Tom's Web

(DRAFT) --- NetMeeting for the First Time User --- (DRAFT)
by Tom Bruce

The information provided below is only a personal set of notes about NetMeeting and *Not* meant to be either complete or detailed .. 'sides .. I couldn't write a detailed set notes about NetMeeting .. if I tried. 


   Question:   PANIC !!! .. Panic !!! .. So What is this all about?

ANSWER: NetMeeting is (roughly) a free phone-like Internet-communications package provided by Microsoft. But just to say it is phone-software, is an oversimplification. It also allows you to set up a conference phone-call amoung friends; share the development of an on-line document, a spreadsheet or the execution of any Windows or DOS application; exchange text information while talking; and send continuous video between users.  It is free, complete and supported at:


where you can download it (.. look in the upper-right area of the screen for the download-clickable).

.. and a NetMeeting (on-line) primer can be found at:

.. and MS's NetMeeting resource kit at:

Also you should know that "NetMeeting" is a "hot-topic" in the Internet world.  Features, services, and vendors will change rapidly .. but you can keep up-to-date by joining the NetMeeting discussion list and checking out the official NetMeeting meeting place, often (see Resources, below)

Remember, these are informal notes that I made while setting up and using NetMeeting ..  

.. So please .. don't panic!

'cause it really isn't that difficult. You don't have to do much. It just that it takes alot of writing to explain even the simple "what" and "why" of getting NetMeeting ready to use.  You don't have to use all of the features.  Now is it important to get on this techy "learning curve" .. now and for the future?

Well .. NetMeeting is important if you visualize a time when most forms of non-direct communication will be integrated over the Internet .. i.e. text, phone, radio, video etc.  If this is the case .. NetMeeting can do these now

.. but this technology is bandwidth dependant.  Although it works .. it is not without problems.

First, read these notes over .. just to get the general idea.  Once you have NetMeeting installed, just do the few items (marked, below) and remember .. Most .. *MOST* of the setup options will be obvious.

.. yes .. There are a few options that can stop the casual user .. because of the computer jargon.

.. but .. Not to worry .. I've supplied the normal answer for these options.

It is most important that you get a NetMeeting connection--between friends, going ASAP .. get some basic experience, then expand your use, later, as you feel comfortable with this stuff.

It works well .. once NetMeeting is operational all you have to do is:

  • Run NetMeeting
  • Check to see if your friend is "Logged On" (in the SpeedDial Directory)
  • Click on the name you want to call
  • Wait .. a sec for the connection
  • And .. start talking !

As long as you already have an ISP account, the NetMeeting software package will allow you to make free phone-like calls via the Internet to friend/s. There are no other phone or Internet charges.

Yes .. there are other specialized sound software packages. For example, "PureVoice" allows you to send sound-messages to an email address .. It works well and this valued feature is *not* supported by NetMeeting. There are other similar audio-phone packages. Each has cut out its own "nitch." NetMeeting has many utility-features that can be useful beyond the simple phone-call application .. and besides, it is simple to setup and use. 

But .. I do not know if there are other vendors out there who are making essentially the same product.

As usual, it takes more effort to write this "basics intro" down than it takes to "do" them. The basic setup and use of NetMeeting is really rather easy .. once you get past the computer-jargon in only a few options .. and I will help you with this.

There are other useful features--not mentioned herein--and which lend themselves to either a business use or more extended use.

... back to top

Now .. some computer jargon .. "So What is an "ils server?"

"ils servers" act as directories of current on-line users .. so when you have your NetMeeting "On" .. others can see that you are ready for a call .. and visa versa.

ps  You also have the option of setting .. "Do Not Disturb"

NetMeeting comes with a default list of ils-servers (approx. 12) but there are more scattered throughout the world.  Probably your ISP will eventually have this feature. 

Examples are:


*** You will, normally, choose at least one ils server ***

A list of ils servers can be found at: List of ils servers & Good List  .. and these lists will change, rapidly


Here are some details about "ils servers"
.. but .. you can skip these section .. 'til later.

by Brian Sullivan (?)

(This description of the ils server concept was taken from a URL, "Meetingbywire," at:

"Most users of the internet are on dial up lines - not connected all the time. Each time they connect their IP addresses change (the IP address is at the heart of the internet -- all location information ultimately gets translated to IP address and computers intercommunicate using that as an address).

In order for potential calling computers to connect to you, they must have two pieces of information:

they must know that you are online or connected

they must know your current IP address

The ILS servers supply the function of providing this information. When you "Log on" to an ILS server you are telling the ILS server that you (identified by your supplied email address) are connected to the internet, that you are at a certain IP address (a current bug in NetMeeting actually records the incorrect IP address if you are on an IP enabled LAN but connected through a dial up line) and that you are running NetMeeting and able to field calls. Now potential callers need know only two fixed pieces of information to call you:

. the ILS server that you are logged into or would log into if you are online

. the supplied email address.

The ILS server you choose to use need bear no relationship geographically to where you are -- all that is necessary is that your potential callers know which you will log in to.

