minutes for a Host to either:

This time applies per-participant, so if Guest A joins a conference five minutes before Guest B and a Host does not join, Guest A will be disconnected five minutes before Guest B.

You can change this length of time by going to time by going to Platform configuration > Global settings > Service configuration and changing the Waiting for Host timeout.