Microsoft NetMeeting is a discontinued VoIP and multi-point videoconferencing client included in many versions of Microsoft Windows (from Windows 95 OSR2 to Windows XP). It uses the H.323 protocol for videoconferencing, and is interoperable with OpenH323-based clients such as Ekiga, OpenH323, and Internet Locator Service (ILS) as reflector. It also uses a slightly modified version of the T.120 Protocol for whiteboarding, application sharing (or by extension, desktop sharing), and file transfers.
NetMeeting was originally bundled with later versions of Internet Explorer 3, and with Internet Explorer 4. It incorporates technology acquired by Microsoft from UK software developer Data Connection Ltd and DataBeam Corporation (subsequently acquired by Lotus).
Before video service became common on free IM clients, such as Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger, NetMeeting was a popular way to perform video conferences and chatting over the Internet (with the help of public ILS servers, or "direct-dialing" to an IP address). The defunct TechTV channel even used NetMeeting as a means of getting viewers onto their call-in shows via webcam, although viewers had to call on their telephones, because broadband Internet connections were still rare.
NetMeeting uses H.323 standard for videoconferencing: It uses G.723.1 and G.711 standards for audio coding and offers bit-rates between 5.3 kbit/s and 64 kbit/s. For video coding, it uses H.263 standard and supports 30 frames per second. NetMeeting multimedia conferencing sessions over the network are established via RTP, UDP and IP network protocol.
Application sharing, shared whiteboard, chat, and file transfer features use T.120 standard over TCP/IP connections.
As of Windows XP, the Start menu shortcut to NetMeeting was removed “by design”. Users must start
conf.exe manually from the Start menu Run dialog.
As of Windows Vista, NetMeeting is no longer included with Microsoft Windows. NetMeeting can still be installed and run on the 32-bit versions of Windows Vista as Microsoft published an update for 32-bit versions of Windows Vista on March 22, 2007 that installs NetMeeting 3.02 on Windows Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate editions. However, some features are not available in 3.02 such as remote desktop sharing invitations (incoming) and whiteboard area selection. Microsoft has stated that the Vista compatible version is unsupported and is only meant as a transition tool to help support collaboration sessions when used with Windows XP-based computers. On Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate, users have the option of installing Windows XP Mode to gain access to NetMeeting.
Microsoft originally recommended using newer applications such as Meeting Space, Remote Desktop, Remote Assistance, Skype, Microsoft Office Live Meeting and SharedView in place of NetMeeting. All except Remote Desktop, Remote Assistance and Skype have been discontinued and none fully replaced NetMeeting. The secondary whiteboard in NetMeeting 2.1 and later uses H.324 protocol.
Office Communicator, Microsoft Lync, and Skype for Business can be considered the successors to NetMeeting. Like NetMeeting, they support whiteboarding, desktop sharing, and file transfers.