Categories for Uncategorized

May 16, 2024

Cross-browser support for choosing WebRTC codecs

Contributed by Jan-Ivar Bruaroey,

WebRTC enables video calls directly in browsers. Effectively managing the codecs that encode and decode media streams is a crucial component of delivering high-quality audio and video. The setCodecPreferences method allows developers to specify which codecs their applications prefer to receive.

With Firefox Nightly 128, setCodecPreferences is now available in all browsers! Let’s explore how it functions, its implications for web developers, and its role in harmonizing browser behaviors.

Firefox supporting this WebRTC 1.0 feature is a big deal. It helps webpages work the same across all browsers, eliminating browser-conditional code or having to resort to munging WebRTC’s signaling messages written in SDP, by hand.

But what made it seem blog-worthy was this question: do people know how it works? Looking at MDN and recent spec changes suggested not. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t control what you send. At least not directly.
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February 21, 2024

End-to-end-encrypt WebRTC in all browsers!

Contributed by Jan-Ivar Bruaroey,

Hi all, we haven’t blogged since the WebRTC API was standardized back in January of 2021! But now in 2024 folks are asking us what’s up with all the new APIs? — We’re coming off an exciting second period of innovation and experimentation in WebRTC, so we’re brushing off the old blogging muscles to cover what’s new, in what’s promising to be a new series of posts.

First, don’t worry. WebRTC 1.0 has been tremendously successful and has not fundamentally changed. Instead, its success has led to developers wanting to use it for a variety of things. This demand has driven continued collaboration in the W3C  to standardize new functionality on top of the 1.0 baseline. Each new API exposes exciting new functionality, and each one deserves its own blog post, so let’s start right away with one of them:

Today’s topic is End-to-End-Encryption (E2EE) in WebRTC.

First, we should note that WebRTC is already peer-to-peer encrypted by DTLS, so there’s no need to use additional APIs except to protect data against any middle-boxes your service might employ as WebRTC end-points. That said…

Did you know all major browsers have an API to encrypt WebRTC calls end-to-end? They do! The caveat is the API shape differs slightly between browsers right now. But don’t despair! We’re here to cover that gap. If you’ve been with us for a while you know we’ve been here before, and this is how the sausage is made.
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November 8, 2019

Removing Old Versions of DTLS

Contributed by Nils Ohlmeier, Hacking on real time communications since 2002

As you probably have read already old versions of TLS are going to be removed in March 2020. Obviously we don’t want to leave Firefox WebRTC users behind and vulnerable. Thus we are planing on disabling support for DTLS 1.0 also in March 2020.

According to our measurements the absolute majority (98.12%) of WebRTC services use DTLS 1.2 already today.

WebRTC DTLS usage numbers

The remaining 1.88% need to start upgrading to DTLS 1.2 today.

To help with the transition and testing we added new user preferences to Firefox 71 (currently available as Firefox Beta):

  • media.peerconnection.dtls.version.min = 770
  • media.peerconnection.dtls.version.max = 771

To test with DTLS 1.2 only simply open about:config and set media.peerconnection.dtls.version.min to 771. From now on your Firefox will no longer offer DTLS 1.0, as if it would be a release from March 2020.

July 1, 2019

Camera & microphone require https in Firefox 68.

Contributed by Jan-Ivar Bruaroey,

As of Firefox 68—releasing next week—camera and microphone will require an https connection to work. Access from insecure http will cease to work, matching how Chrome works. Camera and microhone are powerful features, and Firefox will now only expose them in secure contexts, a security and privacy improvement.

Largely an issue for developers to catch up on, this may nonetheless affect end users who follow old http links to servers that either still don’t redirect their users to https automatically, or don’t support it at all. If you’re experiencing this problem, click your URL bar, and if the URL starts with http, try changing it to https, and it should work again, provided the server supports https.

