REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 5, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today released the final version of Microsoft® NetMeeting
2.1 Internet conferencing software, taking Internet telephony to a new level of quality and expanding on the industry-leading features of NetMeeting for real-time conferencing and communications.
The latest version of Microsoft’s award-winning conferencing and collaboration software supports new multimedia technologies. It also enhances the dataconferencing support in NetMeeting – a key application for corporate users – by improving performance and reducing bandwidth utilization.
“As a core component of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, NetMeeting 2.0 continues to be a tremendous success among customers – and NetMeeting 2.1 takes this success a step further,”
said John Ludwig, vice president, Internet platforms and tools division at Microsoft.
“By making features like Internet telephony and dataconferencing faster and easier to use, Microsoft NetMeeting continues to be the client of choice for standards-based, real-time multimedia collaboration and conferencing on the Internet and corporate intranets.”
Internet Telephony Performance Significantly Boosted With NetMeeting 2.1
Released in April, NetMeeting 2.0 marked the first time that standards-based videoconferencing, Internet telephony and multipoint dataconferencing were integrated in one seamless, easy-to-use product. NetMeeting 2.1 builds on NetMeeting 2.0 by incorporating internal audio tuning enhancements and adding support for the DirectSound® API as part of the DirectX® set of APIs 5.0, which reduces bottlenecks in the design of the PC that can adversely affect the quality of an Internet telephony call.
As a result, the delay of audio transmissions for sending and receiving audio over the Internet and intranets is significantly reduced, improving the experience for users. For example, when a sound card with a compatible DirectSound driver is present on the PC, NetMeeting 2.1 reduces audio latency over a local area network (LAN) by as much as 73 percent compared to NetMeeting 2.0, putting the new release at the top of Internet telephony products for quality and performance. In addition, audio quality is clearer and more continuous, and NetMeeting 2.1 places calls up to 61 percent faster than NetMeeting 2.0.
“Microsoft’s leadership in Internet telephony is a huge boon to customers and vendors throughout the industry,”
said Jeff Pulver, president of Pulver.com, a leading Internet telephony analyst research firm.
“Microsoft was the first company to ship a complete Internet conferencing product that supports the ITU H.323 and T.120 standards, driving the industry to build products based on open standards. Now, with NetMeeting 2.1, Microsoft is once again raising the bar by helping remove one of the biggest obstacles to using voice over the network – poor quality.”
The audio enhancements in NetMeeting 2.1 are expected to spur the growth of real-time Internet telephony within organizations and lead to new applications of audio for real-time communications over the LAN. For example, improved audio quality makes it more practical for organizations to install multipoint audioconference servers that enable users to hold large conference calls and to invest in emerging products that make it possible to place calls from computers to regular telephones connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
“The integration of data, voice and video is the next big phase for the Internet,”
said Sam Kotha, product manager for multimedia technologies at Cisco Systems Inc.
“The combination of advanced services enabled by Cisco IOS software and the enhancements in Microsoft NetMeeting 2.1 provides improved voice and videoconferencing solutions over Internetworks. Our customers need reduced latency and quality improvements in the endpoints, both of which NetMeeting 2.1 offers.”
Internet Conferencing Now Faster, Easier to Use
In addition to enhanced audio performance, Microsoft added a broad range of improvements to NetMeeting 2.1 to make Internet conferencing easier to set up and use. The new enhancements, added in response to customer feedback, include the improved Audio Tuning Wizard, which now provides visual feedback to help users configure speaker volume and microphone sensitivity and to ensure their proper operation. Other enhancements include a new Outlook
Bar and folder list on the left side of the user interface to make NetMeeting use more intuitive for users already familiar with the Microsoft Outlook desktop information manager and Outlook Express.
While Internet telephony is increasingly important to corporate users, dataconferencing remains the key application for intranet and Internet collaboration among organizations – and NetMeeting 2.1 responds by boosting the performance of application sharing and other collaboration features of NetMeeting.
For example, the time required to start up NetMeeting has been reduced by 20 percent, and file transfer performance is as much as 91 percent faster with NetMeeting 2.1. Furthermore, the amount of bandwidth required to use the application-sharing feature on the Windows® 95 operating system has been reduced by as much as 20 percent, addressing concerns expressed by enterprise information systems managers.
NetMeeting 2.1 Supports New Multimedia Technologies to Be Delivered in Windows 98
In addition to its support for DirectX 5.0, NetMeeting 2.1 has been designed to work with several additional new multimedia technologies that will be available in Windows 98. These technologies include Universal Serial Bus (USB) video cameras, making it easier for consumers to install and configure video camera hardware; multiple monitor support, making it easier to use NetMeeting on more than one desktop monitor; and quality-of-service mechanisms such as the Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP), which provides an operating system service that allows NetMeeting to request a specific amount of bandwidth on the network for a consistently higher-quality audio- and videoconferencing experience. In addition to support for Windows 98, NetMeeting 2.1 will be in an upcoming beta release of the Windows NT® operating system version 5.0.
Customers using Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 can take immediate advantage of the improvements in NetMeeting 2.1. NetMeeting 2.1 can be downloaded without charge from the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/netmeeting/ (connect-time charges may apply). To receive the full audio performance benefits, users of Windows 95 can install the DirectSound components of DirectX 5.0 as a separate download from the Microsoft NetMeeting site. More information about DirectX is available from http://www.microsoft.com/directx/ .
NetMeeting 2.1 will be available in 23 international language versions, further supporting the worldwide use of the product. In addition, an updated NetMeeting Resource Kit to assist corporate organizations in their deployment of NetMeeting 2.1 is now available for download from the NetMeeting Web site. For developers, an updated software development kit (SDK) is also now available, providing enhanced documentation, new purpose-specific tutorials, and additional reference material to help software developers integrate the functionality of NetMeeting with their products and services.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, NetMeeting, DirectSound, DirectX, Outlook, Windows and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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