WebRTC Explained

WebRTC Is Changing Communication

Explanation of WebRTC; What it is and why it's changing the way we will communicate

WebRTC open source peer to peer comunications through your browser.WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communications) is an open source project started in 2011 as a way to use the power of the web to revolutionize communication. It's an API based on HTML5 and JavaScript that uses the browser and mobile platforms to communicate using a common set of protocols without having to install additional plugins or software. WebRTC essentially offers an open framework including the building blocks that enables Real Time Communications, such as network, audio and video components that are used in voice and video chat applications in the browser for high-quality communications. WebRTC is supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera. The API and underlying protocols are being developed jointly at the W3C and IETF.

WebRTC, not being an application, can be thought of as the framework for great new solutions that can be developed without needing or having to download plugins or other special apps. With WebRTC any device with a browser can be enabled for real-time peer-to-peer communications where one device can establish communication with another device just using the browser thereby deceasing latency. As more communication businesses embrace the benefits of real-time communication we will see WebRTC companies start to take integral roles within the VoIP industry which will incorporate these advances into their products and solutions. Some hosted VoIP providers are already integrating WebRTC, starting with voice after which they plan in the future to move to file transfers and video.
WebRTC mandates encryption which secures communication while still supporting the most popular high quality audio and video codecs. Instant communication through websites and video conferencing is proving to become a major piece of communication development, adding enormous capabilities to companies that currently only offer voice products. This convenient technology makes meeting and then connecting easier than ever. Adding the ability to manage calls directly through the web UI and integrate a call link into a website to enable easy access to free calls for customers offers an outstanding advantage.

Grandstream already uses WebRTC with IPVideoTalk their cloud-based video, audio, and web conferencing service that allows users to engage in meetings from anywhere at anytime from most browsers and communication devices. Well designed, easy to use this product already received a WebRTC Product of the Year Award. Hosted VoIP companies are embracing WebRTC, with both OnSip and RingCentral already winning accolades for outstanding achievements. Google and FaceBook already implement WebRTC in their chats.

WebRTC - open source Peer to peer communications through your browser.

Here's the steps for a session with WebRTC:

  • API
  • Identify- The requesting party reaches out to the requested party who either accepts.
  • Type of Data- The type of session is defined, voice, video or data.
  • Nat transversal- Using STUN both endpoints need to be reached for peer to peer media transfer through firewalls and NAT transversal decreasing latency. (TURN servers are used to relay traffic if a direct peer to peer connection fails.)
  • Security- Encryption that is demanded by WebRTC.
  • Codec- Codecs are negotiated.
Some Challenges for WebRTC

WebRTC uses UDP, just like VoIP. UDP, unlike TCP, does not require an acknowledgement making it faster. It sends a continuous stream where some packets may be lost. With voice or video these packets are discarded, the end result being negligible. Conversations and video pictures are still usable if packet loss is low. However when sending data files or documents, any packets that are lost can corrupt the entire document, which becomes a major challenge to overcome.

Video conferencing is taking a big step forward with WebRTC. However, bandwidth capacity will remain to be of particular importance, especially for video communication due to its greater requirements.

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