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WebRTC tech puts VoIP in browzer

Vonage finds this non-proprietary tech suitable for its mobile VoIP service

WebRTC is widely looked upon as a hot and coming web browser technology - it's already inside Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox - but the technology is migrating to the mobile world also. VoIP major Vonage's VP of Technology Research, Baruch Sterman says his company is relying on WebRTC to power its mobile Vonage application, according to Enterprise Networking Planet.

While WebRTC is known as a browser stack, Sterman says there is another flavor the WebRTC Native Stack. This is the low-level source code for WebRTC, and that's where Vonage has been tapping.

Sterman says Vonage has "even contributed back to the open source WebRTC community some of the interesting innovations that we've built around the integration of some hardware capabilities." Those hardware capabilities include some specific features that are available on IOS and Android powered phones.

WebRTC as a native stack allows for voice and video communications on any platform onto which it's ported.

Vonage didn't originally intend to use WebRTC. But, as Sterman noted, while Vonage was going through the process of figuring out licensing for a proprietary alternative, they began to explore WebRTC as an option. Now Vonage has millions of users running their WebRTC-powered app on both Apple iOS and Google Android devices. No big changes were required to Vonage's network infrastructure.

Sterman says Vonage uses WebRTC to encode and decode media streams, but the actual protocol that is used is RTP (Real-time Transport Protocol). "Once you have all the signaling in place and establish the media path, as long as everyone is working with identical media codecs on both sides, you can have WebRTC on one side and then you can have any other media stack on the other side".

So Vonage mobile apps powered by WebRTC can communicate with Vonage boxes in the back-end.

Vonage still also relies on the SIP standard for establishing the call. SIP is the signalling protocol. It helps to find the other side of the connection and determines the codecs that will be used. "Once the session is established, there is a real-time flow of data, and that is done over RTP"

One of the key challenges that Vonage had to tackle with WebRTC for mobile devices was making it smaller and more efficient. Part of that also involves leveraging whatever native capabilities are already present on the device.

Sterman says the open source nature of WebRTC was a key enabler for Vonage to overcome multiple challenges. "If you take a proprietary closed stack, you will always be dependent on somebody else at one point or another, and that can be frustrating when you don't have your own destiny in your hands"

Based on stories in Internet and Enterprise Networking Planet

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