The Power of ACKs and NACKs: Ensuring Reliable Video Conferencing

4 min read
November 21, 2023

ACKs and NACKs, short for Acknowledgments and Negative Acknowledgments, make data transfer reliable. When packets reach their destination, the receiver sends an ACK. If packets get lost or corrupted, the receiver sends a NACK. The sender retransmits missing packets. This basic system underpins all modern data exchange. 

Table of Contents

  1. What are ACKs?
  2. What is a NACK?
  3. ACK vs NACK: what is the difference?
  4. Applications of ACKs and NACKs in networking
  5. The role of ACKs and NACKs in video conferencing 
  6. How Digital Samba video conferencing SDK/API leverages ACKs and NACKs
  7. Conclusion

In this article, we'll learn about ACKs and NACKs, and the roles they play in modern-day data transmission. Without further ado, let's get started!

What are ACKs?

ACKs, meaning acknowledgements, are control signals used in communication protocols to confirm the successful reception of a data packet. 

They provide certainty of delivery and enable the handling of issues such as packet loss, congestion, and transmission errors, ultimately optimising bandwidth and overall performance.

Here are some key roles that ACKs play:

What is a NACK?

A NACK, meaning negative acknowledgement, shows that receivers did not get a data packet right. Without NACKs, senders only use timeouts to find packet issues. But NACKs speed this up.

NACKs have key roles:

ACK vs NACK: what is the difference?

ACKs and NACKs are important for reliable data transmission. ACKs confirm that data was received correctly. NACKs report errors or problems.

The main differences between ACKs and NACKs are:

  • ACKs are positive responses that say the data was received. NACKs are negative reports that indicate issues.
  • ACKs confirm packets were received successfully. NACKs prompt resending of packets that had problems.
  • ACKs verify that everything worked. NACKs detect failures or missing packets.
  • ACKs show what went right in the transmission. NACKs reveal what went wrong.
  • ACKs handle normal operations. NACKs manage exceptions and errors.

This positive and negative feedback system powers reliable communication by identifying successes and failures.

ack-nack - Digital Samba

Image source: Researchgate

Applications of ACKs and NACKs in networking

ACK and NACK messages are vital for reliable data sending over networks. Though quiet, they perform the following key functions across different networking channels:

  • ACKs confirm TCP's receipt of data packets in the right order.
  • NACKs trigger the resending of lost or corrupted packets.
  • Wi-Fi uses them to handle send errors.
  • VoIP systems use ACKs and NACKs to start and end calls smoothly.
  • Developers use them to check data delivery status and make fixes.

ACKs and NACKs silently coordinate strong, resilient communication across many networks and apps.

The role of ACKs and NACKs in video conferencing

ACKs and NACKs are essential for smooth video calls. ACKs confirm audio and video packets were received. This allows real-time talking without delays.

NACKs show errors. They flag missing or bad packets. NACKs trigger resends of those packets. This prevents glitches so the video flows well.

Together, ACKs and NACKs enable reliable video chatting without disruptions. ACKs verify delivery. NACKs handle errors. Working as a team, they give the best video call experience.

How Digital Samba video conferencing SDK/API leverages ACKs and NACKs

How Digital Samba video conferencing SDK and API leverages ACKs and NACKs

Digital Samba's video conferencing SDK/API is reliable because it uses ACKs and NACKs well. These tools are key to better video calls. 

Here is how Digital Samba’s SDK/API uses ACKs and NACKs:

Digital Samba's video chat SDK/API shows ACKs and NACKs working well together. It gives users reliable, steady, top-quality video chats on all kinds of networks.


ACKs and NACKs enable reliable data transfer through confirmations and resends. Essential for smooth video chatting, Digital Samba's SDK smartly leverages these mechanisms for robust, glitch-free calls. 

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