Web Conferencing Choices on the Rise - Page 5

By Jacqueline Emigh | Posted Jan 14, 2003
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WebEx's "Realtime Switching"

WebEx -- the number one service provider according to both IDC and Frost & Sullivan -- tends to emphasize its "realtime switching" overlay network, which rides on top of the Internet.

"You're passing data in realtime through a switch. Instead of uploading a PowerPoint presentation, you can share the presentation spontaneously through the WebEx switch. The content won't be stored [elsewhere], and it won't be persistent in any way," maintained David Thompson, VP of worldwide marketing.

"We have a lot of control on the back end. We can detect what kind of connection you're on -- fast or slow -- and which client platform you're on. We can throttle the bandwidth and route you to the best hub." Big enterprise customers include Verizon and Boeing, among many others.

Burr Wolf: "WebEx Better than Citrix"

Burr Wolf, another customer, first turned to WebEx as a manageable way of interfacing remotely with customers. Previously, the company used a Citrix terminal server.

"Citrix, though, requires a not insignificant amount of access through the firewall. Furthermore, its connectivity features require several ports to be open at a time. Citrix just wasn't conducive to our purposes. About 25 percent of the time, we needed to call in an IT administrator to open up a port," Harris recalled.

The software specialist also took a look at NetMeeting. "There are security holes, though, in IM, and network managers have come to realize this. Consequently, a lot of our customers are starting to ban products like Instant Messenger," he added.

On the customer support side, WebEx enables Burr Wolf staffers to share applications on end users' desktops. "Sometimes, users don't explain a problem in language a support person understands."

Meanwhile, WebEx keeps improving its Web conferencing offering, according to Harris."What we like best about WebEx is its simplicity. WebEx has continued to bring out enhancements, too. The [WebEx] client keeps getting thinner and thinner, which helps out with firewall issues. Stage by stage, the visual look-and-feel gets better, too."

Since first starting out with WebEx, Burr Wolf has begun holding regional meetings over the Web. "This has reduced our travel expenses," Harris affirmed.

Page 6: More Manageability Around the Corner?

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