WebRTC in Context: what are we talking about?
When talking about Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) people have different concepts and contexts in mind. By definition, it is a streaming protocol for web communication allowing the users to connect in real-time without connecting to an additional server. In our case, we are talking about the usage of WebRTC to support P2P communication, which is an extremely efficient way of content distribution.
WebRTC vs BitTorrent
Maybe some of you are still familiar with things like BitTorrent and associate it with WebRTC and peer-to-peer. BitTorrent, which was famous for sharing illegal content, has a similar idea despite the bad reputation:
“BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol that enables the massive distribution of files over the Internet. It allows users to share huge files like movies, books, and TV shows. The BitTorrent protocol helps to download files from the Internet efficiently. It allows an unlimited number of users to connect to a site simultaneously without causing the server to run out of bandwidth. BitTorrent is an open-source, peer-assisted program developed in Python programming language by Bram Cohen in 2001.”
Source: Techopedia – What does BitTorrent mean?
The technology in the background is called peer-to-peer (P2P), which means that the users exchange content directly without a server.
P2P has many advantages when it comes to performance and efficiency because your network scales automatically with its size without any additional servers. Especially regarding file sharing, where it is very hard to detect and identify users who are sharing content. But based on its history, P2P got a very bad reputation and is almost gone nowadays.
So WebRTC is something like BitTorrent?
Actually, that is one of the most frequently asked questions.
The answer is clearly: NO. WebRTC has nothing to do with BitTorrent.
While it is true that both BitTorrent and WebRTC transport data serverless between users (which is the definition of P2P), BitTorrent is actually a decentralized file-sharing protocol. In contrast, WebRTC is an open web framework to create real-time media web applications using P2P technology.
At StriveCast, we utilize WebRTC to implement our innovative solutions without any physical integrations. Using WebRTC, we can connect viewers watching the same live-stream to share parts of the stream without connecting back to the origin server.
Of course, we work out of the box with any CDN, so if you currently operate your live streams using Akamai or any other CDN, we can reduce monthly traffic cost by up to 90%. We achieve these impressive savings by using the viewer’s upload bandwidth.
WebRTC-based P2P for future Content Delivery
Using these techniques that, despite their old reputations, offers immense potential to improve Content Delivery. Not only can the problems of OTT providers be solved, but further can digital communication in any company be optimized. If you want to know more about the possibilities that StriveCast’s WebRTC-based P2P can offer your enterprise or OTT delivery, don’t hesitate to contact us or download our technology brief for further insights.