What's the difference between Web, audio and video conferencing?

Stephen K. Campbell

What's the difference between Web, audio and video conferencing?

Web conferencing entails sharing of documents or content over the Internet, generally with an accompanying audio track. The audio can be provided over Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol, meaning it can be accessed via the computer used for following the shared content, or it can be provided via a dial-in phone number. Often, audio is offered by both mechanisms.

Audio conferencing allows multiple callers to join in a conversation by dialing into an audio conferencing bridge. Participants will be provided an access number, a conference ID and possibly a secure pin number to uniquely identify the participant and to improve the security of the call. Call organizers may send documents via email to participants in order to provide background data or perhaps to review documents in the call.

Video conferencing can occur between two participants in a peer-to-peer call, or between multiple participants via a video conferencing bridge, sometimes called a multipoint control unit. The bridge can be located within a company network or can available from a service provider, on a subscription or metered basis, or for free, depending on the intended use and service model. Video conferencing will also include an audio channel, and may include a document or screen sharing capability. Video conferencing can exist on a company's internal network, although when external participants join, they generally connect over the Internet using a specialized type of firewall.

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View the next item in this Essential Guide: Voice and Video Conferencing Fundamentals or view the full guide: Unified communications technology basics

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