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Last week we talked broadly about the different MCU options in the video conferencing market. Now we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of each alternative. 

Standalone Hardware: One of the more common and traditional MCU options is standalone hardware. These devices are generally deployed on-premise. Though newer options come bundled with additional port capacity which can be opened up by software licensing, in most cases, it’s limited by finite capacity upgrades. Additionally because it’s hardware, feature updates are fewer and hard to come by. It also demands a dedicated resources to manage and operate, hence adding OPEX overheads. Nonetheless, some of the vendors are adding interoperability support as well as firewall traversal to support multipoint videoconferencing.

Hybrid: The hybrid option is deployed as two distinct models: a service provider hosts standalone on-premise hardware in the cloud, whereas the second one involves a customer complementing their existing video infrastructure with a cloud-based solution to meet growth demands. When compared to a standalone hardware option, it definitely involves less CAPEX and in most cases easier to use when offered as a service. It also limits additional CAPEX as you scale. Still, there are dependencies that arise; capacity, performance, features and resiliency are capped by the underlying hardware powering the solution. 

Cloud: The cloud option by far is the most advantageous and cost-effective option. It involves almost no CAPEX and very limited OPEX. Service offerings are designed by keeping in mind the end user – easy to use and ubiquitously accessible anywhere you have web access. Scalability is no longer an issue – cloud-based infrastructure allows you to scale on-demand. As a SaaS offering, updates and feature enhancements are easy and frequent. Additionally the flexibility of a software-based solution allows providers to easily integrate and extend features around interoperability, complex transcoding, quality of service enhancements and more importantly, the ability to adapt to a changing technology landscape.  Finally, perhaps the biggest benefit is its ease of use, both from a maintenance and user perspective.

Want to learn more about MCUs? Check out our recorded videocast here.