Published on July 26th, 2022
With the advent of WebRTC and the increasing ability of browsers to handle real-time peer-to-peer communications, building real-time applications have become easier than ever. In this article, we will look at SimpleWebRTC and how we can use the platform to implement WebRTC technology.
Due to the complex nature of building custom WebRTC applications, this will not be a step-by-step guide to building one. Instead, we’ll look at the libraries and server types you need to develop your own robust application.
What Is WebRTC
WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is an open-source project that enables real-time peer-to-peer communication between web browsers for real-time video, audio, and data streaming over a network.
Modern desktop and mobile browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, and other Chromium-based browsers have already natively implemented this technology.
This is good news because users don’t need to install a third-party plugin or app to access the technology.
It is important to note that WebRTC application development does not cover everything, such as signaling, the process of establishing a connection between browsers. This part of the specification has been omitted to avoid potential new technology limitations.
The second reason was that WebRTC is primarily a client-side technology, and problems like sessions are best handled by a server-side technology.
All WebRTC solutions are incompatible with each other because the standard describes only ways to transmit video and sound, leaving the implementation of methods for addressing subscribers, tracking their availability, exchanging messages and files, scheduling, and other things for the developer.
In other words, you won’t be able to call from one WebRTC application to another.
Building Your Own Video Chat App
The use of TURN servers is mandatory if you want to provide a reliable service to all your users That will be able to provide good data transfer quality: trembit.com
As mentioned earlier, setting up WebRTC platforms can be a complex task. Luckily for us, we have universal commercial platforms that make it easy to build a WebRTC video chat application.
WebRTC has its own subtleties – it uses two network protocols – TCP and UDP.
The peculiarity of the TCP protocol is that it transmits data without loss: the user receives a stable image, the video is transmitted without loss or damage.
The disadvantage of this protocol is that it has a limitation on the volume of data transmission. For example, you cannot stream Full HD video to five people at the same time.
This problem is solved with the help of the UDP protocol: users can transfer high-quality images and videos without restrictions. But it has its drawback: it allows for packet loss. Because of this, the image may tremble and lose a lot of quality.
This can be fixed by connecting to third-party servers. If a large project is being developed on WebRTC, in which a connection will be established between hundreds of users, then you still have to use an additional server to reduce the load on the browser.
What Is SimpleWebRTC
SimpleWebRTC is a platform that provides developers with a simple and cost-effective service for building and deploying custom real-time applications with React. In particular, they provide the following:
- SimpleWebRTC SDK: front-end library
- Hosting: STUN/TURN and SFU (Selective Forward Unit) servers
- Technical support
- Development of individual applications and consulting services for WebRTC
- Single user and local infrastructure
- Talky: A free video chat app built entirely on SimpleWebRTC
The main WebRTC services provided by the SimpleWebRTC platform include:
- secure video, voice, and screen sharing streaming
- end-to-end encryption
- support for up to 30 concurrent users
- unlimited number of rooms
In conclusion, building a real-time video chat solution with WebRTC is easier when using a commercial platform.
Going down the open source route is doable. But you need to host your own TURN servers to ensure a reliable connection for all your users. In any case, the build process can take a long time. Considering the relative complexity of the application examples we have reviewed.
The key question to ask yourself is whether it’s worth the time to build your own customized real-time solution.
If you are not planning on making WebRTC your core business, you will probably need to first consult with a company that has experience with the technology.