Guide

Conference calling is a multi-billion dollar industry that is mostly powered by expensive, high-powered conferencing servers. Now you can replicate much of this functionality for free with a modern browser using the combination of WebRTC and WebAudio.

Like with video, multi-party audio can utilize a few architectures:

  1. Full mesh – each client sends their audio to every other client; the individual streams are then combined locally before they come out of your speaker
  2. Mixed with a conferencing server acting as a Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) – the MCU combines each stream and sends a single set to each client
  3. Routed with a conferencing server in a Selective Forwarding Unit (SFU) mode – each client sends a single stream to the server where it is replicated and sent to the others

This architecture represents a fourth type: client-mixed type where one of the clients acts like the server. This provides the server-less benefits of mesh conferencing without the excessive bandwidth usage and stream management challenges. ...

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Session Description Protocol (SDP) is a fundamental, but very unintuitive concept behind how WebRTC works today. Its no wonder that the Anatomy of a WebRTC SDP post and the interactive SDP guide by Quobis CTO, Antón Román has been so popular here on webrtcHacks. With all things WebRTC, things have changed and we were due for an update.

We also had some rendering issues on the interactive guide. After failing to figure out how to fix it, I decided to completely rewrite it. It is still has some issues, so please make your pull requests to fix and update it on our github repo here. ...

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Two weeks ago Microsoft’s Bernard Aboba (and former webrtcHack’s interviewee) gave an update on Edge’s ORTC and WebRTC at the Microsoft Build conference. He covered some big topics including VP8 and WebRTC 1.0 support. You can see the update video at the link above or read the follow-up post for details. Then last week Microsoft announced plug-in free Skype on the Edge browser.

I had some questions; Fippo had some questions; so we asked Bernard if he could publicly respond here. It turned out Bernard and his teammate on the Edge Browser team, Shijun Sun, were building a running list of questions they wanted to address too. Here it is. ...

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Losing customers because of issues with your network service is a bad thing. Sure you can gather data and try to prevent, but isn’t it better to prevent issues in the first place? What are the most common pitfalls to look out for? What’s a good benchmark? What WebRTC-specific user experience elements should you spend your limited resources focusing on? No service can be perfect, so what is a reasonable error rate? These are all tough questions to answers without decent industry data.

Fortunately Lasse Lumiaho and Varun Singh from callstats.io have agreed to share some stats from their WebRTC monitoring service to help you answer these questions.  Their service does not monitor every WebRTC service,  but their 100+ customer base does provide a statistically meaningful sample to help give you some practical metrics for planning and comparison. ...

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Back in October 2013,  the relative early days of WebRTC, I set out to get a better understanding of the getUserMedia API and camera constraints in one of my first and most popular posts. I discovered that working with getUserMedia constraints was not all that straight forward. A year later I gave an update after the situation with Chrome was greatly improved, but Firefox at the time effectively only supported a single resolution so constraints were not much help. Specifically, I am interested in understanding what happens when you ask for a specific resolution. You might want to have a specific resolution returned by getUserMedia if you want to match the camera resolution to a specific video area to have a 1 to 1 pixel correlation, in a computer vision application where each pixel represents a distance, or if you are dealing with non-standard video devices. ...

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No thoroughfare

“Only Secure Origins Are Allowed”

    – Chrome 47

Chrome 47 now forces secure origins (mostly) with HTTPS. This can be a pain to deal with, but Xander Dumaine is here to help with some guidance. Xander is a Senior Software Engineer who deals with the good and bad of WebRTC for Interactive Intelligence in Raleigh, NC. He is helping maintain simpleWebRTC and organises the Triangle WebRTC Meetup group in that area.

{“editor”: “chad hart“}

Want to keep up on our latest posts? Please click here to subscribe to our mailing list if you have not already. We only email post updates. You can also follow us on twitter at @webrtcHacks for blog updates. ...

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Speak No Evil

A few days back my old friend Chris Koehncke, better known as “Kranky” asked me how hard it would be to implement a wild idea he had to monitor what percentage of the time you spent talking instead of listening on a call when using WebRTC. When I said “one day” that made him wonder whether he could offshore it to save money. Well… good luck!

A week later Kranky showed me some code. Wait, he is writing code? It was not bad – it was using the WebAudio API so going in the right direction. It was enough to prod me to finish writing the app for him. ...

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ORTC support in Edge has been announced today. A while back, we saw this on twitter:

“This release [build 10525] lays the groundwork for ORTC” was quite an understatement. It was considered experimental and while the implementation still differs from the specification (which is still work in progress) slightly, it already worked and as a developer you can get familiar with how ORTC works and how it is different from the RTCPeerConnection API.
If you want to test this, please use builds newer than 10547. Join the Windows Insider Program to get them and make sure you’re on the fast ring. ...

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It turns out people like their smartphone apps, so that native mobile is pretty important. For WebRTC that usually leads to venturing outside of JavaScript into the world of C++/Swift for iOS and Java for Android. You can try hybrid applications (see our post on this), but many modern web apps applications often use JavaScript frameworks like AngularJS, Backbone.js, Ember.js, or others and those don’t always mesh well with these hybrid app environments.

Can you have it all? Facebook is trying with React which includes the ReactJS framework and  React Native for iOS and now Android too. There has been a lot of positive fanfare with this new framework, but will it help WebRTC developers? To find out I asked VoxImplant’s Alexey Aylarov to give us a walkthrough of using React Native for a native iOS app with WebRTC. ...

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The fact that you can use WebRTC to implement a secure, reliable, and standards based peer-to-peer network is a huge deal that is often overlooked.  We have been notably light on the DataChannel here at webrtcHacks, so I asked Arin Sime if would be interested in providing one of his great walkthrough’s on this topic.  He put together a very practical example of a multi-player game.  You make recognize Arin from RealTime Weekly or from his company Agility Feat or his new webRTC.ventures brand. Check out this excellent step-by-step guide below and start lightening the load on your servers and reducing message latency with the DataChannel. ...

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