Testing Nefsis Basic

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2010-10-20 Print this article Print


With Nefsis Basic, the video conference only works at a very low resolution, with a maximum 352 by 288 pixels at 15 frames per second. As host, I had some control over the video quality (which could be adjusted as low as 160 by 120 pixels at one frame per second) and the audio quality (which I could switch between narrowband and wideband codecs), and I could control when my remote user's microphone, headphones and Webcam were enabled for use in the call. The video was embossed with a large Nefsis watermark in the lower right corner of both video streams.

In Basic, I could share my host desktop with the participant, with the ability to select which screen if in a multimonitor setup. I could also share documents: Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and text files were all easily shared most of the time. While Nefsis also let me share PDF files, I found the PDFs would sometimes appear garbled on both sides of the call. Other times, the shared PDF would blink rapidly, making it hard to read. And in that case, if I stopped sharing the PDF, the document would still appear on the participant's screen for several minutes, continuously blinking throughout.

Users should be aware that document sharing does require the installation of a Nefsis printer element and that installing the Nefsis printer does require admin rights (or printer add privileges) on the local PC.

I found the host and the remote participant could simultaneously share multiple items; although only one item shows at a time, the host can toggle the view between the items by clicking through the tabs at the bottom of the presenter window.

Basic also offers a chat window, allowing both participants to send instant messages alongside-or instead of-the video and audio portions of the call.

Along the bottom tool bar of Nefsis interface are a number of tools provided to help users troubleshoot problematic calls. From the Audio Settings button, I could select the microphone and speakers to use during the call and adjust the levels of each. I could also enable or disable acoustic echo cancellation.

The System Rating button provides an easy-to-understand assessment of the hardware capabilities of the PC in use. Using a five-bar rating system, the tool evaluates the system's processor speed and its advanced multimedia capabilities. The Secure button gauges the call's transport security, detailing the encryption used to protect the call, while the Connection rating also uses a five-bar system to judge the application's network performance, reporting the port in use (which I found varied between TCP 22, 23, 443 and 37000) and  the high, low and average response times (in milliseconds) over the last minute.

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.

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