CONFIANCE (CONFerencing IMS-enabled Architecture for Next-generation Communication Experience) is an actual implementation of a conferencing framework compliant with the IP Multimedia Core Network Subsystem (IMS) specifiation. The architecture has been conceived at the outset by taking into account ongoing standardization efforts inside the various active international bodies (IETF, 3GPP, OMA, etc). At its current state, it is capable to provide audio conferencing facilities with session management capabilities and floor control. The system presented is intended to serve as a running experimental testbed useful for protocol testing, as well as field trials and experimentations.
Such platform, which is open source and released under the terms of the GNU General Public License, has been realized in the framework of a collaboration activity involving the University of Napoli Federico II and Ericsson's Nomadic Lab in Helsinki.
We had to work both on the client and on the server side, as well as on the communication protocols between them. On the client side we implemented the two roles envisaged in the IETF XCON (Centralized Conferencing) architecture, namely the simple participant and the chair. On the server side, we implemented the role of the XCON focus. Finally, coming to the communication protocols, besides implementing BFCP (Binary Floor Control Protocol) as it is currently specified in the IETF, we also designed and realized a brand new conferencing text-based control protocol.
On the server side, we adopted Asterisk, an open source PBX. We added to Asterisk the following three new modules:
- An enhanced version of MeetMe, used to manage conferences;
- BFCP, the server side library implementing the floor control protocol;
- Scheduler, the server side component implementing the conference scheduling protocol.
On the client side, instead, we adopted Minisip, an open source SIP softphone, which we made BFCP-enabled and capable to schedule new conferences and join existing ones.
Finally, great efforts have been put in the integration with another project we're carrying on, Distributed Conferencing (DCON). DCON enables the distribution of XCON conferences transparently to users, by means of appropriate information spreading and protocols dispatching. Checkout the related page on Sourceforge for more details (http://dcon.sourceforge.net/), as documentation, slides and IETF drafts.