Barco ClickShare in-depth technology information

Chris Fitzsimmons delves deeper into the technologies behind Barco's new ClickShare offering to find out how it works and exactly what it can do.

Although we were unfortunately unable to attend the launch of Barco’s new ClickShare solution last week, we were extremely intrigued by the announcement. It marks a sharp change of direction for the company in terms of creating a stand-alone appliance rather than a systems product.

However, details in the release materials were pretty sparse and there was no mention at all of how the product actually worked. With that in mind we sent Barco a detailed set of questions to which answers are below.

1. What is the underlying technology behind ClickShare?
Wherever possible, we have used commercially available and well established standard technologies and protocols such as WiFi and USB. Where needed and/or appropriate, we have improved or extended those standards with proprietary technology. 

2. What packaging system is used to transmit the signals wirelessly?
The wireless transmission is done using IEEE802.11n WiFi on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, using WPA2 encryption. The video streams generated by our proprietary screen scraping technology are encoded and encrypted using proprietary extensions of standard protocols. This gives us the advantage of seamless integration in even the most demanding IT environments.

3. What resolution is supported by ClickShare?
The maximum output resolution to the display of ClickShare is WUXGA (1920*1200). Lower resolutions are available as well.
The average laptop resolution of 3 Megapixel can be handled by the system.
The theoretical limitation on the input resolution is higher.

4. Are the user devices powered by USB or do they require additional power?
They are powered by USB and have no batteries inside.

5. What frequency band does the wireless work on? (Standard 2.4Ghz etc.)
We offer both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz frequency band. Within those bands, we offer a wide range of channels according to the availability in specific countries. Used bandwidth and channels can be fixed, so that IT managers have full control of the system within their IT landscape.

6. Does it use WiFi and does this risk interference from other Wireless network devices?
It is very unlikely that WiFi interference will limit the performance of ClickShare or other devices within its immediate proximity. This is because ClickShare strictly adheres to the standards and regulations in place, and works in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band.  Within each band, we offer many channels to choose from according to the country code where the unit is deployed. This means that IT managers have all the tools they need to optimally and seamlessly fit the ClickShare units in the available infrastructure. Moreover, the system only uses limited bandwidth (typically 1Mbit/s, rarely maximum 30Mbit/s).

7. What is the effective range of one of the transmitters?
The typical maximum distance recommended for WiFi connections depends on the used band and environmental parameters. Typical values are 50m in free air for the 2.4 GHz band and 30m in free air for the 5 GHz band. When installed in for example a false ceiling or inside a cabinet, this distance will be shorter.

8. Can multiple base stations co-exist without interfering with each other?
Yes, every ClickShare base station has its own identity (SSID) and every ClickShare Button is uniquely “paired” to a single base station. This “pairing” is done by briefly connecting a Button to the USB port at the front of the base station to which one wants to pair the Button. In that step, all required information for a Button to find its base unit is stored in the Button. 

9. Is the system compatible with collaboration tools such as interactive whiteboard solutions?
The first release of ClickShare can share the content of laptops running on Windows or Mac OS/X. Sharing content of the interactive whiteboard is not supported.

10. What operating systems / computer specifications are supported? (ie windows or Mac OSX versions)
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS/X 10.6, Mac OS/X 10.6 and 10.7.