Pinging down NetMeeting data channels

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Back in 1999 Darren came up with a cunning plan to make lots of money. The plan was 'device control over the internet'... In summary, we didn't.

Ideally this plan required an audio/visual link as well as a device control link. I decided that doing the audio and video ourselves was too much work and that we'd be better off using the NetMeeting data channel for our device control. We would get the audio/video stuff for free and wouldn't have to worry about things like cameras and microphones. Our intended devices would give us enough to worry about as it was...

So I set out to put a prototype together. I did the prototype in 15 days, only working a couple of hours of 'free time' per day. As is my way, I approached learning the NetMeeting COM API by wrapping it. We were intending to write all of the code in C++ and it was easier to have the COM objects wrapped so that they played nicely in C++ land.

Once I'd wrapped several of the NetMeeting COM objects I decided to make a hybrid C++ object that represented a NetMeeting DataPipe. This object presented an 'easy to use' interface into the NetMeeting data channel. It wrapped up INmManagerNotify, INmConferenceNotify and INmChannelDataNotify and provided virtual function callbacks for connection, disconnection, data flow and errors. The pipe represented a many to one connection over a NetMeeting data channel. All users in a conference could communicate over the data pipe and the wrapper class dealt with all the nastiness of setting up the connection and connecting.

I seem to remember that it was a pain to work out when you could create a data channel connection. You had to wait for the audio and video channels to come up and there was no single callback that indicated that now was a good time to connect...

Anyway, here's the code for my DataPipe test program. It's a simple Ping program that runs over a NetMeeting data channel and allows you to ping all other users in the conference that also have the ping program running. Run the program on two machines. Initiate a NetMeeting connection between the two machines and set the Ping 'Frequency' value to 1 (I think it's seconds...) and hit apply.

The actual device control program became our WebRemote and ControlRemote products, but more on that, and more code, in another post...

7 Comments

I seem to remember it was me that came up with the idea to use Netmeeting for all of the Video and Audio stuff :)

I can't remember. I know I wrote all the application code though... ;)

You expect me to come down from my cloud and get jiggy in the mud?

Blue Sky all the way ;)

Hi Darren,

I'm very interested in using your NMPing tool to reproduce some bugs in our products. Unfortunately, it seems the .zip file is corrupted (Winzip says: 5 bytes missing)

Additionally, do you know of any issues concerning the INmChannelDataNotify::DataReceived event? I've problems receiving data when local and remote use different NetMeeting versions, e.g. 4.4.3385 and 4.4.3398.

Darren's the blue sky marketting type, you wont get any sense out of him ;)

I'll update the zip file later today and post a comment when it's done - this may take me a couple of days if I can't find the actual zip that I uploaded or if it's corrupt here as well.

From some comments in my code I notice that versiond of netmeeting before 4.4.3388 were unable to reconnect the data channel if it was disconnected but the user didn't leave the conference (my code forces the user to quit the conference if they close the app and they're running NM

Hi,

like G.Burgstede i really need some help with netmeeting data channels. i can't seem to come up with a clean way to create them. what i'm doing right now is when sending something if the data channel isn't created (i get error "NM_NOT_T120_CONFERENCE)i try to create it again.

What happens is that if create it manually like with a button it's ok, but i need to create it when my client application starts (in the server this is not as issue).

So could you really post your DataPipe (zip file corrupted) program or at least give me a hint on how to do this? My email is adias@pontoc.pt

Thanks

I've uploaded the zip file again and it seems to be OK now. Sorry about the delay, I forgot about the problem...

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