Videoconferences: Technical Requirements

Videoconferences offered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) are made possible through the use of low-bandwidth
videoconferencing technology using ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) data, or IP (Internet Protocol) lines.

To participate, you will need the following capabilities:

  • Access to one or more BRI (2B+D) ISDN lines. (A BRI ISDN line is two bearer channels at 56 Kb/s or 64 Kb/s per line and one 16 Kb/s data channel. ISDN service can be obtained from your local telephone company. A typical videoconference uses three ISDN lines, but from one to four ISDN lines can be used. Video quality improves as more ISDN lines are used.)
  • One Network Terminator Adapter (NT1) per ISDN line. Available from your local telephone company.
  • One H.320-compatible videoconferencing system. The videoconferencing system may be either a
    • Fully integrated desktop or room system available from manufacturers such as Polycom, PictureTel, or VTEL.
    • Component system built around an existing Pentium-class personal computer with an installed video conference kit. These kits are also available from manufacturers such as Polycom, PictureTel, or VTEL.

Once you confirm that your organization has access to the appropriate low-bandwidth videoconferencing equipment, you must conduct a test call to the National Archives at least 1 week before the event to test the systems' compatibility.

If a test call has not been completed 72 hours prior to the event, the event will be considered canceled, and we will contact you to determine if you wish to reschedule.

To schedule the test call and for additional technical information, please contact:

Education Team
(P): 202-357-5077
(F): 202-357-5469

  • The number for the land line in our videoconference room is:

Your school or sponsoring organization will initiate and fund the call to the National Archives. There are no other charges for the event.