This section describes the auxiliary components that support the key components of Exchange Conferencing Server: Outlook calendar, conference window, conference calendar mailbox, and conference access pages.
You can schedule online conferences using Outlook 2000. You must invite a conference resource for the meeting. This is the virtual meeting room in which the conference is held. Outlook 2000 reserves the conference resource before sending prospective attendees conference invitations. For procedures on scheduling an online conference, see your Exchange Conferencing Server online documentation.
A link (URL) to the online conference is included in the invitations that conference participants receive. To join the conference, attendees can access this link with a browser. Outlook 2000 users receive a conference reminder for the online conference that includes a Join Conference option, which users can click to join the conference. You can also join a conference by right-clicking the meeting in your Outlook calendar, and then click Join Conference.
Online conference organizers who cannot book online conferences directly using Outlook 2000 can use previous versions of Outlook or Outlook Web Access. Using these applications, you can invite the conference resource as a conference attendee. You cannot, however, identify the conference as private using these applications, as you can with Outlook 2000. Thus, uninvited attendees can join the conference. In addition, the conference location, or URL link, is not automatically included in the initial conference invitation. Instead, you must forward the URL to all conference attendees. This URL is included in the conference accept message from Conference Management Service.
When you join a conference, your browser displays a conference window. The conference window is customized according to the conference technology providers used and whether participants access the conference before, during, or after the scheduled time of the conference. The left frame of the conference window, the conference panel, displays general information about the conference. The conference window includes one or more additional frames, each of which is associated with a specific conference technology provider. The set of conference technologies available in a conference is defined by the conference resource that the organizer selects when scheduling the conference.
The conference panel includes:
Additionally, the following links to other Web pages (depending on configuration) are available for the conference organizer:
The conference window displays a warning to participants five minutes before the end of the conference. At the end of the five-minute period participants are disconnected from conference resources, unless the administrator configures a grace period and the conference technology providers honor it. Grace periods allow attendees to arrive early or leave late. Grace periods apply to all scheduled conferences on the site.
Each conferencing site requires a conference calendar mailbox assigned to Conference Management Service. You must assign the mailbox before a conference organizer can schedule an online conference using conference resources.
For performance reasons, you should place the conference calendar mailbox on a server running Exchange that is as close as possible to the conferencing server hosting Conference Management Service — or preferably on the same server if Exchange and Exchange Conferencing Server are installed on the same server. The conference calendar mailbox stores scheduled online conferences as single entries. Each entry defines the properties of the conference, such as the security level and conference participants. Some conference technology providers also use the conference calendar mailbox to store additional information associated with an online conference; for example, Video Conferencing Provider stores the description of the multicast video conference.
Each conferencing site’s instance of Conference Management Service has a Web site that hosts the conference access pages. All conference participants access these pages, which also include a list of links to public conferences. You can select one of these links to attend the conference.
Because all conference participants must retrieve pages from this Web site, the site’s network address must be accessible to all users. If this includes attendees from the Internet, the conference access pages must be available over the Internet as well.