Steinbuch Centre for Computing (SCC)
2020-03-11

Rising usage figures for the video conferencing service DFNconf

Due to the corona epidemic, events in science and research are also cancelled to protect the health of participants and the local population. An alternative for online events is the service DFNConf.

Online-Meeting-Angebote des DFN

DFN-Verein answers frequently asked questions and gives recommendations on how to use the online services.

1. what situation is DFNconf currently confronted with?

In the current situation around the COVID-19 epidemic, various events are cancelled, also in the field of science and research, in order to protect the health of participants and the local population. In many cases, alternative, usually online-based formats are now being considered or have already been actively planned. We are already seeing a significant increase in the use of the service.

Can courses be held via DFNconf?

Yes, this is still possible.

Please use the streaming module of DFNconf (streaming of conferences) for courses and conference presentations that do not necessarily require two-way communication with audio and video.The streaming module allows a larger number of users (listeners) than the meeting modules of DFNconf (Pexip or AdobeConnect).The streaming module includes a text-based two-way communication (chat), so that interactions between presenters and viewers are still possible.

Can meetings be conducted via DFNconf?

Yes, this is still possible.

To be able to handle more meetings with the existing technical infrastructure, we have reduced the maximum video quality of all Pexip meetings from FullHD (1080p) to HD (720p) since 04.03.2020 until further notice.In our experience, this will not significantly reduce the user experience, except for the transmission of slides in lectures and conference presentations, which can still be transmitted in FullHD.

How many users can participate in my online event?

Pexip meetings: maximum 23 users

Adobe Connect meetings: 200 participants maximum

Streaming of courses/conference lectures: unlimited number of viewers.

Is the DFNconf service prepared for a sudden increase in usage?

Only to a limited extent. We are working with a multi-stage plan to set up the service as far as possible. There is no guarantee that we can cope with any kind of jump.

Our preparations are divided into short-term, medium-term and perspective measures.

Short-term measures are: Increasing the number of licenses, reducing the maximum video quality for meetings (see above) and installing a software upgrade to reduce the utilization of the conference platform.

Medium-term measures are: reactivation of reserve hardware, procurement of new servers for the conference platform.

Prospective measures: Monitoring the situation and the concrete effects on DFNconf, addressing the issue at the level of decision-makers in DFN-Verein.

Does DFNconf have the necessary reserves to stream all courses in Germany?

No, not at the moment, nor is it foreseeable whether this scenario will happen. If this request were to be made to DFN-Verein, this would go far beyond the scope of the current service from various points of view.

Are there bottlenecks and what can be done to avoid them?

It cannot be ruled out that the COVID 19 epidemic may cause the use of DFNconf to increase faster than we can control. In case of bottlenecks, it is possible that users will only be able to participate in events with restrictions (e.g. only via audio) or not at all.

In order to avoid this, events/meetings should take place outside of the current peak hours of 10:00-11:00 a.m. and 1:00-15:00 p.m. If you have the possibility to hold a meeting outside of these time windows, you relieve the infrastructure and thus increase the availability of the service.


Further information on video conferencing and teleteaching
Contact person at SCC: Rolf Mayer

Translated with DeepL.com

Achim Grindler