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Mobile VoIP via WebRTC? Here's How

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May 05, 2014

Mobile VoIP via WebRTC? Here's How

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

WebRTC is a powerful tool that enables browser-to-browser voice calling, video chat, and P2P file sharing - without plug-ins. But did you know it can also be the foundation to build a mobile VoIP application?

WebRTC, a free, open-source project, enables compliant Web browsers to communicate in real-time using simple JavaScript APIs.

The project has a pretty established mission: "To enable rich, high quality, real-time communication applications to be developed in the browser via simple JavaScript APIs and HTML5."

A big draw with WebRTC is the manner in which it's worked into browsers. Mobile platforms such as iOS started the drift away from plug-ins, but a future free from them has long been the goal of many Web standards advocates.

WebRTC goes beyond VoIP and video conferencing, with no plug-ins to download or install – which could be incompatible with consumers’ browsers across their desktop, mobile or tablet.

Tuenti, a Spain-based provider of social networking and mobile chat services, recently set out to build a mobile VoiP application. The company found that challenges in developing a mobile VoIP app and documented them via a detailed post at the Tuenti blog.  This included the need to install a 3rd party plug-in, define your own protocols, and then deal with codec licensing.

Since WebRTC addressed a number of the problems they were encountering, it created a mobile VoIP solution via WebRTC.

WebRTC and VoIP both aim to enhance the user experience and enable any consumer device to seamlessly connect from anywhere and on any network, but WebRTC differs in that it is focused solely on browser-based communications. Typically, we’ve seen “VoIP versus WebRTC,” as the experts have put these technologies against each other, however, the WebRTC media engine is quite similar to the traditional VoIP media engine, so using one to make the other mobile just makes sense.

WebRTC is a software package with well-defined application programming interfaces (APIs) that make it easy for Web developers to enable VoIP in their Web-based applications, so putting that power into mobile means WebRTC is a backing force for mobile VoIP.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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