Standards

Time for another opinionated post. This time on… end-to-end encryption (e2ee). Zoom apparently claims it supports e2ee while it can not satisfy that promise. Is WebRTC any better?

Zoom does not have End to End Encryption

Let’s get to the bottom of things fast: Boo Zoom!

I reviewed how Zoom’s implements their web client last year.

I’m not really surprised of their general lack of e2ee given that their web client did not provide any encryption on top of TLS or WebRTC’s DataChannel. For reasons we will discuss below, this means they weren’t doing any obvious e2ee there. ...

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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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webrtcH4cKS: ~ Perfect Negotiation

Series preface: We generally lean toward long posts here at webrtcHacks, but not all interesting topics warrant a lot of new text. Sometimes briefer is better. So to better address the many topics that fit into this category, we are starting a new Minimum Duration series. Here is our first post under this set covering Perfect Negotiation.

What is Perfect Negotiation and why do we need it?

Long ago the WebRTC specification designers settled on leaving the signaling communication mechanism between two WebRTC peers up to the application. This means your code needs to handle passing Session Description Protocol (SDP) back and forth and giving that to the peerConnection API. Today WebRTC implementations also almost universally use Trickle-ICE, a form of Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE), which passes potential network paths between those peers asynchronously so a connection can be established as soon as possible. The asynchronous but time sensitive nature of all this means it is possible for glare conditions to occur – situations where both sides are making updates at the same time causing their state machines to get out of sync. Differences in how developers implement their code and browsers variances make this worse. ...

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We have have had many posts on Session Description Protocol (SDP) here at werbrtcHacks. Why? Because it is often the most confusing yet critical aspects of WebRTC. It has also been among the most controversial. Earlier in WebRTC debates over SDP lead the to the development of the parallel ORTC standard which is now largely merging back into the core specifications.  However, the reality is non-SDP based WebRTC is still a small minority of deployments and many have doubts this will change any time soon despite its formal acceptance. ...

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If you are new to WebRTC then you have missed out on years of drama in the standards bodies over various issues like SDP and codecs. These standards dictate what vendors must implement so they ultimately dictate the industry roadmap.  To get a deep perspective and appreciation of the issues, we like to ask Dan Burnett, W3C editor to comment on where we are at with the standardization process. I caught up with Dan at this year’s IIT Real Time Communications Conference and had the more detailed Q&A with him shortly thereafter. ...

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Sorry. We really wanted to do a post-cap of the W3C WebRTC and IETF RTCweb meetings that took place at the end of October and November, but we did not get to it. Victor and Reid provided some commentary on the codec debate prior to the IETF discussion. The outcome of that discussion was widely publicized and we did not have a lot of value to add to this for the developer community.

Importantly, codecs were not the only thing discussed in this latest rounds of standards meetings. There were a couple items like the move to JavaScript promises, output device enumeration, and discussions of security implications that are very relevant to the average WebRTC developer that have gone under the general media radar. To get the whole on standards right from the horse’s mouth, I asked W3C WebRTC editor and founding author Dan Burnett for an update on the recent WebRTC standards meetings and for some details on some of the more significant issues like promises and screen sharing. ...

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MS Elephant

What about IE?

As WebRTC has matured to a state where it’s first implementations are ready for companies to launch real services around it, the readiness of various companies to adopt WebRTC has fanned out quite a bit. Some are already charging ahead as early adopters, while others are playing it conservative. Of those in the conservative camp, one of the common doubts that gives them pause is: “What about IE?”

When speaking to those interested in WebRTC, but concerned about Internet Explorer (IE), many times we’ve tried to assure them not to worry: our friends in Redmond won’t be too far behind. We often point to the undeniably significant contributions from Microsoft to WebRTC, especially considering that they bring to the table two titans of VoIP industry (Lync and Skype). We highlight some of their early IE WebRTC demos (using beta code) as signs of progress. We’ve rationalized the absence of  a Microsoft equivalent to what Chrome and Firefox are shipping, by noting the slower release cycle for IE. However, we’ve come to realize that to some, IE support is a really big deal. ...

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I’m at the IIT RTC Conference this week in Chicago which is an excellent, no-BS conference that featured many WebRTC luminaries and one of best events I have attended in a long time.

On Tuesday I moderated a panel with WebRTC contributors and ORTC promoters, Robin Raymond of Hookflash, Bernard Aboba of Microsoft, and Peter Thatcher of Google, asking many of the same questions I did on the ORTC Q&A several weeks ago.

Dan Burnett was in the room, asking a lot of questions. If you don’t know Dan, he is a long time W3C author and editor. He is also one of the Godfathers of WebRTC who was there right at the beginning. He also has a highly regarded book on WebRTC coauthored with Alan Johnston. ...

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Biggie vs. Tupac. Gates vs. Jobs. Apple vs. Samsung.  Nothing catches people’s attention for no legitimate reason like a feud. Unfortunately this isn’t just a celebrity phenomenon. Feuds have been endemic even to real communications as well. From the very beginning, Elisha Gray’s dispute with Alexander Graham Bell over the original telephone patent showed the industry has a propensity for squabbles. Unfortunately we have become so accustomed to feuds that we sometimes fabricate battles that do not really exist. I fear that this is often the case with one of the most important, but misunderstood efforts affecting WebRTC’s future – Object Real Time Communications (ORTC). ...

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