If you're new to the video conferencing world and are looking for a solution for your growing organization, the task can be pretty daunting. One of the acronyms you'll hear a lot is MCU – multipoint control unit. This is a system, often times a piece of hardware that bridges multiple video endpoints into a single call. If you have team members in different parts of the world and need to all join and collaborate together an MCU is the way to connect all the sites into one multi-party call. But what type of MCU is right for your business? There are typically four types of MCUs (multipoint control unit) in the market today.

1) MCU as part of an endpoint – This option is sometimes packaged with a room-based system or offered in a manner where additional licenses can be purchased to allow some minimal multipoint capability. 

2) Standalone hardware – In this option, a specific fixed amount of ports is built into hardware that then is generally hosted on a corporate private network. The downside to this solution and the previous one is that it offers finite capacity, can be cost prohibitive for some organizations, and is difficult to scale.

3) Hybrid solution – This option is a service that takes existing on-premise video hardware, as mentioned above and hosts MCUs as a service offering on a separate publicly accessible network. This solution, however, is built on an existing hardware MCUs and other video infrastructure such as gatekeepers and separate gateways and can be very cost intensive for heavy users. Additionally the capabilities are often times limited to those of the hardware MCUs.

4) Cloud (software-based) solution – This MCU option is completely software based, can be shared by different types of endpoints for greater interoperability, and can be globally dispersed and hosted in multiple data centers for a broader geographical reach. This is a significant shift from hardware limitations and dependencies. Benefits include rapid feature velocity which allows for rapid scale and more timely support of emerging codecs.  

Take a moment to evaluate your business’ growing needs. Rest assured, there is an MCU for it. Want to learn about the MCU and how it compares to multiplatform video conferencing? Check out the recorded videocast here