We recommend that schools run tests of video call module before using it for real parents’ evenings, to ensure it will work as well as can be on the day.
It is also vital that networks/firewalls are configured to ‘allow’ the video calls to take place on the school’s network and teacher ‘devices’ (see more on this at the bottom of this article).
The two tests we suggest are below:
Test One: Run a Network test using the Twilio Network Tester:
Please also note the information at the bottom of this post about information for your IT team.
Test Two: Test with Teachers
Schools should check that the devices teachers plan to use are compatible with the video call technology. This can be done simply by asking teachers to login to their Parents Booking account and click the ‘Video Settings’ button on their Dashboard. This will allow them to test their internet browser is compatible, and that their webcam and microphone work. Teachers can also run the ‘network test’ detailed in Test One above.
The instructions (PDF file) for teachers on how to join the video calls goes into further detail on internet browser and device compatibility.
This blog post details how to set up a more cumbersome but in-depth test, where you set up fake parent accounts and have teachers and ‘fake parents’ book appointments between each other.
Information for your IT/server team:
Media / UDP Network Settings :
– Schools need to allow Port 443 / HTTPS traffic and IT/network teams should be aware these video calls will happen over an encrypted peer-to-peer (P2P) connection, making any network adjustments required.
– Ensure *.Twilio.com URLs are whitelisted.
– Crucially, we advise whitelisting the most local “media servers” from this list of Twilio IP address ranges. You can also go to your school’s Parents Booking ‘admin area’ > Set Up School page > Preferences page button (bottom left corner, orange button) and choose a region to match the IPs you have whitelisted, rather than using the default “Global Low Latency”, if you want to be certain about which IPs should be whitelisted and will be used.
– Smoothwall/firewall users should add Twilio.com to ‘authentication exceptions’ in Smoothwall’s policies. Some Smoothwall users have also had to modify the’ default outgoing policy’ to allow ‘any internal interfaces’ to access ‘any external interfaces’.
– Our video meetings through Twilio.com generate lots of UDP connections, which school firewalls (or ISP DDOS blocking software) may well be setup to block/drop if they consider them to be a UDP flood attack, and we have seen this on rare occasions. Consider disabling UDP flood protection, or adding Twilio.com as an exception to this part of your firewall, if you find (while using the Twilio Network Test) that the number of UDP connections allowed is much lower than it should be, or if video/audio quality is poor during real video meetings (because these should be crystal clear). Video meetings with anything less than a perfect video, or where the audio and video are not in sync, should be taken as a clue to some sort of disruption caused possibly by a factor such as this.
– We’re also aware that adding chunderw-vpc-gll.twilio.com into to the SSL Inspection exceptions for a firewall has been of significant help to some schools, including those who use Sophos SG UTM as their firewall.
Information for Edinburgh Council schools:
At the time of writing schools/teachers should not use the LTAD network for their view meetings as this seems to be blocking the video meetings (although it does seem to work at some schools). Please advise teachers to use either the LTAP_P or LT_Open networks.
Information for HP Laptops/Computers
One school has reported that where there were issues with the camera and mic not working on HP laptops and computers, this was resolved by removing the Cyberlink YouCam application.