The rest of this blog post is for web developers, since there are some details that may be of interest to them. Firefox is deprecating camera and microphone access in insecure contexts in two steps: (more…)

April 7, 2019

Perfect negotiation in WebRTC

Contributed by Jan-Ivar Bruaroey,

New preface: What if you could add and remove media to and from a live WebRTC connection, without having to worry about state, glare (signaling collisions), role (what side you’re on), or what condition the connection is in? You’d simply call pc.addTrack(track, stream) regardless of time and place, and your track would just show up on the opposite side, without risk of terminal connection failure. A pipe dream? Too much to ask? Actually, now that Chrome has finally fixed its negotiationneeded event, this almost works! But you’re not using it, because “almost” doesn’t cut it. It only works 95% of the time, and the stakes from glare are too high in Chrome (no way to roll back from it, just pc.close()). But this original promise of the API is still within reach. We just need browsers other than Firefox to implement rollback, and fix some glaring (no pun intended) races in a few methods in the specification.

Perhaps few things in the WebRTC API cause as many pilot errors as the asymmetric exchange of SDP and ICE. Its stateful signalingState and timing sensitive ICE trickling can be a source of races if programmed incorrectly. As if that’s not challenging enough, keeping the two sides in sync and the two directions apart throws a lot of people for a loop (more puns).

What if I told you we can tame this complexity? That the manual way most people go about negotiating in WebRTC today is inferior, and possibly racy?

I’m talking about negotiationneeded and "rollback". Two mechanisms that can be used in concert to abstract negotiation away entirely. Yet, no-one is using them, because they haven’t worked, and don’t work yet in Chrome, respectively. We’ll introduce both. (more…)

August 6, 2018

isRemote in getStats() will disappear in Firefox 66

Contributed by Jan-Ivar Bruaroey,

Are you using getStats() for remote statistics in Firefox? Look for this warning today in Firefox Nightly (63, not 66):

⚠ Detected soon-to-break getStats() use! stat.isRemote goes away in Firefox 66, but won’t warn there!

TL;DR: If you see this warning in web console, read on to act now. Firefox 66 will move remote stats to "remote-outbound-rtp" and "remote-inbound-rtp", and isRemote will disappear, to comply with a change to the spec.

Firefox 63-65 will warn about this, but for technical reasons Firefox 66 will not be able to. This is because once the stats move in 66, there’s really no way to detect that you intended to look for remote stats the old way.

Update: The original article said Firefox 55. We’ve pushed it back to Firefox 66, giving you a little more time!

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July 12, 2018

getDisplayMedia now available in adapter.js

Contributed by Philipp Hancke, doing things webrtc at appear.in

If you ever had a meeting over video and wanted to present some slides, there is a high chance you have used screen-sharing to do so. The WebRTC specification recently converged on a standard way to accomplish this. It took a fairly long time, because the security considerations for a web page accessing the pixels of your entire screen or another window are quite serious.

Browsers are actively implementing the standard getDisplayMedia API now, with Microsoft Edge being the first to ship a native implementation. You can track the current implementation status for Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari.

Both Chrome and Firefox have long supported screen-sharing using slightly different and non-standard APIs. A couple of weeks back, Harald Alvestrand at Google asked whether it was possible to polyfill navigator.mediaDevices.getDisplayMedia for screen-sharing in adapter.js.

Update 11/17/18: getDisplayMedia used to live on navigator but was recently moved to navigator.mediaDevices.getDisplayMedia. Examples and adapter.js have been updated to match.

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July 2, 2018

How to avoid Data Channel breaking

Contributed by Nils Ohlmeier, Hacking on real time communications since 2002

All the browser with support for negotiating data channels via SDP are using the same format. But the format is based on a specification from 2013. Since the specification has changed a lot since then it’s time to update the implementations to meet the latest spec.

Current status

If you are negotiating a data channel today in Firefox 61 (or current Chrome release) the SDP will looks something this:

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July 2, 2018

New Tool for Debugging WebRTC

Contributed by Michael Froman, crossing IP communication streams since 2005

Debugging WebRTC? Ever wanted a bit more visibility into the flow of a WebRTC call?  Or see exactly what PeerConnection API calls were made and when? Have we got a debugging deal (dev tools plugin) for you! Go here or search for “dev tools media panel” on about:addons.

Getting Started

After loading the plugin and starting a call on, for example, appear.in, open the dev tools (Tools -> Web Developer -> Toggle Tools).  Next, click on the “Media-Webrtc” pane.  The “Media-Webrtc” pane is most likely at the far right. Finally, selecting the Webrtc tab shows something like:
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