I would also like to know if a premium license comes with better bandwidth and less likely freezing up or disappearance of the join button, slow joining, slow echo testing etc...
Our high school received a quote and I was told it was a big chunk of money for 1,000 students per year to be on simultaneously. Does that sound correct, especially when google meet is free?
I am the product manager for BigBlueButton. While I work at Blindside Networks, the company that provides hosting for Canvas Conferences to Instructure, and can't speak on behalf of Instructure, I can respond to your question.
The pricing is based on capacity. Which is to say, the more simultaneous users/sessions you need to have running at once, the more server capacity needed to support it.
It's really hard to predict what the next 12 months will look like. I would recommend going back to your CSM and inquire about a shorter time period -- maybe just to the end of the year.
There are other options for virtual classrooms, and we encourage you to explore them. We position Canvas Conferences as having a deep integration, focus on engagement, and providing analytics at the end of each recorded session.
We do find that if instructors have been using Conferences for a while, they get comfortable with the above and that means less ongoing support effort for the school.
Again, please do check out other options. We already provide Canvas Conferences on the Free Tier at no cost to customers (with limitations of 10 concurrent sessions). Also, Canvas Conferences is built upon BigBlueButton, which is an open source project that anyone in the world can run without paying for the software.
At the end of the day, if you think Canvas Conferences are a better solution, talk with your CSM. We can't promise free for the Premium Tier, but we will do our best.
(I also moonlight as the CEO of Blindside Networks)
Thank you for your response. Isn't Big Blue Button Premium open source? So can you just install the software on our school's servers and link it up with Canvas? Is it correct that you just really need a hosting server that can support the number of users? That would save on yearly costs, right?
You are welcome to setup your own BigBlueButton server if you want!
There are a few changes you need to make to BigBlueButton's configuration to make it integrate with Canvas. We made a knowledge base article for these changes.
A single BigBlueButton server can handle about 200 concurrent users in a session (recommend that no single room have more than 100 users). If you want to setup a pool of BigBlueButton server (let's say 5 servers for 1,000 concurrent users, probably make it 7 just to have a bit more capacity), we've open sourced a solution for load balancing a pool of BigBlueButton servers as well (see scalelite).
On the Premium Tier hosting, you'll get recordings as videos, ability to invite users into sessions, and analytics. As well as not worrying about running/updating your own server.
Thanks Fred. We would likely use a hosting service that can provide multiple servers then. I assume the premium aspects too would be included in a software installation and by using a hosting service. For example, I found this website: Big Blue Meeting + Big Blue Manager - BigBlueButton Hosting . At the bottom, they have pricing for 1,000 users.
Not sure what is going on with our pricing, but Zoom was quoted to us at $24,000 less per year than going through our Canvas rep for BigBlue Premium. I am not the one obtaining the quotes so I hope it is accurate.