I need to know RTP weaknesses - what Internet problems can corrupt its work?

Posted on 2004-11-18
Last Modified: 2010-05-18

I am doing a small research for QA regarding RTP protocol weaknesses, so I need to know what are its weak points in regard of Networks impairments, like Latency, packet loss, out of order, congestion, jitter, etc.

Question by:muhalok
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    RTP has same weaknesses than UDP regarding physical networks since it's only a few bytes of information on top of it (UDP). RTP doesn't improve in any ways neither packet loss nor congestion. However, it remove completely the out or order problem (the sequence header 4 bytes numbers allow packet ordering) and help a lot using VoIP over congested or medium latency networks.

    I really wants to focus on medium latency because VoIP becomes unusable on any high latency networks ( more than 1 seconds or ping between endpoints) regardless of which protocol you use to transport voice and video. Latency is a major problem when designing voip networks, but latency variance is also an issue to consider.

    RTP helps a lot reducing jitter due to its timestamp header field. Applications are able to compute the latency difference between two packets, keeping an average to delay each packets in a way that users doesn't feel network congestion or variation. This is what we call the playout delay. It's a reasonable buffer delay (1 to 400 ms or pre-buffered sound) that provides the facility of using voip over a networks that suffer for latency variance.

    RTCP ( the statistical protocol which RTP uses) also allows application to track network variations and conditions. It's mostly used to adjust the Jitter buffer.

    Hope this helped,


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