WebRTC Live #72: End-To-End WebRTC with LiveKit

On October 19, 2022, Arin welcomed David Zhao, CTO and Co-Founder of LiveKit. David and Arin discussed the open source landscape, where LiveKit fits within it, and how LiveKit achieves end-to-end efficiency.  

David Zhao is an entrepreneur and builder heavily invested in open source software. Before LiveKit, he founded two technology startups (ZumoDrive and Evie Labs) and led engineering teams at Medium, Motorola, and Amazon.

Why do you need an end-to-end approach to WebRTC? Isn’t WebRTC simple to work with?

Everyone is solving the same set of problems:

  • Signaling How do you connect users together? WebRTC is P2P but signaling is not.
  • Browsers and Clients: Supporting all the major browsers and mobile devices
  • Connectivity – ICE / TCP, STUN, TURN, TURN/TLS
  • Network disruptions – Spotty WiFi, switching networks, handling reconnect in both signal and WebRTC
  • Multi-user – P2P doesn’t scale, by itself, exhausting bandwidth and CPU capacity.
  • How to compete with Zoom on quality when it uses proprietary protocols? Zoom runs efficiently with a 5×5 grid @2.4Mbps; Native WebRTC 38Mbps for 5×5 without optimization.

Enter LiveKit

  • Open-source, end-to-end stack for WebRTC
  • SFU, open protocol client SDKs, and tools for deployment
  • First commit in Sept 2020, release in July 2021
  • Able to go to market quickly since built on top of Pion WebRTC
  • Goal is to solve the undifferentiated problems with WebRTC (multi-user capabilities, authentications, signaling, and developer experience)

How LiveKit achieves high efficiency

  • Simulcast or SVC (scalable video coding)
  • adaptiveStream (automatically manages the quality of subscribed video tracks)
  • Dynamic Broadcast (pauses publishing of video layers if they are not being consumed by a subscriber)

The questions that David answered in this episode included ones on detecting visibility of users, his view on the state of open source WebRTC in general, connecting to SIP/VOIP, use cases where LiveKit would be most valuable, LiveKit’s room abstraction layer, and monitoring / end-to-end testing.

For more information, visit LiveKit on GitHub, or:

Watch Episode #72!

UP NEXT! WebRTC Live #73 with Dan Jenkins (Nimble Ape, Broadcaster.VC)
Wednesday, November 16 at 12:30pm Eastern.
Register today!

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Never miss an episode of WebRTC Live, our webinar series hosted by WebRTC.ventures Founder and CEO, Arin Sime. We feature the latest use cases and technical updates to this increasingly popular coding standard for live video. Watch past episodes on our WebRTC Live page, our YouTube channel, and on our blog. Better yet, use the form in the sidebar to join our mailing list and be among the first to hear about upcoming episodes and the latest news in WebRTC!

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