The ILS server knows whether or not you are online and if you are what your current IP address is. People can now register you in their speed dial list and know if you are callable. Please note that you can "log in" to an ILS server without appearing in the viewable directory so that only associates that know the ILS server and email address you supplied can find you.

Besides allowing other users to contact you the ILS has a completely separate but parallel function - it lets you know when other users are on line and lets you contact them. These users need not be on the same ILS as you (if in fact you are "logged in" to any ILS). You can determine if they are on-line, some characteristics about their system (do they have sound and or a video sending capability), and the information they supplied about their location etc. You can initiate a call to them.

Once a call has been initiated to a user the ILS is no longer involved -- all communication is between the participating computers."
-- END --


NetMeeting comes with Microsoft operating systems (such as: WIN95/98/NT) .. however, I strongly suggest that you download the latest version .. since this technology has been changing, rapidly.

.. and use any Internet search engine with the keyword "NetMeeting" to find other NetMeeting-related help and resources. Such as:

  • a NetMeeting discussion list at:
  • 3rd party vendor for related software
  • I recommend that you take a look at the following URL for a much better review of what NetMeeting (and other telephony) technology is all about. It also contains tutorials, and other resources and links related to this technology.

.. and contains a NetMeeting Primer at:

... back to top




... back to top

Basic Requirements

You will need:

because ...
a directional microphone might reduce "feedback" into your Speakers. 

still ...
if "feedback" is a problem, then I suggest that you use good-quality earphones ... but this will limit you to a one-on-one phone connection.

Some Suggestions  (.. but not necessary) ...

... back to top

Limitations and Strategies

I have tried both a 28.8 baud modem and a 56K modem (fax/voice) ... and NetMeeting works adequately with both types of  modems.  However, with the 28.8 baud rate, I had trouble running some of the multiple features, concurrently (e.g. audio + image file transfer)

I am not sure about this: .. but to facilitate communication between friends and retain some privacy (see next item), I ask my friends all to use the *SAME* "ils-server" .. and .. use only the SpeedDial Directory.

In this way, *we* can see who is "logged On" at any time .. without searching through a large external directory of names.

***I do not know how*** to cross-correlate calls across multiple ils servers .. if this is even possible.

Again .. I prefer not to let may name appear in any public ils-directory (see this option, below). 

To facilitate this, I list only the people that I wish to talk to .. in my local "SpeedDial" directory .. and use only this local directory to see who is "Logged On" or not. For personal use, I see no need for other directories.

Note: There is another (free) on-line service known as "ICQ" which can be used to indicate to you--or others on the list, only-- who is  currently "Logged On." 

In addition, There is a special version of ICQ designed for NetMeeting. This service still requires that you have a ICQ-ID .. which you must send to your friend/s. If your use of NetMeeting is limited .. rather than public/customer/etc .. I see no need to use ICQ.

I will eventually test this add-on service.

ils server identification is a "hot-topic" .. so .. expect alot of changes in the future.

Sound quality is directly related to the quality of your microphone and speaker/earphone system

... back to top

Panic, Problem & Procedures

Suppose you are connected .. and have been talking to a friend .. then the audio stops (don't know why.)

What to do:
Immediately bring up the "chat" or "whiteboard-feature" feature and continue exchanging written messages .. to figure out what to do next.

If the Audio quits on you--for no apparent reason (don't know why), the best way to correct this situation is for both parties to leave NetMeeting (completely) and make the call again. This only takes a few seconds and clears the connection.

... and here we go ...

... back to top

-- The Setup --


*** Remember .. when in doubt *** check it out .. on the "HELP"

Now To Setup NetMeeting for the First Time

First:  Create a local directory for all NetMeeting file transfers

e.g.   D:\$NetMeeting        (example name, only)


Next:  Make sure that you have all of your latest Sound Card updates loaded


don't let this stop you from proceeding with the installation of NetMeeting .. that is unless a problem occurs.

Finally .. Run the following NetMeeting and Setup the following options:

Now .. bring up NetMeeting



<Audio Tuning Wizard>   (Be sure your Microphone is connected when you run this option)

Use this option only if your Sound Card supports "full duplex"



[My Information]


Server Name:    (suggestion: select only one ils server name .. between friends)




To add a name (actually eMail address) of a friend to your local SpeedDial directory:

All you need is their eMail address
(repeat for each person you want on your call-list)

<SpeedDial>    (This Icon is located on the upper or lower Horizontal Tool Bar)

    Address:     aaa@bbb.ccc
Call Using:     Directory Server

To place a Call:


<SpeedDial>    <This the default "Directory Icon" Located on the left-Vertical Tool Bar, only)

  • Check to make sure your person is "Logged On"
  • Click on one of the names
  • Wait until the connection is made and start talking


<Call>    (This "Action Icon" is located on the lower-Horizontal Tool Bar)

  • Enter a new .. eMail Address
  • Use "Directory Server," as is!


<Call>    (This "Action Label" is located on the upper-Horizontal Tool Bar)


<New Call> 

  • (as described, above)

... back to top

-- The End--