Real-Time Communication

Imagine you are having an ongoing video call with others. If someone speaks or demonstrates something, and it will take seconds to see or hear what the person said? That will result in poor face-to-face interaction and non-engaging interactive experience because the conversations are supposed to occur almost instantly. Voice and video calling conversations among people are designed to happen almost instantly, called real-time. Real-time communication helps avoid data transmission delays between a sender and receiver. Let's look at Real-time communication and why it is important.

What is Real-time Communication?

Real-time means an immediate response time to an event. Its latency is about 200ms or less and is usually used for VoIP calls. Real-time communication transmits data packets from a sender to a receiver without delaying the data delivery. Typical examples of real-time communication include mobile phone calls, live activity streaming (Twitch, Facebook Live), instant messaging, and video conferencing (FaceTime, WhatsApp, Messenger) where conversing with someone occurs instantaneously.

How does Real-time Communication Work?

Real-time technologies like VoIP make video calling between two or more participants feel immediate, and it is hard to believe there is a delay. Real-time communication and streaming occur so quickly that some people call it a near-zero latency. The near-zero latency communication is possible because real-time communication uses [Peer Connection]() to establish a direct connection between users. Real-time communication can categorized into:

  • Half Duplex: A half-duplex communication is similar to a walkie-talkie, where one person needs to be the talker and the other is the listener. It represents a one-way communication.
  • Full Duplex: A full-duplex communication is an instantaneous two-way communication between participants, where turn-taking is not required. Like a typical mobile phone call, it allows participants to transmit and receive data simultaneously.

Benefits of Real-time Communication

  • Near-zero latency interaction: It helps to provide smooth voice and video communication between participants without delay. This is useful because people expect their VoIP communication interactions to be immediate.
  • Flexible integration support: Developers can integrate real-time communication support into different kinds of apps purposely for voice, video, and any app requiring generic information to be transmitted between peers. 
  • Cross-platform support: Real-time communication is available on the web (WebRTC) and mobile, like iOS and Android.
  • Real-time communication technologies like WebRTC have a promising future because major companies like Apple, Google, Meta, Mozilla, and Microsoft support it.

Next Steps

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