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Real-time protocols – RTP/RTCP Christos Bouras *, Apostolos Gkamas, Dimitris Primpas and Kostas Stamos Research Academic Computer Technology Institute P.O. Box 1382 and Computer Engineering and Informatics Department University of Patras GR-26500 Patras, Greece Tel:+30-2610-{960375, 960465, 960316, 960316 } Fax:+30-2610-{969016, 960358, 960358, 960358} e-mail: {bouras, gkamas, primpas, stamos}@cti.gr (* Corresponding author)
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Real-time protocols – RTP/RTCP This article describes the need for protocols specifically designed for real-time applications, their significant features and their desired characteristics. It briefly introduces the RTP/RTCP protocols, the most widely used protocols for carrying real- time application data. INTRODUCTION Real time protocols cover specific needs by applications with real-time characteristics. Real-time applications such as Voice over IP (VoIP), videoconferencing applications, video on demand, continuous data applications and control and measurement applications have specific requirements from the lower layers, mainly in terms of packet loss, delay and jitter. Traditional transport protocols such as TCP and UDP have been designed for general use and are not specialized for such specific purposes. In particular, real-time protocols have to be able to deliver high throughput, handle multicast, manage the transmission quality and be friendly to the rest of the traffic and more importantly to the congestion-sensitive TCP traffic. BACKGROUND An early attempt at a protocol designed for transferring real-time data was NVP (Cohen, 1981). It was first implemented in 1973 by Danny Cohen of the Information Sciences Institute (ISI), University of Southern California. The project’s stated goals (Cohen, 1976) were “to develop and demonstrate the feasibility of secure, high- quality, low-bandwidth, real-time, full-duplex (two-way) digital voice communications over packet-switched computer communications networks. ... [and to] supply digitized speech which can be secured by existing encryption devices. The major goal of this research is to demonstrate a digital high-quality, low-bandwidth, secure voice handling capability as part of the general military requirement for
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worldwide secure voice communication.” NVP was used to send speech between distributed sites on the ARPANET using several different voice-encoding techniques. RTP/RTCP protocol was first defined in RFC 1889 (Schulzrinne et al.) in 1996, which was later (2003) updated with RFC 3550 (Schulzrinne et al.). The discussions on the rationale and design choices behind RTP were summarized in (Schulzrinne, 1993), which provides a good reference to the desired characteristics for an efficient and flexible real-time protocol. REAL TIME PROTOCOLS DESCRIPTION
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