Understanding WebRTC: How Webrtc Works and Its Applications

5 min read
February 26, 2024

In recent years, real-time communication has become a key component in enabling collaboration over the Internet. Whether remote learning, virtual team meetings, virtual events or customer support, most business operations today rely on real-time communications and data transfer.

WebRTC, or Web Real-Time Communication, plays a crucial role in enabling real-time communication in direct and P2P video, audio, and chat communication, as well as enhanced privacy, live streaming, and redefining conventional broadcasting.  

In this article, we will explore WebRTC, how it works, and where it’s implemented.

Table of Contents

  1. What is WebRTC?
  2. How does WebRTC work?
  3. What is WebRTC used for?
  4. What are the pros and cons of WebRTC?
  5. Embracing the future of real-time communication with WebRTC

What is WebRTC?

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is a revolutionary technology that empowers real-time communication directly in web browsers. It’s an open-source project initiated by Google and has become a fundamental part of modern web applications. WebRTC enables users to engage in direct video, audio and data exchange without needing additional plugins or complex installations.

At the heart of WebRTC's functionality is its peer-to-peer communication capability. Unlike traditional methods that rely on server-based data routing, WebRTC allows for direct transfer of data, audio and video streams between users’ browsers. This peer-to-peer approach significantly reduces latency, enhances the transmission quality, and ensures a more secure exchange of information.

WebRTC integrates various JavaScript APIs to facilitate this seamless interaction. Notably, it utilises components like getUserMedia, which grants access to a user’s camera and microphone; RTCPeerConnection, for handling the complexities of the direct connections; and RTCDataChannel, for enabling arbitrary data transfer.

The importance of WebRTC in today's digital landscape cannot be understated. It has transformed how we communicate online, making real-time, interactive web applications more accessible and efficient. 

How does WebRTC work?

WebRTC employs three significant components to enable real-time P2P links between two or more browsers for video and audio calls as well as sharing data.


RTCPeerConnection is a core component of the WebRTC API, utilised for establishing peer-to-peer communication between browsers or devices. It allows direct audio, video and data exchange, bypassing the need for intermediary servers. 

This interface manages the connection, including creating and maintaining it. The process starts with creating a new RTCPeerConnection object, which is configured with ICE servers for IP address discovery and NAT traversal.

Using WebRTC through RTCPeerConnection

To establish a connection using RTCPeerConnection, peers follow a specific protocol. 

Initially, one peer generates an offer using the createOffer() method and sets it as the local description. This offer includes supported media formats, codecs and potential connection pathways (ICE candidates). 

The offer is then sent to the other peer using a signalling server, which merely forwards it without processing. Upon receiving the offer, the receiving peer sets it as its remote description, creates an answer with createAnswer(), and sends it back. Both parties exchange ICE candidates through the signalling server, facilitating connection establishment.


Signalling in WebRTC is the process used to coordinate communication and manage peer sessions. It involves the exchange of information, like session descriptions and ICE candidates. 

As WebRTC doesn't define a specific signalling protocol, it's up to the developers to implement one, which can be based on WebSocket, HTTP or other protocols. Signalling is crucial for initiating, controlling and terminating the peer-to-peer communication process. It's also essential to exchange media metadata, such as resolution and codecs, and other control messages between peers to establish a direct connection.

What is WebRTC used for?

Peer-to-peer video and audio communication 

WebRTC facilitates direct P2P video and audio communication, which is crucial for WebRTC-based applications like video conferencing. By eliminating the need for third-party plugins or software, it offers a seamless and efficient user experience. 

Its ability to compress and decompress media files for transfer also enhances the quality and speed of these communications, making it ideal for real-time interactions across various platforms.

Data transfer 

WebRTC is not just limited to audio and video streaming; it also supports the transfer of arbitrary data directly between peers. This capability is essential for applications that need real-time, bidirectional communication - like file sharing, chat applications, and collaborative tools. 

Peer-to-peer screen sharing

WebRTC enables peer-to-peer screen sharing, allowing users to share their screens or specific application windows during video calls or conferences. 

This feature is handy in educational, business and technical support scenarios, where remote collaboration, visual aids and real-time guidance are crucial. 


Privacy is the foundation of WebRTC's design. It incorporates end-to-end encryption for all data streams, safeguarding sensitive information during transmission. This encryption is crucial in scenarios like telehealth consultations, private meetings and secure data exchanges where sensitive information is transferred. 

Live streaming and broadcasting 

WebRTC is also valuable in live streaming and broadcasting. Its low-latency streaming capabilities are suitable for real-time video content delivery, such as live events, gaming and interactive media. 

WebRTC adapts to network conditions, ensuring high-quality streaming even in fluctuating bandwidth scenarios. Its widespread browser compatibility and ease of integration make it a popular choice for developers creating live-streaming platforms.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of WebRTC?

Pros of WebRTC

Cons of WebRTC

Embracing the future of real-time communication with WebRTC

WebRTC has revolutionised modern web communications, offering a flexible and secure platform for real-time audio, video, and data sharing in web browsers. 

Digital Samba leverages WebRTC's capabilities to provide GDPR-compliant, end-to-end encrypted group video conferencing and seamless integration into various software, mobile apps or websites. Our API and SDK support clear, lag-free conferencing that is adaptable to diverse user needs, ensuring high-quality and secure virtual interactions. 

If you are looking to incorporate WebRTC into your projects, Digital Samba offers an efficient and reliable solution. Explore the potential of WebRTC in your own projects with Digital Samba and experience seamless real-time communication.

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