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Deploying media servers for WebRTC has two major challenges, scaling beyond a single server as well as optimizing the media latency for all users in the conference. While simple sharding approaches like “send all users in conference X to server Y” are easy to scale horizontally, they are far from optimal in terms of the media latency which is a key factor in the user experience. Distributing a conference to a network of servers located close to the users and interconnected with each other on a reliable backbone promises a solution to both problems at the same time. Boris Grozev from the Jitsi team describes the cascading SFU problem in-depth and shows their approach as well as some of the challenges they ran into. ...

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If you plan to have multiple participants in your WebRTC calls then you will probably end up using a Selective Forwarding Unit (SFU).  Capacity planning for SFU’s can be difficult – there are estimates to be made for where they should be placed, how much bandwidth they will consume, and what kind of servers you need.

To help network architects and WebRTC engineers make some of these decisions, webrtcHacks contributor Dr. Alex Gouaillard and his team at CoSMo Software put together a load test suite to measure load vs. video quality. They published their results for all of the major open source WebRTC SFU’s. This suite based is the Karoshi Interoperability Testing Engine (KITE) Google funded and uses on webrtc.org to show interoperability status. The CoSMo team also developed a machine learning based video quality assessment framework optimized for real time communications scenarios. ...

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You don’t need to fit an SFU opponent when testing simulcast. Image: Hall of Mirrors scene from Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon

Simulcast is one of the more interesting aspects of WebRTC for multiparty conferencing. In a nutshell, it means sending three different resolution (spatial scalability) and different frame rates (temporal scalability) at the same time. Oscar Divorra’s post contains the full details.

Usually, one needs a SFU to take advantage of simulcast. But there is a hack to make the effect visible between two browsers — or inside a single page. This is very helpful for single-page tests or fiddling with simulcast features, particular the ability to enable only certain spatial layers or to control the target bitrate of a particular stream. ...

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Atlassian’s HipChat acquired BlueJimp, the company behind the Jitsi open source project. Other than for positive motivation, why should WebRTC developers care? Well, Jitsi had its Jitsi Video Bridge (JVB) which was one of the few open source Selective Forwarding Units (SFU) projects out there. Jitsi’s founder and past webrtcHacks guest author, Emil Ivov, was a major advocate for this architecture in both the standards bodies and in the public. As we have covered in the past, SFU’s are an effective way to add multiparty video to WebRTC. Beyond this one component, Jitsi was also a popular open source project for its VoIP client, XMPP components, and much more. ...

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SDP has been a frequent topic, both here on webrtcHacks as well as in the discussion about the standard itself. Modifying the SDP in arcane ways is referred to as SDP munging. This post gives an introduction into what SDP munging is, why its done and why it should not be done. This is not a guide to SDP munging.

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When running WebRTC at scale, you end up hitting issues and frequent regressions. Being able to quickly identify what exactly broke is key to either preventing a regression from landing in Chrome Stable or adapting your own code to avoid the problem. Chrome’s bisect-builds.py tool makes this process much easier than you would suspect. Arne from appear.in gives you an example of how he used this to workaround an issue that came up recently.
{“editor”, “Philipp Hancke“}

In this post I am going to provide a blow-by-blow account of how a change to Chrome triggered a bug in appear.in and how we went about determining exactly what that change was. ...

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Thanks to work initiated by Google Project Zero, fuzzing has become a popular topic within WebRTC since late last year.  It was clear WebRTC was lacking in this area. However, the community has shown its strength by giving this topic an immense amount of focus and resolving many issues.  In a previous post, we showed how to break the Janus Server RTCP parser. The Meetecho team behind Janus did not take that lightly. They got to the bottom of what turned out to be quite a big project. In this post Alessandro Toppi of Meetecho will walk us through how they fixed this problem and built an automated process to help make sure it doesn’t happen again. ...

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It has been a few years since the WebRTC codec wars ended in a detente. H.264 has been around for more than 15 years so it is easy to gloss over the the many intricacies that make it work.

Reknown hackathon star, live-coder, and |pipe| CTO Tim Panton was working on a drone project where he needed a light-weight H.264 stack for WebRTC, so he decided to build one. This is certainly not an exercise I would recommend for most, but Tim shows it can be an enlightening experience if not an easy one. In this post, Tim walks us through his step-by-step discovery as he just tries to get video to work. Check it out for an enjoyable alternative to reading through RFCs specs for an intro on H.264! ...

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It has been more than a year since Apple first added WebRTC support to Safari. My original post reviewing the implementation continues to be popular here, but it does not reflect some of the updates since the first limited release. More importantly, given its differences and limitations, many questions still remained on how to best develop WebRTC applications for Safari.

I ran into Chad Phillips at Cluecon (again) this year and we ended up talking about his arduous experience making WebRTC work on Safari. He had a great, recent list of tips and tricks so I asked him to share it here. ...

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