Two three-letter words: TMS and VCS

    Over the past month I received three calls in which these mysterious words sounded, and I was forced to explain how it works. I am deeply convinced that knowledge needs to be shared - this is a sure remedy for degradation. Therefore, to the best of my understanding, I will try to explain to the general public what they mean. So, further we will talk about three TANDBERG devices for providing video communications: TMS, VCS Control and VCS ExpressWay.

    Brief Description of Devices

    All three devices belong to the group of infrastructure equipment, i.e. You can start a video conference without them, but they are very useful for solving tasks that go beyond providing point-to-point communications.

    TANDBERG Management Suite or TMS

    As the name implies, this is a software package (although it can also be delivered as a assembled 1-u server) for controlling terminals and video communication servers. On it, you can generate address books for terminals, manage their updates, build usage reports, switch between multi-point servers, etc. In short: a system that manages your entire video network.

    What is noteworthy is that it can manage third-party terminals (of course, not to the same extent as its relatives). The fact is that this product was developed by a company that was absorbed by TANDBERG several years ago. Obviously, the product was designed for video conferencing in general. After absorption, they decided not to remove this functionality.

    TANBERG VCS Control

    VCS stands for Video Control Server (not to be confused with a multipoint server). And if you drop the big words, it is a sip server and an H.323 zone controller in one bottle. Sharpened for video calling and can connect devices from both of these networks. Also, it is very useful when docking with third-party applications: ip-telephony, Cisco Unified Communications, Microsoft OCS, etc.

    TANDBERG VCS ExpressWay

    And this is a much more interesting piece of iron (more precisely, the application): it serves to overcome firewalls. Firewalls, as you know, are created in order to prevent. First of all, outside. Accordingly, if you try to connect to the remote terminal due to the firewall, you will most likely be seen and heard, but the packets will not go in your direction, and you will be sad to look into the dark silent screen. So here it is the RTP protocol.

    What does ExpressWay do: it sends incoming packets on the port that was initialized by the device behind the firewall, and, accordingly, it can run anything on either side in this connection. Obviously, ExpressWay is located on a public network.

    What does it look like

    The figure shows how the devices communicate with each other. I didn’t draw TMS, but it’s implied: it’s very difficult to steer this zoo without it.
    Network diagram

    When is it needed

    • With a large number of terminals;
    • When connecting with third-party services (I’ll immediately make a reservation that you can do without all this, but you will have to spend a lot of effort);
    • With a distributed network and the inability to provide a VPN at every point.


    I do not work for TANDBERG (now Cisco), but I think that their equipment is the best on the market in their fields (this does not mean the cheapest). In general, as I managed to tell. Specially did not go into how connections are initialized and packets run; this information is enough for a couple of separate topics, if there is interest - I will write.

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