[jdev] voicechat again

Michael Brown michael at aurora.gen.nz
Wed Mar 3 02:19:00 CST 2004


I didn't really follow the previous thread (sorry), but here is my take:

We really need to define a standard for this ASAP.  Even if half the
client authors never intend to implement voice (and video) we still need a
standard for those that do, otherwise we will be stuck with a bunch of
clients that can't talk to each other - and then we are really no better
than the MSN's and Yahoo Messengers of the world.

I say we go P2P.  If anyone has doubts, they should download Skype and
have a play with it.  I think we need to look seriously at STUN as a NAT
traversal standard - I believe this is what Skype uses and it seems to
work very well.

Speex looks cool for an open codec (not that I have looked at it in detail)

I think this "Upgrading" from IM to voice is really going to take off in
the next few years.  I do it a bit already at work with the phone, and
it's "Umm...what's your number...ok... *dial*...*ring*...Hello?"  It's
going to be so much more convenient when you can just click a button in
your chat session and start talking to your computer.

Voice conferencing would be very nice to have (again Skype just added it)
but user-to-user should be the first goal.  I suspect something like 90%
of telephone calls are between two users.

Video (webcams) have a big "wow" factor that currently is only limited by
bad NAT traversal.  Expect this to take off in the next few years also.


> OK, I have to apologize for re-starting this thread but I'm still
> catching up on mail from November and December! So...
> https://jabberstudio.org/pipermail/jdev/2003-November/017108.html
> There is a long, long thread starting there. Lots of talk about Speex,
> H.323, p2p vs. client-server, and so on. As far as I can see, no
> consensus ever emerged. It seems that people want some kind of voice
> integration (maybe video too, but I think that's farther out). They want
> to do 1-to-1 voice chat and maybe even multi-user voice-conferencing.
> They want to be able to negotiate that over Jabber and then go out of
> band to do the voice stuff. They want this to work from behind NATs and
> firewalls. They don't want to open crazy ports in the firewall (or turn
> off the firewall entirely!) in order to get this done. The only message
> I posted in that thread pointed out that research indicates people don't
> actually upgrade from IM to voice or video all that often (by "upgrade"
> I mean something as simple as picking up the phone or meeting f2f, not
> necessarily switching from IM to VoIP or whatever). So I still have my
> doubts about how necessary or important this really is, but I do hear
> the question more and more: "When is Jabber going to support voice?"
> It seems to me that first of all we need to get clear on the use cases
> and requirements. Do we want the ability to negotiate telephone-quality
> voice chat between two IM users? That seems to be the base case (after
> all we treat chat and groupchat differently in Jabber, why not treat
> voicechat and voice-conference differently?). [Of course maybe it is
> stupid to treat chat and groupchat differently, but we burned that
> bridge a long, long time ago! :-)] So how do we negotiate one-to-one
> voicechat via Jabber? Is it just a stream initiation profile (see
> JEP-0095)? Can we treat this in a similar fashion to file transfer
> and send data through a SOCKS5 Bytestreams (JEP-0065) proxy as a
> fallback if p2p won't work? Can SOCKS5 Bytestreams handle something like
> Speex? I notice in draft-herlein-speex-rtp-profile-02.txt that the
> author mentions sending Speex data over TCP:
>    This transport type signifies that the content is to be
>    interpreted according to this document if the contents are
>    transmitted over RTP.  Should this transport type appear
>    over a lossless streaming protocol such as TCP, the content
>    encapsulation should be interpreted as an Ogg Stream in
>    accordance with RFC 3534, with the exception that the content
>    of the Ogg Stream may be assumed to be Speex audio and Speex
>    audio only.
> So could we potentially do Speex over TCP using a JEP-0065 proxy (or p2p
> as defined in that JEP) for voicechat? I realize that it would not work
> for voice-conference and might not be perfect, but is it possible? Just
> curious. Again, I'm sorry if we've hashed all this out already -- that
> was a long thread to catch up on and I am not deeply knowledgeable about
> this voice/video stuff.
> /psa
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