How System73 leverages WebRTC to support our Edge Intelligence solution

WebRTC, which stands for Web Real-Time Communication, is a free, open-source project that provides web browsers and mobile applications with real-time communication via a common API (application programming interface). WebRTC enables peer-to-peer (P2P) communication for video, audio, and data sharing directly between web browsers without the need for additional plugins or third-party software.

Whilst WebRTC can be used for video-conferencing, voice-over IP and web-based gaming, System73’s solution, Edge Intelligence, leverages WebRTC in order to build a peer-to-peer content delivery network and deliver live content across the globe. The software offers a host of benefits for both the content provider and the end user, including:

  1. It eliminates a lot of the manual integration tasks normally assigned to IT teams by automatically adjusting communication quality, bandwidth, and traffic flow during changeable network conditions.
  2. The software is supported by all major web browsers including Google Chrome, Android, Mozilla Firefox and Safari, and works on any operating system (although it will not work on mobile iOS apps out of the box).
  3. It is a completely free and open-source software, and does not require any third-party components or plugins to function.
  4. It is designed with security in mind, and it supports encryption for both audio and video communication. This ensures the privacy and integrity of all data sent delivered across the network.

Edge Intelligence: A brief overview

System73’s Edge Intelligence solution works by building and orchestrating a centrally optimized P2P network and using each peer to deliver live content from one to the next. Unlike other P2P networks, which use a mesh topology, Edge Intelligence P2P network uses a tree topology and establishes a vertical structure of “parent” and “children” nodes.

Once the live content is received and passed to the nodes connected to the CDN, they proceed to transport the data (video and audio files) to the next node, or peer, in the P2P network. This payload is retransmitted across the P2P overlay network without modifications, ensuring that the distribution is performed guaranteeing data integrity across connected peers. Participant peers are able to act as both servers and consumers (or just as consumers), allowing the end viewer to watch the live content and transport it onto another peer in the network transparently. This network of connected peers bypasses the need for each end user to be connected to the CDN(s), thereby reducing the strain on bandwidth capacity and translating into faster, more efficient and more cost-effective content delivery.  

More on WebRTC’s security measures

Thanks to its robust encryption mechanisms, WebRTC ensures the confidentiality and integrity of data delivered over a P2P network, such as Edge Intelligence. This commitment to security is another reason System73 uses WebRTC, as we prioritize safeguarding sensitive information for both content providers and end users.

The foundation of WebRTC's security lies in its use of end-to-end encryption, which ensures that the data exchanged between each node, or peer, remains confidential and immune to interception. This means that only the intended recipients can decrypt and access the data, or content, transferred, mitigating the risk of unauthorized access.

Moreover, WebRTC incorporates Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) to establish a secure communication channel when initially setting up a P2P connection. This protocol ensures that the process of key exchange between users is encrypted, thwarting potential man-in-the-middle attacks.

Finally, payload is distributed across peers without modifications, ensuring that end user devices receive the original content as intended from the producer.

In leveraging WebRTC, System73 is able to orchestrate a secure, centrally-optimized P2P network and achieve safe, cost-effective and near real-time live content delivery. Our adoption of this open-source software has been instrumental in enabling us to offer innovative content delivery solutions such as Edge Intelligence. We are proud to work alongside some of the most prominent content providers and CDNs in the industry, to deliver high-quality content that reaches diverse global audiences.

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